Education, Must Reads

Warning: Telling a Lame Joke in an Elevator can Endanger Your Career

I am a professor of international political theory at King’s College London and bye-fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. I am a fellow of the British Academy and a member of the International Studies Association (ISA). Several years back the ISA voted me the “distinguished scholar of the year.” This year it censured me, not once but twice. I was guilty of saying “ladies lingerie” in a lift, and more disturbingly in their eyes, of writing a conciliatory email to the woman who had overheard me in the lift and filed a complaint. I appealed against this decision, but earlier this month was told my appeal had been rejected.

During the second week of April 2018, the ISA had its annual meeting in San Francisco. It attracts many thousands of members from multiple disciplines who do research on international relations. The meeting consists mostly of panels at which scholarly papers are presented and discussed. I stayed in the San Francisco Hilton, the venue of the meeting. On the third afternoon, I was going up to my room in a very crowded lift when a male voice asked people to shout out their floors so he could press the relevant buttons. People named floors and I said: “Ladies Lingerie.” I confess it is an old, lame joke; my youngest son later remarked that it was not the worst joke I have ever made. Upon reflection, I think these words came to mind because I was flush up against the back wall of the lift and feeling slightly claustrophobic. It was a way of releasing tension—or so I thought.

Professor Simona Sharoni

Two days later I learned that a member of the ISA had filed a complaint against me and that the organization would send it to its ethics committee for adjudication. I wrote a conciliatory email to the colleague who filed the complaint: Prof. Simona Sharoni, who teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at a small New England college. As she did not grow up in the U.S., I explained the intended meaning of what I said, apologized if it caused her discomfort and suggested we engage in a dialogue. I further suggested that to raise a complaint that many might consider “frivolous” would only provide ammunition to those who opposed the women’s movement and efforts by women to flag and seek redress for real forms of harassment:

Like you, I am strongly opposed to the exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women. As such evils continue, it seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal. By making a complaint to ISA that I consider frivolous—and I expect, will be judged this way by the ethics committee—you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.

I was wrong about the ISA’s response. The ethics and executive committees found me guilty of using a phrase they described as “inappropriate and offensive.” They censured me again for emailing Prof. Sharoni. They insisted that I offer an apology that would satisfy both them and her. I categorically refused. In acting this way, the ISA ignored its own code of conduct, which requires any aggrieved party to try to resolve a conflict privately before asking for adjudication from the ethics committee. Prof. Sharoni did no such thing and rebuffed my attempt to do so. She complained about my email and asked the ISA to tell me never to contact her again. It is nothing short of bizarre that an organization whose members study international conflict and know the value of dialogue over coercion opted for coercion from the outset.

I feel particularly aggrieved by my censure because in a career of 53 years of university teaching I have taught women, mentored women, and coauthored with women, and repeatedly argued that the only qualification for promotion in universities should be academic performance. I have received countless emails from colleagues since this incident, many from women in the field, expressing their support. They and other ISA members have written to the Association complaining about the decision and procedures. I am hopeful that this outcry from members will lead to my censure being discussed at next year’s business meeting as well as the procedures that allowed it to happen.

My censure quickly went viral. Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post heard about it and wrote a story. It was reprinted elsewhere, as was a version that was put out by the Associated Press. The Atlantic followed, with a story that excoriated the ISA for inappropriate and poorly constructed rules. In the U.K., the story was covered first by the Daily Mail, then by The Times, the Spectator, and various other outlets. I was interviewed on radio and television. I received endless emails and letters, all but two expressing total support. The other two were friendly and urged me “as a gentleman” to say I was sorry and let the matter pass.

The ISA leadership and Prof. Sharoni were furious about this publicity. She complained of receiving hate mail. I certainly do not condone trolls, but what did Sharoni and ISA expect to happen when they acted as they did? They created the kind of incident that would bring them both considerable negative publicity. Much of the criticism—quite properly in my view—focused on the negative implications of their behavior for freedom of speech, humor, and just common good sense.

The story did not end there. I filed an appeal on May 13—after finding out that May 15 was the deadline to do so. Mark Boyer, the Executive Director of the ISA, never informed me of the date, which I only learnt about from comments he gave to various newspapers. The ISA kicked my appeal into the long grass, as the British say, and would never have acted on it if my barrister had not sent them a letter threatening to go to court if we did not hear one way or the other. His letter elicited a response from them earlier this month denying my appeal.

Primary documents are always better than secondary ones, which are subject to quotation out of context to support particular interpretations. Accordingly, I attach my appeal below.

RICHARD NED LEBOW: APPEAL

On the advice of my legal advisor I file this appeal from the two judgments made against me by your organization. I confess that I did not submit a detailed rebuttal of the allegations when they were first filed because I found it hard to believe that any one could take them seriously. I only asked that my email exchanges with Mark Boyer be forwarded to the ethics committee.

My appeal consists of four parts: a review of the facts, interpretations of my remark in the elevator, iteration of what I believe are your procedural errors, and a statement about why this censure is so inappropriate given my lifelong support for women in the profession.  It is based on both parts of Section 4 b of the Code of Conduct in force at the time the complaint was lodged. I hope that this appeal will be resolved with the same speed as the original censure.

Facts:

Prof. Sharoni did not ask people to call out their floors. It was a man’s voice I heard. She alleges I had “a smile on my face” but if she was standing in the front of the elevator as she says, she could not have seen my face all the way in the rear. I said; “ladies lingerie,” not “women’s lingerie,” because I was referencing the long-standing joke line. She says all of “my buddies” responded with laughter. I knew nobody in the elevator, and how would she know if I did? I don’t recall how many people laughed, but at most it was a few. What evidence do we have that there was another woman in the elevator and that she commiserated with her afterwards? Has this other woman complained or been identified by Prof. Sharoni?

Prof. Sharoni now alleges in media interviews that I “instigated” some of the overwhelmingly negative media coverage of her. How would she possibly know what prompted the media to cover the controversy? In point of fact, I initiated no media contacts. The Atlantic, which is doing a story, told me that they had been tipped off by a senior female academic. Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, not surprisingly, refused to explain how she got wind of ISA’s action. Once the AP ran the story it went viral.

I am indeed sorry that Prof. Sharoni has received email threats; I certainly do not condone this kind of behavior. However, this attention is the product of an action that she began, not anything that I did.

Interpretations:

“Ladies lingerie,” as by now you all must know, is a joke dating back to the days of manually operated elevators. It is still frequently referenced today, as it is, for example, in the “Mythbusters” TV series and Harry Potter books. Surely, books that appeal to children, not only adults, would be careful to avoid any phrase or joke that might be considered offensive. 

Why did I make the remark—admittedly not the best quip I have made? I am slightly claustrophobic and was relieving tension when jammed into the back of a very crowded elevator. I had no intention of offending anyone and had no idea I had until I received the complaint forwarded to me by Mark Boyer.

Many remarks have relatively transparent meanings. Cases in point are perhaps use of the “N” word, reference to women as “dumb bitches,” or obvious slurs of handicapped persons. My remark, by contrast, is open to many interpretations, most of them benign. Who knows, I might have been a transvestite out to shop for myself. There is nothing inherently offensive in “ladies lingerie” in my view, nor in that of the hundreds of men and women, members and non-members alike, who have since sent me supportive emails.

Who interprets what is offensive? If any party has the right to do so and demand an apology, we no longer have freedom of speech. And if a woman can take offense at the public utterance of “ladies lingerie” and have the ISA judge it as “inappropriate and offensive,” there is no limit to what words or phrases people out to advance their agendas will use. Perhaps ISA will receive a complaint by some person outraged and hurt by overhearing someone saying “evolution” in an elevator?

If an issue arises because of a remark the sensible thing is for the offended party and speaker to have an exchange of views. I tried to do this but Prof. Sharoni was only further offended.

Here too there is an issue for you to reconsider. Your ethics committee chastised me more for writing to her than for my remark. This is because once again you allowed her to impose her interpretation on the meaning and effect of my email. Why does she have the right to say she is offended by what she labels my misogynist remark, but I have no right to call her complaint frivolous? Are women treated differently from men by your ethics committee?  I was clear that frivolous expressed my interpretation and I solicited hers in the hope of a dialogue that would resolve the matter.

Procedure:

There are several issues that trouble me here.

I queried Mark Boyer at the outset why he had not just rejected the complaint and was informed that the bye-laws gave him no leeway (see attached email chain). He was required to forward it to the ethics committee. Your code of conduct states that the matter should be resolved informally “if practicable” (Code of Conduct Addressing Grievances, Section 1). Mark, in fact, did have a choice, which he inexplicably did not exercise.

There was no reason why some informal meeting, even mediation, between Prof. Sharoni and me could not have been set up. I would have been more than willing to participate. The elevator event took place early in the meeting and presumably we were both in town afterwards. If not, it would have been easy to set up a video conference.

As students of international relations, we know that dialogue is the first step in addressing conflict and coercion the last. Your executive director passed up the opportunity for dialogue; rather, he, the ethics and executive committees went directly for coercion. This makes no sense substantively. It is also in violation of the ISA’s declared policy (see above) that conflicts first be addressed by informal means. The Code of Conduct throughout clearly places great emphasis on informal dispute resolution methods.

Mark’s initial email to me also insisted that I treat the complaint confidentially. I emailed him asking what grounds he had to make such a demand. He replied that he had none (see attached email chain). I emailed prof. Sharoni hoping to establish a dialogue with her. She had no interest in dialogue, and, as you know, lodged a second complaint with Mark.

Mark mentioned nothing to me in his emails about a right to appeal. I only found out about this by reading his comments to reporters that now appear in newspapers. He told them that I had until 15 May to submit an appeal. I have since checked the Code of Conduct, where it says that an appeal must be lodged “within a reasonable period of time” (Section 4 c).  Here too, his behavior remains inexplicable.

I would like to know if the ethics and executive committees actually met to discuss the complaint, how many members were present, and if those who were not were consulted.

My Reputation:

There are many men who are “serial offenders.” It is easy to give credence to new allegations of harassment or worse when complaints have repeatedly been made about them in the past. I have never been the subject of any professional complaint for any reason from a woman—or anyone else for that matter. This is the first time this has happened to me and I continue to maintain that the complaint in question is “frivolous” in nature.

Quite the reverse is the case. I have been a supporter of teaching, hiring, and promoting women throughout the course of fifty-two years of university teaching. I have coauthored with women and regularly mentor and help junior women colleagues find publishers, grants, and jobs, and write supportive tenure letters. I know you have received emails from women who have testified to my support of women, and have asked Mark Boyer to forward them to you. I have received many more emails of this kind and append a few to this document.

Finally, there is the matter of the apology demanded by the ethics committee. I already offered what I think is an appropriate apology in my email to Prof Sharoni. I informed her that “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable.” I refuse to extend the kind of apology ISA wants me to make as it would acknowledge that there is something wrong about saying “ladies lingerie” in an elevator or writing an email to the offended party explaining my intent and offering my judgment about the consequences of her behavior for efforts by women—and men—to combat misogyny.

ISA’S REPLY

The ISA’s lawyer wrote a largely indecipherable letter in not very good legalese and also, I presume, the letter signed by the organization’s president, Patrick James. The letters are dated 13 November and 15 October 2018 respectively. The ISA took almost six months to respond to my appeal and its president sat with the lawyer’s letter for a month before passing it on. Rather than reproduce them in full, I offer the following extracts from the President’s letter.

The International Studies Association (“ISA”) Executive Committee (“ExComm”). . . found the following pertinent facts:

1) Someone on the elevator asked others what floor they wanted.

2) You replied either “Ladies’ Lingerie” or “Women’s Lingerie.”

3) Prof. Sharoni filed a Formal Complaint pursuant to the ISA Code of Conduct against you based on your statement…

4) The ExComm forwarded the complaint to the Executive Director for initial review. The Executive Director determined that the complaint fell under the ISA Code of Conduct. See id. You were then informed that the complaint had been filed against you…

5) The ISA President initiated an investigation of the complaint…

6) You were given the opportunity to explain your side of the story to the PRR and to bring forth any other relevant evidence. . . . Despite being given this opportunity, you declined…

7) You chose to contact Prof. Sharoni directly. Although you explained that your comment was intended as a joking reference to an old, cultural trope, your email was not apologetic and PRR (and eventually ExComm) found that it was marginalizing and trivializing Prof. Sharoni’s reaction to your comment and that it was an attempt to intimidate her from following through with her complaint.

8) The PRR (i.e. the investigating committee) . . . . recommended to ExComm that the matter should be resolved by (i) requiring you to provide an unequivocal apology to Prof. Sharoni…

9) ExComm reviewed the evidence and determined that your conduct violated the ISA Code of Conduct. ExComm communicated the resolution of the matter to you, i.e. if you apologized, no further censure would be imposed…

What follows in the letter is a recapitulation of my allegations of procedural regularities on its part, which it disputes on the grounds that the word “should” in the Code of Conduct does not mean “must”—that is, it’s advisory, rather than mandatory.

In sum, we note that “should” does not mean “must” and thus neither informal resolution nor mediation are required under the Code.

Finally, we reviewed your claim that the ExComm’s decision is manifestly unreasonable. Based on the facts and the evidence discussed herein, it was not manifestly unreasonable for ExComm to determine that a violation of the ISA Code of Conduct occurred.

This is the first mention of my being in breach of the ISA code, and it is unclear just what article I violated. But then, I suppose they are acting on the premise that offense is the best defense. My appeal argues that they violated the ISA code in repeated ways. Rather than defending their actions, they have charged me with the same misdemeanor. It is unusual, to put it mildly, for a letter rejecting an appeal to include a brand new charge, even more serious than the one being appealed against.

The letter goes on to address the substance of my remarks:

One crucial point to note is that ExComm actually took the explanation contained at the start of your email to Prof. Sharoni as sincere and at face value. Some members of the committee (primarily the older members) knew to what you were referring even before your explanation. We believe you intended this only as a reference to an old trope. That said, one has to consider how someone who, because of age or culture is unfamiliar with that trope, would have interpreted your comment. Without that anchor, it is difficult to imagine that your comment could have been interpreted in an inoffensive way. Thus, a violation of the Code of Conduct did occur.

Thus, the resolution from ExComm, requiring that you unequivocally apologize is not manifestly unreasonable. Lastly, the ExComm also decided that if you decline to issue an apology that ExComm will issue you a formal, private letter of reprimand on behalf of ISA.

In sum, ExComm finds that your appeal is without merit and will be forwarding this response and the documentation to the Governing Council for a final determination.

Readers will note that the ISA considers its bylaws for governing disputes merely as guidelines. I do not think I would get very far making this argument to a police officer who stopped me for speeding. The ISA President further indicates that the meaning of any remark is to be decided only by the person who claims to be offended by it. There is surely no faster way of shutting down freedom of speech and humor than by enforcing a rule such as this one.

Research and teaching require freedom to think and say what one wants. So too does democracy. Students need to be exposed to ideas with which they disagree or make them feel uncomfortable. That said, there are reasonable—but self-imposed—limits to discourse in society. Indeed, there are certain words and phrases that provoke discomfort, even anger, and responsible people need to be careful about using them. Certain words and phrases are considered beyond the pale, and for good reason. But the decision not to use them is a matter of personal choice and self-censorship, if it occurs, is the result of the judgment of civil society after considerable debate, not the imposition of censorship by fiat by organizations or government. One can only hope that “elevator gate,” as many have come to call it, encourages the kind of open thoughtful discussion that all controversies deserve.

 

Richard Ned Lebow is a professor of international theory at King’s College London. His most recent book is Constructing Cause in International Relations.

425 Comments

  1. Thank you professor for your well written account and for your refusal to give in to these lunatics. The world has truly gone mad, the academic world in particular.

    • George says

      Dear M,
      I agree the account was thoughtful, and it sounds to me, basically, like ISA handled it poorly. However, I encourage you to read through the many comments below and ask whether the purpose of this website, Quillette, is to change the stifling dynamic of pc liberal group-think, or if its purpose is to provide yet another right-wing outrage platform to aggrieved heterosexual white men and their sycophants. Status quo. If its the latter, sadly they seem like they may be on track.

      Note to editors: The article was too one-sided to allow Professor Sharoni to be anything more than a caricature.

      • Irrational Actor says

        Sorry to deflate your indignation here George, but many here are from the moderate left, and everyone from there to the far right has similar views on the clear hatred coming from you and the other regressives and your sexist, racist attacks on anyone who dares to question your authoritarianism.

        Note I do not come after you based on your identity, but your terrible ideas. Contrast that with yourself, charging people with that most vile of crimes – being a heterosexual white male.

        Do keep posting though please George, I look forward to your ideas being exposed at the same rate as your racism, sexism and bigotry.

        • George says

          Dear Irrational, happy to accommodate. Please see below. I don’t think this is about left/right. It was a mistake for me to describe it that way. I know a lot of lefties who are perfectly good misogynists. The only difference is they don’t know it.

          • Irrational Actor says

            And accommodate you did George. I have personally exposed some more of your ideologically driven bigotry and inconsistencies below, but I am sure others will do so as well.

            I can well imagine that a committed regressive such as yourself will see implicit misogyny absolutely everywhere. I couldn’t imagine a worse culture for those on the oppressed victim side of the socially constructed gender fence.

            Do please continue the regressive tendency to seek out and attack said misogyny most strongly amongst your own team. After all, no enemies to the left and no friends to the right, eh comrade?

          • Well george it’s good to see care in the community as a solution is working so well!

        • Danile Crowley says

          In the year 1963 I was a lift boy ( elevator boy ) in Selfridges on Oxford Street in London. I was obliged to call out the names of the floor upon opening the doors of the lift (elevator). In retrospect ought I have remained silent at the floor devoted to women’s underwear and lingerie? Or should I have been concerned that 55 years later my call would have become part of a trope which would cause serious concern to the academic snowflakes of the United States.

      • Don Anon says

        “Note to editors: The article was too one-sided to allow Professor Sharoni to be anything more than a caricature.”

        I mean, the article was mostly about the ISA, so that’s to be expected. Good thing too, because judging by the contents of the quoted e-mails, they deserve exposure much more than just the complainant, who should’ve been told “too bad, it’s a joke from before your time”. Instead they knew that, but let it go through anyways because…it offended her in that moment?

        • peterschaeffer says

          It appears that you folks don’t know this… However, Prof. Sharoni has written ‘her side of the story’. It actually the same as Lebow’s. Stated differently, there is no ‘other side to story’. Read her version of the events if you have any doubts on this point.

      • Peter Kriens says

        If Quillette would reject a counter article from the professor you would clearly have a point. However I doubt if the professor could write such an article that would make her look more moderate and I would be heavily disappointed if it was rejected by Quillette; they would lose my patronage.

        • Yes Peter, I also cannot imagine a counter letter of prof. Lemonsucker here on Quillette, but, I ask myself, why not? Why is that actually? It would not be bad at all! Here in the NLs, on TV, almost all talk shows are with 2 people on the table, known to everybody to be one anothers opponent. However, not here on Quillette, and maybe on very few blogs. That’s not where blogs have been invented for, and maintained for. It’s sad, but the mere truth!

      • Arnold Martin says

        Professor, I have spent almost a half hour reading your article and fully commend your actions. Is pathetic as to the amount of time and effort which Professor Sharoni caused by her being offended, and being less of an adult 2 confer with you as to the cause of her consternation and allow for a mature and peaceful discussion, which would have led to a resolution.

        The problem in America today is that the previous presidential Administration removed all barriers to anyone who felt offended by something, and conveyed the message that if one felt offended by something, all they needed to do was kick and scream and foam at the mouth, and otherwise throw a childlike temper tantrum, at the end of which they would be rewarded and get their way. This has unfortunately permeated into all segments of society, including higher education and Academia. Innocent and harmless remarks that are made off the cuff will now be responded to with the full disciplinary wait of society or a governing body, should somebody cry if they are offended. As you point out, they successes to which political correctness is now elevated will ultimately result in the suppression of free speech and ideas.

        I will close this blog buy again conveying my compliment to you 4 your efforts in attempting to defuse this matter before Professor Sharoni escalated it, and also offer my words of support in that you did not do anything wrong.

        If our great World War II military leader General George Patton were alive today, the flash would have been worn off both of his hands from slapping the faces of these easily offended and malingering crybabies!

        Cordially,

        Arnold M.

      • How can we ‘ change the stifling dynamic of pc liberal group-think’ except by highlighting the injustices it causes.

        The article was not about Professor Sharoni but the response to her complaint. If it had been about her I suspct she would have come out of it far worse than in the current aerticle. She responded to a poor but neutral and inoffensive joke not directed at her in an entirely inappropriate and aggressive way to damage the career of a fellow academic. Something I am sure was deliberate.

        I am confident that any research wil show she makes frequent sexist derogatory remarks about men and males. Any article on her woudl highlight the hypocrisy and self serving natur eof her actions.

        However she is not the problem. The probem is how her complaint was handled. There are stupid, vindictive and irrational people in the world. Instituitions need to handle complaints in a sensible mannere balancing the need to handle genuine complainst against the fact that not every complaint is justified.

      • A publication should be judged by its contents and not by the comment it produces. Very often in the Guardian commentary boxes you find the fringe of left wing lunacy. Most people that read an article don’t comment on it.

      • Cassandra says

        I am old enough to remember lift attendants, and the floor identification described.

        Just as a point of fact, no one ever said ‘ ladies lingerie’, because gentlemen did not wear lingerie. So I wonder why this non existent identification rose to the forefront of his mind, rather than, for example ‘ gentlemans outfitting’ ?

        Do I think that this bloke deserves to lose his job? Of course not? Do I think he is a person whom I would like to share a lift with? Probably not. Does he grasp what an apology is? No.

        • Asenath Waite says

          @Cassandra

          Why would just saying “lingerie” be less offensive than saying “ladies’ lingerie?” And lingerie is funnier than gentlemen’s suits, so that would be why he referenced that as opposed to the other, and also the reason the joke has generally taken that form in popular culture (see also: Loony Tunes). Also the author made it clear that he did not feel the situation warranted an apology.

        • Keep talking ! We the middle hear you and are tired of your carry on …. Apologise to all the people who must encounter you first before the adults lose all patience!

      • Cornfed says

        “and repeatedly argued that the only qualification for promotion in universities should be academic performance.”

        HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

        I sympathize with the author, of course. But I wonder if he is a bit naive. He apparently believes that leftist academics are open to reason. There is only one rule in this game, according to the left: crush those who disagree with leftist orthodoxy, by any means. If Mr. Lebow cannot wrap his mind around that, he will not be able to fight this battle effectively.

      • Mailman says

        And what about us “non-white heterosexual ethnic minority men who are outraged by an action like this?

        You know George, when you base an opinion or form views, as you have, on the colour of the skin of a person that makes you a little bit racist-see!

        No one forced Sharoni to be offended. She chose to be offended in the way only an academic can be offended (ie. Over the trivially irrelevant).

        I highly suspect that should one dig in to the background of this woman that there will be a string of activities like this dotted throughout her academic career with the vast majority being as ridiculous as this event!

        • Chris Rodgers says

          Hear! Hear! Finally someone get’s it right. She was not offended, she was angry and seeking vengeance upon someone. Most likely not the first nor last time. Ridiculous is the key word to describe it all.

      • RamBam says

        And YOU, George, are a caricature in and of yourself. What happened to the Professor is BULLSHIT. He knows it, I know it, and YOU know it. Get the dowel out of your posterior and start acting like a human being instead of a toadying Leftist sycophant.

      • Can you provide any new insights that would help us understand her side of the story a little better?

      • Clyde E. Wilson IV says

        How do you know the professor is right wing? He’s a academic so he is probably fairly liberal.

    • Daniel says

      No wonder people voted for Trump. They are sick of this crap.

      • lisagoldman says

        Why would voting for Trump be the correct response to the incident described in this article? How does Donald Trump’s residing in the White House improve the lot of angry white men who feel deeply misunderstood and incredibly insecure?

        • Asenath Waite says

          @lisagoldman

          It doesn’t improve the lot of white men at all. It only serves to further inflame the bigoted group-hatred directed towards them by people such as yourself. One of the many unfortunate things about his presidency.

    • @Peter
      Great idea. I would love to read Professor Sharoni’s take on this. Perhaps the Quillette editors could reach out to her and ask her to submit an article?

  2. Emmanuel says

    Making a joke in the presence of a grievance study professor is like going to swim in a shark-infested sea while bleeding from half a dozen small cuts.

    • Frances says

      Agree – but what is the mechanism for determining, amongst strangers in a lift together for a few, fleeting moments, which ones are a) from different cultural backgrounds; b) Gender Studies professors; and c) Gender Studies professors from different cultural backgrounds, likely to be offended by a flippant remark? That’s just for starters…..
      The fact that others in the lift laughed tells me that they also recognised it for the reference it was to a familiar piece of nonsense. I would have laughed myself. I’m surprised everyone didn’t laugh. It’s actually quite funny in context. A harmless bit of fun! No apology necessary.
      But the Humour Police are out in force in our grim, relentless times. It starts like this….. but where does it end?

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Frances

        No fundamentalist can stand humour as it dissolves their holy pretentiousness. All fundamentalists essentially hate people and want them all to suffer, so what can be higher on the list of sins to stamp out than having a good laugh? Thus anyone who tells a joke at the expense of a radfem can expect to be sent to the stake. I think of Dr. Hunt.

      • We must all descend into a cold, dark, humorless world if we are to get along. No more humor, only sour-puss faces with stiff upper lips.

        What a wonderful world.

    • Dan Tiernan says

      The professor should publicly declare her frailty via some kind of vest or declaration in the presence of others. How do people with peanut allergies manage their risk of being accidentally harmed by unintentional aggressors?

    • How is one able to identity a “grievance study professor”??

      • singletonengineer says

        Shan, as so often in life, it is apparent that the only way to identify an Grievance Study Professor is by his/her actions. So, only after the fact, following the disclosure, when the ball has started to roll.

        I suspect that a small ambush was attempted by the GS Professor, in order perhaps, to add yet another tiny personal victory to her repertoire.

        Perhaps it was not so; perhaps the lack of common sense and of a sense of humour was on the part of the committee which received the complaint and who reached for a firearm with which to shoot not once but twice.

        Ultimately, the greater transgression, in my opinion, was on the part of the committee and not the initial actors in this drama. The committee had most lose, had the tools with which to deal with the situation, and had the opportunity to use those tools, but evidently chose not to do so.

        Time for a new Committee and Chair… and an explanation and apology, in private, to the two professors who were present in the lift, neither of whom has been treated fairly or well.

  3. Non-Toxic Shrug says

    “We believe you intended this only as a reference to an old trope. That said, one has to consider how someone who, because of age or culture is unfamiliar with that trope, would have interpreted your comment.”

    I was recently subjected to an “informal” call from an attorney in our university equity office for having made a series of harmless remarks which were “misinterpreted” by a student. I put “misinterpreted” in quotes, as it quickly became clear that the student was unhappy about the way I reacted to her claim that there was a “toxic climate for diversity” at our school and decided to call me to task by filing a formal complaint (yawn, spoiler alert: the climate is not toxic in the least, and my reaction was a metaphysical shrug). The lawyer I spoke with readily acknowledged that my comments were interpreted in the least charitable light possible by the complainant, but what was most relevant in fact was the IMPACT these comments had on her. The word IMPACT was used maybe 10-15 times during our one hour plus conversation, and it was clearly meant to convey that it did not matter what I had intended to communicated, but only how it had been perceived. I find it hard to believe that Prof. Sharoni was simply unaware of the “Ladies Lingerie” joke (were she a reasonable person, she would have dropped her complaint as soon as the reference was explained to her). But in both our cases I am increasingly convinced that the “aggrieved parties” are actually intentionally leveraging a new weapon that our academic bureaucrats have laid at their disposal: the hammer of IMPACT, an arm against which there is no defense. They use it to gain power over those they disagree with, dislike, or who are simply not “with the program”. It is very sad that institutions like mine and the ISA are so willing to be a party to this kind of petty spitefulness.

    • Best comment yet on this entire enterprise.

      And as to the institutions that align themselves with the Prof. Sharonis of the world, I want no part of them. Let them drown in their own narrow orthodoxy.

    • Burlats de Montaigne says

      It is the same as the ridiculous ‘hate speech’ laws wherein it is at the discretion of the “victim” to determine whether the words directed towards them were informed by “hatred”. There is no attempt or even the possibility of arriving at an objective truth. The actual charge depends entirely on the subjective feelings of the aggrieved party. It really is Kafkaesque – obscenely so.

      • @Burlats,

        I am half convinced that progressives misread Kafka and Orwell. Instead of seeing them as cautionary tale, they instead have chosen to use them as blueprints.

        • It also makes me miss Sir Terry Pratchett even more. I cannot help but mourn the fact that he will not be able to address the social grievance culture in his writings on Discord (though he did allude to it in some of his novels, especially those focused on Sam Vimes).

        • Doctor Locketopus says

          Orwell actually had first-hand experience with “progressives” and knew them and their methods well.

          It’s not a “misreading”. It’s baked into the cake. Their goal is naked power over other human beings.

    • The term is “emotional blackmail” and it’s not a new one. Children and people seeking pity and attention, no matter how negative, use emotional blackmail to get what they want. Now the “victim” class or the “victimhood” movement can clearly see how it bends politicians, academics, the legacy media and social media, to their “causes” and whips up mountainous hysteria over molehill “infractions.”

      This is cultural Marxism. It is pervasive in all Western education now from primary to university. People need to wake up and fight against this insidious narcissistic pity seeking, finger pointing, “crying wolf” for no purpose but to tear down others and act a martyr. It is the worst of humanity.

    • Mark Anderson says

      “They use it to gain power over those they disagree with, dislike, or who are simply not “with the program”.

      Or, more simply, “because they can.”

    • augustine says

      The frivolous lawsuit is a good analogy. At some point most of us realize that the problem is not the complainant but the judiciary system that allows or rejects such suits in the first place. Someone will always be on hand somewhere to be “impacted” in a negative way by casual language. The less interesting question is why an accuser might have this response, versus the motivation of those in authority who listen to the complaint and accordingly use their official powers to subjugate alleged transgressors based on newly founded and arbitrary ideologies.

      It is tragic and troubling that in these potential situations, i.e., everyday social life, many will end up harboring fear of both parties– the enforcers and the pseudo-victims they supposedly serve. It is a clever strategy that poisons many with only a few drops. But to wield power, which seems to be their only defined goal, requires a reasoned foundation of good will that they simply do not have.

    • These crybullies need to receive some real ‘impact’: sue sue sue.

      I’d heard about this incident but thought it was a university elevator. A hotel? Seriously? Next time he should say “cunts’ undies.”

    • For thirty or more years, lliterature students have been taught that “authorial intent” is no longer viable, and has been replaced by “reader-response”. This focus on only the reader’s response is now reader’s ‘impact’.

    • Kiwi Dave says

      ‘That said, one has to consider how someone who, because of age or culture is unfamiliar with that trope, would have interpreted your comment.’

      And that having been considered, the culturally ignorant interpretation will be preferred to the informed interpretation, which is why someone using the word ‘niggardly’ had to apologise abjectly a few years ago.

    • Gringo says

      I find it hard to believe that Prof. Sharoni was simply unaware of the “Ladies Lingerie” joke

      She is an immigrant, and thus not necessarily aware of all the nuances of American culture, and of American humor. According to Wikipedia article on her, she came to the United States in 1989. I believe that by the time she came to the US in 1989 there were very few manual elevators in existence, which would indicate she probably hadn’t been exposed to the joke.

      • Irrational Actor says

        It is entirely feasible she didn’t know the joke, this much is true. However, not catching the reference of a joke is no excuse for the actions taken.

        And are we really to believe that a gender studies activist simply made a mistake regarding accusations against a white male oppressor? Or could it be that she had just a little hatred of an identity group she has spent her life attacking, and therefore slightly ulterior motives?

      • Suaningi says

        Being an immigrant is not an excuse. Most immigrants know that they do not have the history in a culture to fully understand words and phrases. Many educated people of a certain age know what it means when you say “A Modest Proposal” and have people laugh. An immigrant would likely wonder – why are they laughing? My husband was a Swedish immigrant and I often had to explain jokes to him. He understood the words – but not the history.

        In this instance – people laughed. The adult thing to do would be to ask someone why the comment was funny. But the perpetually aggrieved don’t care about context. It is always their feelings. I hope this woman never views any episodes of Monty Python. She may explode.

    • Don Anon says

      “the hammer of IMPACT, an arm against which there is no defense.”

      I think this is the most important part of the entire affair; people who are unreasonably offended can still use IMPACT as an excuse, and because it doesn’t matter if they’re unreasonable, there is no defense. Moreover, it’s a stupid argument; its proponents act as though the initial bad feeling of hearing something offensive is the problem, when in reality it’s mostly what comes after, which an explanation addresses and stops. Anyways, the IMPACT argument is just a weaselly way for people to address that someone was offended without going through the trouble of checking if the offense is valid or not (or of avoiding having to explain to grievance-mongers that they need to stop grievance-mongering).

    • Apparently humor of the past is toxic. We must forever erase from our memories old jokes and fill our brains with new jokes that offend no one. I am sure that there are such jokes, but I cannot think of any at the moment.

      In general as our “sensibilities” evolve we will find all of the past to be toxic for the impact it has on our brittle lives.

    • I cannot understand how “ladies lingerie” in the context it was uttered can offend anyone, and neither can my wife. The episode just makes me sad.

    • c young says

      > They use it to gain power over those they disagree with, dislike, or who are simply not “with the program”

      Yes, that’s what happens in practice, but I think the mechanism is unconscious.

      First of all these are people who are obsessed with sexual violence. They are living a long-term moral panic.They believe that this phenomenon is far more common than it really is. Of course, in reality, serious sexual misdemeanors rarely appear in their world. Universities are the safest places for women anywhere in the world.

      Male offenders are supposedly everywhere, yet there are none to be seen. When a man shows refusal to comply ‘with the program’ they leap on it. No smoke without fire. They have found evidence that confirms their world view.

    • Especially since, if honesty were allowed, the true IMPACT is to allow someone to enjoy the finer things in life: warmed by the glow of righteous indignation, to drive their enemies before them, to trample them underfoot and hear the lamentation of their women…. Unfortunately, however, civilization is founded on the ability to deny ourselves such pleasures.

    • Area Man says

      Re “IMPACTED”

      I made the mistake of talking to the police after a domestic dispute at a party (read: drunk couple loudly arguing). The prosecuting attorney asked me if I was “shocked”–IMPACTED–by what I experienced. I had seen drunk couples fight before, so I said no, I was not shocked. I I said I was shocked the woman would have been criminally charged with disturbing the peace. Guilt in this case rested not on any objective measure, but entirely on the perception of the general public.

    • MichaelJ says

      If he’d apologised I think they’d have torn his throat out. This is political theater. What they’re after – and by “they” I mean psychopaths like Sharoni – is a ritual of public humiliation akin to the confessions extorted from ‘enemies of the people’ in Mao’s China.

      • Emmanuel says

        When two wolves fight for dominance in the pack, and the weaker one ends up acknowledging his defeat by submitting, the winner spares him. In similar circumstances, SJW and grievance studies professors go for the throat.

      • And don’t forget Bukharin and the Moscow trials. Doesn’t anyone read Darkness at Noon anymore? Confessions were an essential part of Stalin’s project. Confessions made for propaganda and “training” of a population. You could always shoot the people afterwards. This is why the current intolerant left demands strictly formulated apologies. It is a clear warning to others. You can’t really expect anything good after a forced fake apology.

    • Vicky, in which age do you live. Apologies? For what? What can you gain by that? We live , since quite some time already, in the age of accountability, not of forgiveness, irony, humor or goodnaturedness, that’s over, gone, forget about it, history, look forward! Even the AI is going to be programmed on accountability, take hold!.

    • Heike says

      Yeah, a Maoist struggle session followed by the writing and public reading of an intensely humiliating self-criticism is the goal. This is no joke, you can rewrite people’s brains by doing things like this. Don’t forget we got the loan word “brainwashing” from Chinese; they did this to our POWs during the Korean War. They were so successful that more than a few stayed on in China voluntarily afterwards, you watch a movie about their story here: https://www.nfb.ca/film/they_chose_china/

    • Big Ramifications says

      I took his explanatory email to be an apology. Yeah, not the true legal definition of apology but you know what I mean.

  4. NickG says

    Wymins study ‘academic’ is humourless harridan.

    Academic body – International Studies Association – is authoritarian post modernist parody.

    Stereotypes are created by people noticing patterns.

    • It’s not wymins study, neither womens study anymore, from now on -Ladies and Gender Studies-

  5. MichaelJ says

    This incident calls to mind a scene in Monty Python’s ‘Meaning of Life’ in which a man named Arthur Jarrett is condemned to death for “first-degree making of gratuitous sexist jokes in a moving picture”. I’ll leave it to those unfamiliar with the scene to discover for yourselves the manner of his execution, but suffice it say that Professor Sharoni would not be amused.

    • @MichaelJ,

      Imagine if Life if Brian was redone today and instead of Christ, they replaced it with Mohammed?
      It definitely shows how far from classical liberalism we have come, when Monty Python or Mel Brooks are now considered unacceptable.

    • Heike says

      Life of Brian would be banned if it came out today, for the scenes in which one of the characters wants to be a woman (a ridiculous concept if there ever was one) and the other characters hilariously point out why it’s utter stupidity.

      Mrs. Doubtfire is another movie that would be banned today. Not Without My Daughter another.

      • Patricia says

        According to CBS News, the1940s song Baby It’s Cold Outside has been pulled from at least one radio playlist, Star 102 Cleveland. Why? There is a new word of condemnation. “Rapey.”

    • @Michelj also like the scene in Life of Brian ‘I want to be a woman’ They where as clever as I always suspected.

  6. professor puppypants says

    Well as they used to say, The process is the punishment. People like the offended party are a sort of test-model version of political commissars: their presence in a university or a corporation is simply to be present, to make sure no honest discussion of reality takes place, and to report on those who do. And it’s only going to get worse: soon we will indeed have actual official political commissars.

    Think of the sheer number of man-hours that have been wasted on this silliness. On the other hand, it’s not as if a Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies has anything more serious or productive to do with her time.

    One thing still bothers me, though: based on your account, it appears to me that you told the joke wrong. Had I been present, I would have filed a formal complaint for offending the reputation of Bugs Bunny.

  7. Andrew Mcguiness says

    It is heartening, and refreshing, that Richard Lebow has maintained a sensible and reasoned position throughout, and declined to conform to the silliness.

  8. Evander says

    Peter Hitchens recently remarked that totalitarianism is alive and well today. There are no forced labour camps; they’ll just ruin your career, a threat sufficient to ensure compliance with the program.

    Interested in what other readers think: do you think Simona Sharoni truly believes that what Professor Lebow did warrants the destruction of his reputation? If she does, she’s completely whacked. If she doesn’t, what could be more unscrupulous in the professional sphere?

    Madness or malice – or both.

    • Frances says

      I think she made a mistake and was then embarrassed to find out that she had got it wrong. At that point she had choices – she chose to dig in and make more of an issue of it. At that point she went from mistaken and embarrassed to something less admirable. My guess is that petulance, recklessness and ultimately spite ( or something similar) got into the mix. But it’s all rationalised by the nobility of the cause. If he loses his reputation, so what? Collateral damage in the bigger, longer game – and there’ll be a cheer squad out there somewhere for her brave stand against a Male Making A Joke!
      If I were a Male I’d be adding lifts and jokes to the ever-lengthening
      lists of Ordinary Things From Which Males Are Now Excluded…

      There are almost no words…..

      • Peter Kriens says

        Even if she did not get the trope then the joke would still be no reason to feel offended?

        • Frances says

          No, I don’t think so. Common every day items. He only named them – didn’t disparage them. My grandmother used to call them ‘unmentionables’. Much more offensive if you’re looking to take offence!
          Who knows – this Professor may even wear them herself?

          • The progressives are quickly surpassing the the most devout Evangelicals in their puritanical outlook on life.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Frances

        As the Ayatollah said: “There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam.” So it is today with the fundamentalist feminist: There are no jokes permitted under feminarchy, there can be no humor under the lash of Patriarchy, and nothing the Oppressor does is funny.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        > I think she made a mistake and was then embarrassed to find out that she had got it wrong.

        Nonsense. She saw the opportunity to take the scalp of a Person of Pallid Penis and jumped on it.

    • augustine says

      It’s speculative but I wonder what would have been her response if a construction worker (rough Brooklyn accent and all) yelled out the same thing? I suspect she saw Lebow as a man first and a professional rival second, and she possessed a preexisting antagonism and contempt for this combination, and his words were the right trigger for her righteous reaction. Or maybe she just had low blood sugar at the time and felt she had to save face by using aggression.

    • I think she’s been in the country long enough and understood quite well it was a joke. But in the poundmetoo moment we’re living through she saw an opportunity to hurt a man and jumped at it.

      • Evander says

        @Jeffrey

        Lazy smear. I’m a theologically conservative Anglican, i.e. “devote evangelical” and political moderate.

        • @Evander,

          If you take that as a smear I can’t help you. It is obvious I was not making any derogatory remark about Christianity, but pointing out the puritanical behavior of the progressive movement.

          • Irrational Actor says

            I’m with you on this one Jeffery, both your comment and the defense of it stand.

          • John McCormick says

            @Jeffrey, in fact, todays progressivists are the ideological descendents of the Puritans and the other protestant sects that constituted the New England Protestant Ascendency (the creators of social “science” and “race science”). During the second part of the 20th c. most removed the deity from their religion claiming they are atheist (their religious views didn’t square with reality), and they now persist in judging the “unclean” for their apostasy as any good Puritan would do. They and the southern evangelical sects have been at war over US culture for all its history. I think you should refer to your interlocutor as “Professor Sharoni”. Let’s see what happens. 😉

          • Evander says

            @Jeffrey

            I might have misunderstood you.

            By ‘evangelicals’ do you mean Salem-era Puritans or Southern Baptist types? By ‘puritannical outlook’ do you mean 17th century hyper-Calvinism or the present day moral conservatism?

          • Evander says

            @John McCormick

            Hi John, I’m here for grownup dialogue around ideas. Calling people names to stir them up should be consigned to the school playground, and isn’t a feature of adult discourse. 80% of your comment was sensible, albeit disputable. Then you said something retarded. Why?

          • @ Jeffrey & @Evander I think one can sidestep the question of evangelicals by thinking instead of ideology. For ideologues, there are no shades: everything is black and white. Even a minor offense is raised to the level of cardinal sin and is unforgivable, as seen in this account. Nor can the ideologue accept imperfection, that people can still be good, decent humans despite occasional transgressions. When you understand yourself as being a flawed human, then you apologize when you stumble and are able to forgive others for their occasional transgressions. Not so an ideologue Like Professor Sharoni, especially not when a private matter is elevated to the public realm. I know this for having lived with one for 15 years and having suffered for 13 years of it.

        • Ray Van Dune says

          Are you not aware that it is in perfectly good taste to mock Evangelicals? Every learned person knows that they are stupid, hate sex, and are guilty of the most heinous crime of all – residing in the South of the United States.

          • I am not disparaging all evangelicals, or looking down my nose at any. I was more making fun of the caricature of evangelicals that the media pushes. The one Ray Van alluded to. I myself am Evangelical Lutheran and rather proud. I am also a University science professor, published in peer reviewed journals, and a member of multiple internationally recognized science organizations.

    • Evander says

      @Jeffrey

      “I am not disparaging all evangelicals, or looking down my nose at any. I was more making fun of the caricature of evangelicals that the media pushes.”

      Your original comment contained zero sarcasm on any reasonable reading.

      Not a big deal. I’m just allergic to what I perceive are smears of any kind; it bedevils healthy discourse.

    • Julia Gallacher says

      How times change…in the days of TV’s “Are You Being Served” the Professor’s schoolboy quip would have had the folks in the lifts having a good old titter.

  9. Lowell Kirkland says

    The left has gotten it into its wooly head that the intention and context of the speaker or writer do not at all matter. To it, what matters is the peculiar notion of the effect–notice that the inflated term _impact_ is already prejudicial–of a statement on someone other than the speaker, so long as that someone is always already a thin-skinned leftist subscribing to the blatantly unjust set of false assumptions regarding the pseudo-concept of impact. Of course the effect (or ‘impact’) on such a person is sub minor, as the article itself suggests, who is constantly on grievance alert, a new and highly reactive and contagious neurosis. The upshot seems at best harassment of the speaker or writer, officially sanctioned by foggy guidelines enforced by bureaucracy, sometimes including a lawyer. This is intended to curb or eliminate free speech, which means bad jokes, silly remarks, a countless number of idle and innocuous remarks a simple apology, face to face or the like, must cover. The left is so ideology driven it has no time for evidence, reason, taste, manners, morals, common sene. My dismal account only scratches the surface. Heaven help you if this occurs in the work place, as it did me last summer.

  10. ShipAhoy says

    So this is the emerging matriarchy. It sure is going to incur huge expense for minor offenses. Meanwhile the real urgencies will be subsumed by “micro aggressions.” What was it Camille Paglia said about how if women were in charge we’d all still be living in grass huts? Well, here’s support for that statement. I cannot even begin to wrap my head around all of the wasted time and energy over a silly joke. You can’t build bridges with this petty crap.

    It is ironic that this alleged “micro-aggression” took place at an international studies conference. Recently, at an ELS conference, the topic of the plenary speaker’s lecture was hurt feelings. She deemed teasing of any kind “racism” — behavior that is merely a bonding mechanism, as I see it. And when a middle-aged male (a rare bird in this business) offered that he believes that misperceptions are just part of adapting to a new culture and language, the plenary speaker told him that he was “partially correct.” She then went on to claim that the real problem is racism. Another example she provided involved people teasing a newcomer for not knowing who Bart Simpson is. This “hurt” the person’s feelings and was deemed “racism.”

    I couldn’t think of a greater waste of time than that lecture. What could anyone do with “professional development” such as this? Was the message that we, as teachers, are to provide a shoulder to cry on, like kindergarten teachers?

    The “patriarchy” was far safer. I want to go back there…

    • I recently had to sit through a University mandated equal opportunity lecture. The speaker’s trotted out the trope that only white people can be racists, because we have the power (whatever that means). And when confronted about acts where white people have been attacked by people of color (don’t you love how the phrasing always changes but Caucasians are always just called white) for being white, the speaker’s stated that that was just bigotry and implied it was somehow less troublesome then whites being racist.
      It reminded me of my time in the service. Clinton had decided that sexual harassment was a problem (define irony, a serial sexual harasser such as William Jefferson Clinton deciding that those surbodinate to him have to be educated on how not to sexually harass others). So his answer was for us to sit twice a year through Care of Others Training (and because it was the US Army we had to create an acronym, so it became CO2 training). I remember one lecturer telling the males it didn’t matter what we meant, or even if it happen, as long as a woman made a comlaint then we were basically deemed guilty. This was in 1998.

    • Which means, you are from Haidt’s Honor culture, Skipper. BTW, most here belong to the Dignity culture (e.g., people that would call lousy or lame insults frivulous, not worth much attention, and certainly not from courts or association presidents), and some here are of Haidt’s Victimhood culture (George ad Susan, and professor Simona Lemonsucker herself, of course)

  11. The way such lunacy propagates is that, because THESE people take it seriously, in trying to be fair and equitable, WE take it seriously. I just don’t do that any more. A simple, “That is silly, and if you take it seriously, you are out of your mind.” suffices.

    The ultimate goal of these people is not the redress of grievances, but expansion of power. When I meet one of them, once they size me up as an old, white-haired, white-skinned male, they immediately lay down their mark as a “feminist.” My response is always the same: “A feminist? Really? How cute!” Their immediate furious fusillade is then met with uproarious laughter, and NEVER another word do I utter. There is no defense against being laughed-at – especially in public. Now I’ve laid down MY mark, and others – especially men, should do the same. It’s well-past time for us to stop walking around with our heads hanging, afraid to utter a single word that could be dishonestly construed as an “offence,” In the words of Ben Shapiro, I Don’t Care About Your Feelings.

    • augustine says

      It can be difficult to summon the laughter in such situations. Quietly smiling works also. 🙂

    • Claire's Landing Strip says

      But your entire response lays bare your own feelings: you’re insecure and afraid. And your weapon of choice isn’t logic, but ridicule. I see nothing but emotion and bullying on your part.

      • Define irony: accusing other sof being emotional and bullying when defending someone being emotional and bullying.

      • @Claire’s landing strip no just as for most people you encounter do not like you ! But you know that somewhere deep down! Now back to grievance studies where all the social outcasts gather!

    • Pfesser, I agree with your approach, that uncharitable interpretations should be challenged, immediately if possible. To remain silent only serves to embolden.

      Having said that, my personal response would be milder than yours, and phrased so as to sway the audience to my point of view. I fear that your approach would alienate any neutral bystanders.

  12. From Google scholar: “Simona Sharoni is a feminist scholar and activist who is currently Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Merrimack College”. Says it all really.

    • According to Wikipedia, she also holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. My sides.

  13. Steve says

    Virtually everyone shedding tears in these Quillette essays participated in — or at the very least acquiesced to — the takeover of academia (and soon the entire culture) by these neo-Jacobins. Most of essays come from self-professed leftists who find themselves under the blade of the very guillotine they observed with indifference from the crowd of cheering onlookers.

  14. Sue Tebbinger says

    Some of us voted for Trump just to stick it to people like My Simona. Horrific! I am out raged! Resist!

    • xyz and such says

      You voted for Trump? You are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Idiotic.

      One can be against PC culture and progressive abuses and still stand in their principles without destroying everything.

      • xyz and such says

        (and by becoming reactive in this way you are basically acting according to the script they have written for you.. evidence of your own weakness)

        • xyz and such says

          and, I’d like to add an apology to anyone with a nose who has found my comment overly violent and offensive… this is a common saying and not meant to actually suggest the cutting off of a nose, or to in any way disparage noses or anyone who may be nose-less. Please forgive any offense.

          • That won’t help you xyz, the potential impact has been launched, spiralling around and looking for a sound landing strip!

        • No, I think the election of Trump has actually hurt them. This stuff was happening behind closed doors. It was like the old myth about boiling a frog. However, their overreaction to everything now, especially after Kavanaugh’s nomination, has been exposed for all to see. Even some of my most liberal friends are uncomfortable. And the last elections can’t be interpreted to mean anything. Americans like divided government and the Republicans had controlled the House for a decade. A reallignment was due. We will see how things go it 2020. If history is any indication, and the Democrats decide to launch endless investigations, it probably won’t be what they were hoping for.

          • augustine says

            “Americans like divided government…”

            Head slap. An excellent insight.

      • While I didn’t vote for Trump (not Hillary), I fo not chife those who did vote for him. Their was actually very little choice. Trump or Clinton and Clinton likely would have allowed this stuff to fester and grow. Trump at least has brought it to a head.

      • annaerishkigal says

        So? Far-left wing liberals, who still weep about how the Orange Cheeto-Man got elected president, continue to double-down and dig themselves deeper into their own cesspool by INSULTING people instead of taking apart their argument using FACTS…

        Newsflash. Calling people who disagree with you names doesn’t make you look smarter, nor does it win an argument any longer. It makes you look clueless, out of touch, and elitist. It makes you, in a nutshell, no better than Professor Simona Sharoni and the ISA.

        It makes you, in a nutshell, a bona fide jerk.

        #WalkAway

        • Exactly my point. The more they, the left, react this way the more they harm their cause.
          Alexander, I know it wasn’t a deep insight, Americans liking divided government, but the obviousness of this was my point. My thesis was the 2018 elections don’t really mean anything. Nothing should be read into the Democrats winning the house, it was inevitable. They will probably misread this and give into their worst inclinations and hurt themselves in 2020. History has shown this over and over (1994 and 2010 come to mind, but in those cases it was the GOP overreaching).

        • xyz and such says

          @ anna.. I’m confused.. are you suggesting that I called anyone names? I didn’t, and I wouldn’t. I suggested that a particular *behavior* is idiotic and there is a pretty significant difference between the two. I should think calling out behaviors as stupid is fair game. It is a very different thing than calling people names; which IS what progressives (and, also right wing fundamentalists) like to do. If someone is insulted because their behavior is called into question, that’s unfortunate, but also falls into the same category as Simona’s gripe – she *felt* insulted.

          My post did not do what you actually did to me, (by calling me -rather than my behavior-) a ‘jerk’. I don’t think it makes anyone smarter to call people names; but I do think it makes me smarter that I know the difference.

      • Stephanie says

        No, you can’t. The election presented a binary choice. Solidify intersectional gains, or dismantle them.

  15. A fine article Professor, much appreciated. It seems that some have weaponized their perceived offence to take down those they do not agree with. They are not snowflakes (though there are plenty out there) they are SJ warriors. It is dangerous days to be a white middle aged male. It seems we are the only group in society that can be abused and discriminated against with impunity!

    • Steve says

      “It is dangerous days to be a white middle aged male.”

      White women are rapidly joining their male counterparts in the circle of the damned.

      Our best hope is that this all somehow peters out eventually. The alternatives are horrific, as history all too well illustrates.

      • Steve, the best hope is not passivity and “hoping that it peters out eventually”. Instead, a better approach is to openly challenge the extremism. It doesn’t have to be overly aggressive; a statement about that her comment is the least charitable interpretation of your comment could be enough.

  16. Jack Danzey says

    Interesting…

    They essentially destroy their own argument. First they say that the main problem is the email, and that the reason is that it “was marginalizing and trivializing Prof. Sharoni’s reaction to your comment.” Later on, however, they say that “We believe you intended this only as a reference to an old trope. That said, one has to consider how someone who, because of age or culture is unfamiliar with that trope, would have interpreted your comment.”

    So, lets analyze what those two quotes, in conjunction, mean. These complete fools seem to be saying

    1. We know that your intentions were harmless and you were referencing an old joke

    2. younger people or people from different cultures might misinterpret an older joke like that

    3. despite the fact that we have implied that she has misinterpreted your joke, it is a problem that you have “marginalized” her interpretation.

    In other words, even though they know that she misinterpreted the joke, her misinterpretation must be affirmed by everyone else. Merely pointing out that she has, in fact, misinterpreted the joke, and we all agree that she has, is offensive and trivializing her experience…which we all agree is a misperception.

  17. Hopeless Pessimist says

    “Go f*** yourself!” is the only reasonable reply in these circumstances.
    You might as well be had for a sheep as a lamb.
    Any display of remorse, that in normal, civil society would be met by thanks on the part of the aggrieved and perhaps a “forget about it!” is seen as the start of a process of repentance that involves self-abasement and ritual humiliation worthy of the Soviet show trials of the 1930s (and which in any case finished in the accused’s death, either by a bullet or in the gulag.
    Any weakness or repentance (ask the @toadmeister himself) is also a sign for the rest of mob to pile on the unfortunate victim. Unless you’ve done something really dumb it’s best to hold the line and not apologise or merely state that you do not see the issue.
    The trolling of Sharoni? The consequence of the abuse of vagina’d privilege.

  18. What else can you expect from Prof. Sharoni, a long standing member of the radical anti-semitic left. Although raised in Israel, she devotes a lot of her time vilifying Israel and trying to promote the boycott of Israeli academics.

  19. Next time in an academic elevator, tell “gender department”. Some people will understand that it’s a joke.

    • Yarara says

      I would go with “twisted gender professor panties department”

  20. Vincent Vega says

    It’s a very good thing I just went through my mandatory annual implicit-bias, queer-inclusive sensitivity re-education camp, otherwise I might have called this grievance scholar a humorless, vindictive cunt.

  21. Bradd Graves says

    After the fact justifications are all well and good, but you’d better realize all women in the workplace are your enemies until proven otherwise. A fair number of men might fit this category as well. The time for being reasonable is past. Go on the attack if you can, but at least keep you defenses up.

  22. Michael Greenberg says

    The phrase “Tempest in a Teapot” comes to mind.

  23. ga gamba says

    Should have taken the absurd to further levels of absurdity by playing it straight; it was no joke, you indeed wanted to go to the ladies lingerie floor. “There’s no ladies lingerie floor.” “Oh, OK, now I know. Thanks.”

    People such as Sharoni want the latitude to interpret every utterance as as affront, and Lebow’s claim the statement is a joke allows for the over-egged cultural interpretation, one that has all interactions are about power.

    In the complaint to the ISA: This morning around 10:20 AM I stepped into a crowded elevator at the Hilton. Because I was standing near the buttons, I offered to press the floors for people in the elevator––mostly ISA attendees and all white middle-aged men, except for myself, also white and middle-aged but not male, and another woman, whose race and age group don’t matter. Just want to make sure you know it was the whites because black lives matter. Sure, the chronology is nonsensical. Who offers to press buttons of people already in the elevator before I entered it, but it’s my truth and I’m sticking to it. One of the men, Ned Richard Lebow, did not share a floor number. Instead he said, with a smile on his face, “women’s lingerie,” and all his buddies laughed. That smile, one of the Death Camp guards, still haunts my memories.

    After they walked out, and not to the ladies lingerie floor I must add, the woman standing next to me turned to me and said, “I wonder if we should have told them that it is no longer acceptable to make these jokes!” Then Bernie Sanders dropped from the elevator’s ceiling and gave us each %100$. When we exited the elevator everyone in the lobby starting clapping. I sobbed internally from the validation. Despite the men’s immediate laughter and the nondescript woman’s comment, it took me a while to figure out that this man thought it was funny to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference. What else might he shop for next during the academic conference? Assault rifles like the AR-47, surely. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that we froze and didn’t confront him. Things I can’t: Even. And for that I’ve self diagnosed myself with PTSD requiring many hundreds of hours of professional counseling. Or two tubes of raw cookie dough. You can’t make this shit up.

    I view this as a violation of ISA’s Code of Conduct and would like to file an official complaint. As a survivor of sexual harassment in the academy and now an elevator, I am quite shaken by this incident. My shaking is so literal it has me thinking of threatening to move to Canada straight away. If you’d like a very nice time, just give this number a call. 6060-842. I’ll be waiting for you.

    My take away: I’m calling ladies lingerie every time someone asks.

      • Reading her complaint, one could think, she missed her vocation as a scriptwriter for TV serials:
        -That smile, one of the Death Camp smiles (note capitals), still haunts my memories-
        – My shaking is so literal, it has me thinking of threatening to move to Canada straight away-
        I try to imagine the face expressions and emotions of the president of that ISA after reading this. Impressed? Ironic laughter ? , but then afterthoughts? Tsjto delat? How to deal with this hot potato? No harm or rumors of misogyny on our institute please!! maybe she means what she said about that moving to Canada, and how to replace her so quickly?

    • What exactly is offensive about the words “Ladies Lingerie”?

      If they had been prefaced with the words “Hey – fancy getting off this lift early, going to your room and letting me remove your…”, then fair dues. However neither Professor Sharoni nor the ISA ExCom stipulated that any facsimile of this statement, nor any derivative offer to help anyone in the lift part with their “Ladies Lingerie” – or acquire skimpy versions thereof – was uttered by Mr. Lebow. So there is no credible context of titillation or flirtation, let alone full-blown sexualisation.

      If Professor Sharoni didn’t understand the context of the utterance of “Ladies Lingerie” i.e. as a “trope” harking back to a previous age of elevator travel, then it can only be construed in two other ways:

      Either as a part of a conversation between Mr. Lebow and a third party in which Professor Sharoni has failed to hear the previous interrogatory (“So Richard – your daughter’s clothing business is doing so well – what’s her most successful product line?”). Or Mr. Lebow suffers from Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and his vocal tic (rather inconveniently) is “Ladies Lingerie”. In this admittedly lower-probability case (given the lower-bound prevalence of Tourettes in the UK at 0.3% of the adult population), still begs the question – how do these two words offend?

  24. Emmanuel says

    What I find really funny in that story is that the woman attacking her colleague over an elevator joke probably teaches to her students that the idea that women are over emotional and irrational is an odious sexist stereotype.

  25. Susanne Zwingel says

    I have to disagree with most comments here. Nothing in Prof. Lebow’s elaboration acknowledges that his allegedly innocent joke has caused a high level of discomfort to Prof. Sharoni. He is not capable of really taking the other side’s concern into consideration. His email message to Prof. Sharoni was not an apology. It told her that she should better understand his joke, rather than being “frivolous”. I wish this issue could have been settled by some type of mutual understanding, and while Prof. Lebow accuses Prof. Sharoni of not being open to this, he isn’t either. I would say that is an example of male privilege.

    • ShipAhoy says

      It’s female privilege that this was allowed to escalate the way it did. And it’s a shame, too, because it IS a waste of time. Males are privileged in understanding this. Wish more women were in on this “privilege.”

    • Lowell Kirkland says

      Why is it an “allegedly innocent joke?” That is not a rhetorical question. What harm on earth could such a stupid joke cause? Or, especially, how could it per se occasion a formal complaint, and to the ruination of a man’s long and sterling reputation? In a role leftists have deftly made viable seemingly everywhere, the plaintiff is surely playing the victim, empowered more than ever before, it seems to me, by calling upon the organization in the first place. Of course this should have been dealt with person to person, but she, as they say, “started it,” and I trust Professor Lebow had no choice but to protect his honor and his reputation against quite scurrilous affronts.

    • Brian says

      Susanne Zwingel….you have got to be fucking kidding me. There is no such thing as male privilege. I sincerely hope that your post was a simple but effective troll.

    • Prof. Lebow did take Prof. Sharoni’s concern into consideration. Calling her complaint frivolous was a result of the consideration, not the consideration itself.

      Sometimes telling someone else to lighten up is the correct, considered response.

    • Andrew Zwin says

      Would a hypothetical reasonable person experience “a high level of discomfort” from hearing the phrase ‘ladies lingerie’?

      • Johan says

        @Andrew Zwin…”Histrionic personality disorder”, more frequent among women, comes to mind…

    • CP Oakes says

      Dear Dr. Sharoni:

      Mistakes were made. I am sorry you are so fragile. I regret third wave feminism has abandoned any notion that women have agency equal to men and must resort to authoritarian intervention.

    • “… his allegedly innocent joke has caused a high level of discomfort to Prof. Sharoni.”

      Did it really? Are you sure? Or is she just pretending it did, as a way of exercising and imposing her female privilege?

      If a man had made a similar complaint about a female, no-one would take it at all seriously.

    • George says

      Wow, y’all really piled on Susanne for expressing an alternative viewpoint. Don’t you find that odd or are you not paying attention?

      • @George: you and Susanne seem to be stance buddies here, and we, the others, the howling wolf pack. With some of us more wolf than the others.

    • I remember the last time an “allegedly innocent joke” caused me a high level of discomfort. The intent was, in fact, innocent, and my discomfort was mine alone, and handling it my responsibility, not anybody else’s.

      White men sure exercise a hell of a lot of power, being responsible for everyone else’s feelings.

    • I’d say you’re an example of the far left ideologue no reasonable person is trying to convince of anything anyway.

      • Irrational Actor says

        Comp, that is exactly what George is.

        When reasonable people of sound mind expose poor arguments for what they are, regressives like George here will be sure to come along and make the mistake of thinking they can trick these same people into feeling like they have been too hard on the person representing the bad ideas.

        I am sure this common identitarian tactic works in places where they have a massive majority, or against those of lesser intelligence, but it really hasn’t worked for him here at Quillette.

        People ‘piled on’ Susanne precisely because they were paying attention. It is far from odd that people will attack bad ideas, in fact it is exactly what we need to do more of. Thanks to Quillette for giving us a platform to do just that!

    • “Allegedly innocent”? You are implying deliberate ill intent? Of what kind, and towards whom?

      If the words “ladies’ lingerie ” are sufficient in themselves to cause Prof. Sharoni “a high level of discomfort ” (knickers in a twist?), she honestly must be sensitive to the point of barking mad.

      Prof. Lebow’s email seems to me to be just right. If she couldn’t see after his explanation that she had overreacted, and that her complaint was indeed frivolous her cognitive process is sadly lacking.

      As I fear is yours in segueing from identifying that they fail to see each other’s point of view to “an example of male privilege”.

      In truth, if anyone is being “privileged” in this exchange it is clearly Prof. Sharoni, who has the disciplinary players going to frankly self-contradictory and irrational lengths to support her in her battiness.

    • Johan says

      @Susanne Zweigel…Move to Yemen. Live there for a year. Male privilage…
      What is female privilage, by the way? Not that I care…

    • Quilter52 says

      Stop it Susanne. You are as daft as she is. You will go blind ! (For the stupid, (possibly Suzanne, this is a reference to the fact that men used to be told they would go blind if they masturb***d. It was assumed women didn’t do that, instead ie back and think of England. ) What was so wrong if she was offended with simply moving on, thinking what a twat and getting over it.

  26. The key to understanding what are on the face of it incomprehensible events is power. The supposedly offended lady, I am sure she was pleased when she heard your joke, was waiting for a remark or action which she could claim had victimised her. She then used the power of her victimisation to persecute you. The goal is a combination of self aggrandisement and out right sexist bigotry. Attacking and undermining men is the goal both to immediately advantage women and to intimidate others who might be tempted to take a stand against sexist feminist bullying.

    Apologising is suicidal even if well meant as it is taken as evidence of guilt even when the supposed offence is trivial or meaningless.

    • Farris says

      Agree. Grievance Studies is all about collecting scalps. The scalps are not only trophies but are also designed to remind others who is permitted to speak up and who is not.

    • Cassandra says

      This is a truly appalling remark. You are not presenting the best defence of the author by this sort of statement,,you know.

      • I agree, Cassandra, why should men say such things? Lack of education? Or what? On other blogs, nevertheless, it’s not unusual to say such , and other similar things. The new habits??

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Nothanks

      Counterproductive comment. Please keep terrible thoughts like this to yourself.

  27. Hilarius says

    I am not in the High Academics like you all, merely a Frenchman who once was a little Venitian migrant to France..

    And I remember my GranMa’ telling me in Venitian dialect : “Stai attento à questa femina, è una carogna!” (Beware of this woman, she is “whicked”* ) It struck me the similarity of the “impacted lady” name with the epithet and the immediate association occurred to my mind.. Sharoni, Carogna.. Maybe she englicized her original name?…
    After reading text and comments, I felt this euphony was all so appropriate…

    Professor, let down the ISA, I don’t think they deserve you, neither can they endanger your career.. or do they really?
    Is the eternal sense of humor of the “Rosbifs”, even academics one gone to the dogs ( beware of the associations for defense of animals..)?!

    * Carogna is translated by Google: carrion, sorry to be mild..

  28. I always thought it was “Women’s Lingerie.”

    Paul, who’s dad worked in the 1930s as an elevator operator.

  29. R Henry says

    Rejection of Christian Faith from the Public Square has most certainly erased the notion of forgiveness.

  30. benben says

    Borderline personality disorder HAS a fascinating defense mechanism protecting its underlining origins, fear of abandonment etc. Often the afflicted is controlled by their emotions so fervently that reason and reality are skewed to appease this emotional state. The patient cannot discern there is a difference between how they feel and what has happened nor can they rationalize the facts in between. What is most vivid and real to them, is how they ‘feel’.

    Consequently, in feigning this emotional dysregulation, progressives have attacked reason and decent society by appealing to the utopian altruisms of mankind, “do unto others…” The reductio ad absurdum of which is the irrational interpretations of all that are in earshot. Nevermind how we truly feel, if we dont like someone we can merely shout misogynist!,RacisT! TERF! from THE rooF tops BECAUSE TO QUEsTiON OUR OUTRAGE IS TO iNVALIdaTE OuR fEeLings. (MY keYbOaRd IS All OF A SUDEN BROKEN)

    • Johan says

      @benben…”Histrionic personality disorder”. Read up on it…

  31. I,m just waiting for the next ” I,m a professor, and was laid by such and such young lady, in such and such circumstance, it’s a shame, and I deserve all compatience, don’t I?? ” (and I admit, I didn’t read the whole, long complaint, stopped after 2 sentences, cuz I thought ” Here we are again”).
    I wonder whether such situations also occur in the continent Europe, Emmanuel? Others? I can’t imagine, it’s US craziness, or in Oz too? Something Anglosaxon?, Commonworld?? But I,m not so young anymore, so, quite possible that the craziness has contaminated the continent too in the meantime, because, that seems to be the rule, first US, 10 yrs later in Europe too. I wonder, how long will it take before the next super power China mores come and overturn our own mores here? Question of time, I fear!

    • Well, considering the European Union courts just upheld a conviction of a woman for writing an article that was critical of Mohammed and a Scotsman was imprisoned for posting an obvious joke were he taught his girlfriend’s dog to give the Nazi salute, I would hypothesize Europe is actually further down the road then the USA.

    • augustine says

      dirk,

      It does not appear to be emanating from Catholic culture or propagating in Latin America!

    • Emmanuel says

      @ Dirk, I don’t have the time to write a complete summary of what is happening in the French intellectual world, but to put things in a few words, yes it has also been f**ked up by the left-wing activists who use it as a nesting ground. We have not yet reached the point where such a joke would cause a scandal but it is coming soon. Anyway, you should not forget that the French academic world has been victim of a left-wing take over for a very long time : remember that Simon Leys had to exile himself to Australia because having told the truth about Mao made him an outcast among the French intellectuals.

      • But, of course, your Catherine Deneuve does not belong to the academic underworld, thanks to God. Her protest letter was head news also in the NLs. I wonder what the reactions in the US would have been!

  32. Jesse B says

    While I generally agree with Professor Lebow’s sentiments, despite probably not having found it funny while I was in the same elevator (not due to being offended in the slightest, but because of it being campy, out-dated), I was curious which ISA Article(s) it was claimed he violated. If the ISA refused to tell him (something that seems shocking), that is the most offensive thing that went on here. If he’s since found out, it would add a layer to the story to see just what specifically he breached by looking at the language.

  33. The email was in fact trivializing. Because it should have been. Being offended is a choice. The “offended” professor is a trivial person with a trivial mind who should be treated as trivial by everyone.

  34. Freddy Nietsche says

    Professors of nothing in particular, going to international junkets, staying at Hilton hotels. Expecting others to care about their careers? Spoilt, immature and decadent. Social justice has grown out of this pampered academic world of international conferences. To see them now falling out with each other and looking for sympathy from the outside world is boring. Sorry, but I must take a big yawn on this one.

    • Jonathan Haidt explains why victimhood thrives especially well in university campuses and similars, like certain weeds grow prolific on nitrogen rich soils, it’s just nature and ecology (this last part is my additional, the agronomist’s). He argues that in universities there is little actual victimization or inequality, and therefore one can see there often a ” responding aggressively to what might seem to outsiders minor slights”. He even noted the frivolousness of condemning intolerance as a typical feature. So, it’s all subject of monitoring and study by the academic world.

  35. There is actually a very simple way to solve this. Simply writing another email to Prof. Sharoni worded somewhat like: I apologize that my joke offended you, however (continue with the rest of your explanation). It’s obvious this woman and the ISA will not let this go without an apology. You did not intend for anyone to be offended and if they were it is perfectly reasonable to offer an apology for offending them (even if you don’t see why). The decision of Prof. Sharoni to escalate this and make an official complaint is clearly overreacting. The decision by the ISA is clearly just to placate a person who has no issue with making mountains out of molehills and is trying to save face by “actively taking action against misogyny” now that we have entered the era of groups like “#metoo”.

    I actually fail to see not only why Prof. Sharoni escalated this incident but why you drag it out, unfortunately this is not an academic issue. It cannot be solved by simply refuting the other parties thoughts by using outdated references and “fact”. Simply put, you must approach this from a social aspect. If you offended someone you were talking to and they mentioned it, would you argue with them that their offense is misplaced and that you said nothing wrong. If so then there are other issues you need to face. Polite company would apologize, not for what was said but for the offense. A quick “oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend, I was just referencing such and such a thing as I found it humourous”. Done.

    Carrying this on to the point where solicitors are involved is simply being stubborn and childish. I can honestly say that both parties involved are being frightfully overdramatic, self-centered and childish.

    Man up and apologies, make your appeal again stating that you have reiterated your “misinterpreted” apology to the other party involved as “upon reflection I can see that it was not obvious in my initial email to her” and request that their ruling be overturned as you had Infact reached out to apologize once you had found out there was an issue.

    • @Peter Waters, you are naive in the extreme if you think that *any* apology would have stopped this. He could’ve wrapped his privates in a box and presented them to her groveling and it wouldn’t have mattered. She wanted blood.

      What would he have apologized for though? Making a joke? I’m asking this in all seriousness. What was his crime? It looks like his crime was “white man makes a joke that normal people find either funny or silly, but a single white woman got insulted by it.” Why should he apologize? The only solution to guarding against never inadvertently insulting a random person in a crowd is to never make jokes ever. What kind of world are you advocating anyway? Why does the humorless nasty person get to define the rules and not 99% of us?

    • Actually, his issueing and apology probably would have made things worse for him. They would use it as evidence of his admitting guilt, and if anything like this were to happen again in the future they would come down with both feet. Also, it could likely have impacted his employment. His admittance of guilt could give ammunition to those in his own university who would use it get him removed (and then they would insist he be replaced by someone from a percieved underprivileged group.

    • Irrational Actor says

      @ Peter Waters

      “Man up and apologies, make your appeal again…”

      Good sir, your seemingly benign and innocuous mistake with regard to the word ‘apologies’ in the above quote has caused me some measure of offense.

      I therefore seek a written apology from you.

      In your own words Peter:

      “You did not intend for anyone to be offended and if they were it is perfectly reasonable to offer an apology for offending them (even if you don’t see why).”

      I trust you can see that I seek nothing more than a simple apology that aligns with your own clearly stated views on the matter.

      Thank you Peter, I look forward to your apology.

    • Doctor Locketopus says

      > There is actually a very simple way to solve this. Simply writing another email to Prof. Sharoni worded somewhat like: I apologize that my joke offended you

      No. That would solve nothing, and would merely be seen as an admission of guilt (when there was no guilt in the first place). She was offended? So what? That’s her problem.

      The goal of people like Sharoni is to make others grovel to make themselves feel powerful.

      Never apologize to these people. Never.

  36. David says

    Prof. Simona Sharoni looks like the type of person who would get offended. The again, she looks like she wears a cast iron bear trap in place of lingerie.

  37. Paraphrasing Stalin: Soon there will be few but better professors in all of academia.

    A decade or two teaching history 101 at New Town (Novyy Gorod) Community College in North Dakota is an appropriate disposition for this troubling case. As always, the Party must be stern but merciful.

    • Also, if the professor wants to live with the wolves he’d best learn how to howl with the wolves.

    • I live in Montana, near North Dakota. We, for the most part, have a sense of humor. And even when we don’t we either grin (while maybe not grin) and bear it (it is that Scandinavian German stoicism) or we talk to the person.

  38. Aetius says

    If you are a rational man, you’ll do the following:

    1) eschew all humanities studies in favor of the quantitative fields, which, while not immune to grievance mongering, have a certain natural resistance;

    2) avoid all participants in the humanities, not only on a professional level, but a personal one (perhaps adoptimg a variation of the Pence rule); and

    3) cut off all contact with anyone who displays symptoms of inflection by grievance thinking, even if the symptoms are not yet severe.

    These rules may seem harsh — yes, I really do mean that you should cut people out of your life the first time blame the “people” for something — but the alternative is ruin. Someone with only a mild infection of the mind virus may not try to ruin your life over an elevator joke, but he or she might, too. Is it worth the risk? We don’t screw around and let people with only a little bit of ebola board planes.

    These people are contaminated. Every minute you spend in contact with these peoppe increases the chance that something you do or say will be considered offensive and punishable. Why risk it?

  39. grandmacaesar says

    What part of the body is injured by words? I posit that if a person claims to be injured by words, that person is weak-minded.

  40. Farris says

    So why would an innocuous joke be considered offensive? Simple it touches upon the greatest fear of unserious people, that of being laughed at.

  41. Kevin says

    A couple of decades ago, I would have thought the article was satire…shocking.

    • Johan says

      Try to imagine a future society where nobody gets offended…

  42. Pingback: New top story on Hacker News: Telling a Lame Joke in an Elevator Can Endanger an Academic Career – News about world

  43. E. Olson says

    I looked up Prof. Sharoni on RateMyProfessors.com, and her ratings from the last few years have been uniformly awful, after a mixture of awful and good in earlier years. Descriptions of her teaching suggest she has no sense of humor, is very harsh in her public criticism of students, is very unorganized, provides poor instruction on assignments, and is not very friendly or responsive to inquiries from students about assignments/grades, etc. Nothing in her relatively limited publication history would suggest interest in humor or forgiveness – its all about grievance and conflict. I’m sure she is just a joy at department meetings and social gatherings. In summary, a humorless and vindictive -itch (rhymes with witch).

    • interesting (although unsurprising!). But why is it she who gets to define the terms? I’m very certain she stands for fewer than 1% of women. I can’t think of any woman I know who would hear what this guy said and run to the authorities. The vast majority would have laughed, or smiled. The ones who didn’t get it would either tune it out or shrug. The handful who thought it was in poor taste would have either stepped out of the elevator, having zillions of better things to do, or, if they were really in a bad mood, told him it was insulting. You know, to his face. (This is also unaddressed Why is the woman so helpless she can’t actually *talk* to the guy when he’s standing right there? Why is this even acceptable?)

      So given the reality, why is it the most pathological, the most incompetent, who are given the most power? Is it really that everyone is so cowardly they let these crazypeople shriek? Or is there something deeper going on? Like, in whose interest is this?

    • jimhaz says

      Have we all not known women with looks like her – underlying personalities show on faces. Some people are just very sour and testy their entire lives and she is the female version of that. They hate life.

      They just should be ignored.

      Every thing we say comes from what we have experienced. We are essentially our subconscious memories. Lebow is 76 so has a great store of memories from past times that still prompt rote thought in the present.

      I cannot express how unfair these sorts of falsity are. A Cultural Devolution. Modern versions of Chairman Moa.

      The ISA should held to account over this. Another case of the application and extension of morally wrong PCism by authorities whom are only doing it to attempt to save the cost of conflict to themselves by being dishonourable. To take up Sharoni’s complaint is a total lack of any form of courage and a lack of the good masculinity that authorities need to have.

  44. Claire's Landing Strip says

    This entire thing is just one long excuse-making exercise — you should have kept your mouth firmly closed and not made this joke in your workplace. The fact that the women decided to file the complaint does or does not change the fact that you were wrong.

    In fact, five days ago, I was in an elevator at the college where I adjunct and I got in the elevator and a grizzly old white professor got in behind me and I said, “are you going all the way,” meaning going to the first floor to leave the building. He laughs and says “of course — is there any other way??” Chortle chortle. But then, right after, he caught himself and said — “Oh, sorry, sorry.”

    That sorry was his check on himself to remind himself that times have changed and he cannot go around making sex jokes to co-workers — particularly ones he does not know. It didn’t make me particularly uncomfortable, and he literally could have said the same thing to a guy. I don’t feel like, to me, it was sexual harassment, because I didn’t feel harassed — but I felt like it was unprofessional.

    The lingerie comment was worse, because that is a reminder that women are objectified. At least, in my example, it could apply to everyone.

    The fact that males feel free to objectify women is the problem here. You assume that “ladies lingerie” is not a problematic thing to begin with, when, in fact, not all ladies want to be objectified. Not all ladies want their body wrapped up in lace for a man. Those that play along with Victoria’s Not-So-Secret Objectification perpetuate this ethos and image, and like all of the sex-selling industry, there are consequences for women. Just because most men and some women want to participate does not mean that everyone does and that it doesn’t cause real harm.

    Second, you assume that this is SO OKAY that in your workplace, he can just shoot off your mouth casually — that it’s not a shock and disturbance to women, who are just trying to walk to and from math class or whatever, to be reminded that you and other men think it’s just fine to wrap a woman up in lace and present her to a man — and laugh about it.

    Think about if I were in that elevator and made any of the following offhanded comments:

    “Geez, if this ride were any rougher, it would feel like a hairy ballsack, amirite?

    *looks at place where someone spilled a flat white on the floor*: “Watch out, honey, don’t step on that — you don’t want nasty spooge on your shoe.”

    “I wish that this elevator went all the way to the basement, when, upon opening the door, I would be presented with 25 lobotomized, greased-up Chippendales with 10-inch you-know-whats. Ladies, you with me?”

    No. NO and NOOOOOOO. But the reason these are obvious NOs — and not the lingerie joke — is because society has signed off on objectification of women. These other things to say would be considered subversive, inappropriate, etc. But the idea of a woman wrapped up in lace ready to be presented for a man to fuck can be, to some people, defended as polite and appropriate elevator conversation.

    You shouldn’t have said it. You were rightly punished. Times have changed. You need to get with it. Your objectifying gaze is not welcome, nor needed.

    • @claire’s landing strip,

      Poe? Or are you serious. Because if the latter, first it was not in his place of work, it was in a hotel elevator. Second are you assuming only women wear lingerie. How cis-normative of you. In fact, now I am offended. Why do you get to decide that a male is not allowed to visit the women’s lingerie section for their own purposes? Would not your assumption make it more difficult for someone who is transitioning to feel comfortable in their decision? You obviously have not taken into account the feelings of those who are non-gender conformis. That is bigotry at its highest form. That may have been acceptable but no longer get is, you need to apologise, immediately.

        • Ray Andrews says

          Seconded. Imagine the execution of Sharoni if she had complained at the time, but it had been an LGBTA>>Z who had made the comment. Oppression! Eventually these people will eat each other.

    • Claire’s Landing Strip, I disagree with your assertion that he should have simply kept his mouth shut. I prefer freedom of speech to self-censorship.

      Your examples are over the top. I agree that your examples would be completely unacceptable in an elevator, but ‘Ladies Lingerie’ is not in the same class as those. Have you no sense of proportion?

    • But many women do say such things. Surely you know that. (Leaving aside that this was an elevator and not a workplace, but I’m sure you know that too). As a woman, I have been in many situations in which women have ‘joked’ about men’s penis size and muscle mass and height and weight right in front of them. Many many times over the decades. I have been in situations in which women have touched men. What is your comment about that? Is that ok? If so why?

      Why do you act as though women are so delicate and Victorian that we need smelling salts if a man dares to say a single thing that ‘makes us uncomfortable’? If you find yourself tragically born without a sense of humor, why not tell him to f** off? Why not tell him to shut up? If you’re really upset. This wasn’t an unequal power arrangement here. She could have easily talked to him. She was *right in the elevator.* But no. She ran to Mommy Bureaucracy to Tell On Him and Get Him In Trouble.

      But you don’t get it. You honestly think that this is all about *your own* feelings! You don’t seem to believe there is such a thing as objective reality. You write, “I don’t feel like, to me, it was sexual harassment, because I didn’t feel harassed — but I felt like it was unprofessional…” Well why do you get to define a relationship unilaterally and in a vacuum? What about the other person’s intent? What if you’re mentally ill (in all due respect and not meaning to imply you are; but what if you are not emotionally balanced?)

      White women, for instance, did this for years with Black men. Still do. (Say how Black men ‘make them feel uncomfortable” by whistling or ogling or even smiling.) Are their feelings sacrosanct? I hope not. But if these aren’t then why are they magically sacrosanct when it’s a white man? And only if you ‘feel’ it’s sexual harassment. Surely you must know that what one culture regards as harassment, another will regard as fun flirting or harmless bantering. And what if a woman objectifies a man? Or a man with another men? You can’t possibly have lived in a job without seeing that.

      I totally agree that actual sexual harassment is horrible. But this movement to equate a bad joke with the horrors of, say, rape, are really really disturbing (I speak as a rape survivor). A bad dated joke?–I mean, really, grow a pair. I mean that in the most sexist way possible.

      I find the definitions of what is harassment – aside from the much needed awareness about actual sexual aggression – are uniformly defined from the basis of Victorian-era upper middle class white women. It’s hugely ironic that this perception is supposed to be *the* perception, seeing as it’s so ethnocentric, and how it’s caused enormous damage and death over the years, and suppression of sexuality and healthy emotion in the women.

      • xyz and such says

        except that the joke ‘ladies lingerie’ isn’t about women being objectified. It’s an old joke about being on an elevator. It isn’t about sex or gender. If you are taking it that way, then you aren’t getting the joke or its context. Which is the problem of any humor: any good humor is context based. So given that reality, there is no more room for humor or comedy since the possiblity of re-defining a joke based on taking it in other than its intended context is high. I’m so tired of women (and I am one, so I’m allowed to say it) shouting ‘patriarchy’ and ‘misogyny’ about anything and everything.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @d

        A few days ago I watched a documentary about the ladies who’s job it was during the war to ferry planes from the factories to the airfields ‘Spitfire Girls’ I think it was called. One of the ladies (all very old now) when the subject of romance/sex was brought up, said that if some man pinched her bottom, she was flattered that she was good looking enough to have her bottom pinched. Perhaps we can be glad that that’s not permitted now, but the fundamentalists really have gone too far.

      • D-Rex says

        I often feel both relieved and blessed to be in a workplace (area school) where the camaraderie is strong and banter from both men and women (who outnumber men 3 to 1) can often move into the realms of risque from both sexes. I in fact was the designated sexual grievance officer for a number of years but the position was made redundant as no-one ever complained. I have also, on more than one occasion, actually felt embarrassed by the female banter when I was the only male in the staff room but this just made me feel more relaxed in the long run.

    • Michael says

      …25 lobotomized, greased-up Chippendales with 10-inch you-know-whats…

      That´s maddeningly funny XD. And I can totally relate:
      Once in a philosophy seminar, I woke up to animated laughter. People discussed just how gorgeous Brad Pitt looked in the movie Troy, if additional intelligence would have made him even more appealing and wether he was more impressive with armour or without.
      Now, why did I get the feeling, that the teaching assistant and some of the students were looking at me in a funny way?
      I had figured it out in a second: I was the only dude. XD
      Rarely have I reexamined my social surroundings more quickly. Maybe it´s some old primate pattern: you hear people giggling. That means they are bonding. Then you find out, you´re not in on the joke – and you can´t be. In a group of strangers that should make you self aware, because the alliances around you are not in your favour.
      Maybe situations like the elevator incident escalate, because gestures of reconciliation are less effective in written language, giving everybody a deceptive sense of hostility.

    • Evander says

      @Claire

      I know your username is carefully chosen but this isn’t the right instance for a crusade against the objectification of women.

      You’ve manifestly misinterpreted this situation. Why can’t you accept the male professor’s interpretation of his own remarks? It was a comedic reference, not a derogatory comment. Even the ISA conceded that in their correspondence. The problem was Sharoni’s subjectivity.

      “But the idea of a woman wrapped up in lace ready to be presented for a man to fuck can be, to some people, defended as polite and appropriate elevator conversation.”

      You’re projecting by creating an unintended context for his quotation. You substituted your imagined context for his own.

      Your comment is one long excuse-making excuse for your prejudiced take on the situation.

      I’m your ally in fighting against the objectification of women. I’m anti-pornography and anti the sexualisation of girls. You make our side seem whacky, zealous and anti-men with your spin. Modest, persuasive criticism not screed will effect change.

    • Doctor Locketopus says

      > No. NO and NOOOOOOO. But the reason these are obvious NOs — and not the lingerie joke — is because society has signed off on objectification of women.

      No, it’s because most of us aren’t cry-bullying whackjobs.

      > You need to get with it.

      No.

      > Your objectifying gaze is not welcome, nor needed.

      Don’t care.

    • Andrew Leonard says

      Women’s bodies are objects. Women are not objects.
      It’s a simple distinction.
      Same goes for men.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Andrew Leonard

        It’s the indefensible crime: objectification. What does it actually mean? Huge numbers of women like to buy lingerie are they self-objectifying? The word has no content.

        • D-Rex says

          You don’t have to spend much time on the internet to realise that there a LOT of women who like to attract the “male gaze”, and I don’t mean pornography. It’s interesting that competitive female ice skaters actually have rules on the minimum they are allowed to wear otherwise they would all be showing even more than they already do.

        • Evander says

          @Andrew

          That’s the point: when the distinction is lost, and women’s bodies are treated objectively, it communicates something unhealthy to younger women. There’s pressure on them to conform to an elusive standard of beauty: ‘thigh gap’, crop tops, meal-skipping, Instagram saturates their consciousness.

          Feminists can carry this too far. Sure. But if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with the culture on this point, I’d say you’re not paying attention, and you’re not in tune with what women themselves are saying.

          There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

          https://tendaily.com.au/views/a181121avk/we-shouldnt-have-to-look-at-soft-porn-in-shopping-centres-20181121

          • Doctor Locketopus says

            There is absolutely nothing “unhealthy” about women attempting to make themselves attractive to men, or men attempting to make themselves attractive to women, for that matter.

            That is how the species is perpetuated.

            > Instagram saturates their consciousness.

            Oh, yes. Women are poor helpless children, incapable of resisting the mighty Instagram.

            You know what’s actually unhealthy? Your denial that women that women are autonomous adult human beings with agency and the capacity to make informed choices, and your criminalization of normal human sexuality.

          • Evander says

            @Doctor Locketopus

            Hi there, would you like to engage with my points?

            “There is absolutely nothing “unhealthy” about women attempting to make themselves attractive to men”

            i) Did I frame it like that?
            ii) Have you heard of anorexia? That’s objectively unhealthy.

            “That is how the species is perpetuated.”

            I was always wondering how it worked.

            “Oh, yes. Women are poor helpless children, incapable of resisting the mighty Instagram.”

            i) Notice that I used women and young women.
            ii) Instagram is one factor among many.
            iii) Are you saying that young people aren’t at all susceptible to social pressures?

            “You know what’s actually unhealthy? Your denial that women that women are autonomous adult human beings with agency and the capacity to make informed choices, and your criminalization of normal human sexuality.”

            i) Again, you’ve strawmanned me. When did I deny that women can make choices?
            ii) I’m a single adult male, not a legislature. I’m arguing against negative social pressure on women, not passing laws to enshrine my views.
            iii) Social pressures exist and they shape people and their decisions. You might need to reexamine your libertarian ideology.

            I’m happy to keep engaging.

    • carmyk says

      Claire’s LS

      You write well.

      But it is quite the leap from “women’s lingerie” to “a women wrapped up in lace ready to be presented for a man to fuck”.

      I would jump to thoughts of my lovely wife wearing something tight.

      If you decide you’re a nail everything around you starts to look like a hammer.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        > ii) Have you heard of anorexia? That’s objectively unhealthy.

        Of course I’ve heard of it. It’s vanishingly rare.

        A lot of women diet, but very, very few of them match the clinical criteria for having anorexia.

        If a young woman wants to be thin, so what? A lot of young men spend hours at the gym and large sums of money on “nutritional supplements” trying to develop muscles. Again, so what?

        Now, if the young women develop real anorexia (which, again, is quite rare) or the young men start abusing steroids (which is CONSIDERABLY more common), that’s a different story.

        > Are you saying that young people aren’t at all susceptible to social pressures?

        Weren’t you just accusing me of straw-manning? Of course young people are susceptible to social pressure. So are old people, and middle-aged people. Everyone didn’t start wearing zoot suits, bell-bottom trousers, or acid-washed jeans at the same time because it was an objectively good idea, dude.

        Somehow, though, you’re only concerned with protecting women from social pressures. Why do you infantilize women as THE group in need of protection from these nefarious social pressures?

        • Evander says

          @Doctor Locketopus

          Thanks for replying.

          My problem isn’t with dieting per se or a desire to present yourself as best you can healthily.

          My problem is with environmental factors that sexualise children, objectify young people, especially women, and cause them to pursue an elusive ideal of themselves. To quote Sam Harris: ideas have consequences. I’ve just come from reading a recent essay by an author arguing against the blank slate from personal experience. As a young person, he nearly committed suicide because of the pressure directed towards him in line with that ideal. Same root problem – bad ideal – different issue.

          For our purposes, I’ll stick with the points we’ve been discussing.

          “Of course I’ve heard of [anorexia]. It’s vanishingly rare.”

          Let me present some statistics to begin.

          “A 2007 Sydney University study of nearly 9,000 adolescents showed one in five teenage girls starved themselves or vomit up their food to control their weight. 8% of girls used smoking for weight control (Wade, 2006).”

          “In a recent study, 34% of 5-year-old girls showed a moderate level of dietary restraint, while half showed internalisation of the thin ideal. Sociocultural factors, including media exposure and peer conversations, were stronger predictors of dietary restraint than individual factors (Damiano et al., 2015).”

          Source: https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/key-research-a-statistics

          Those statistics don’t indicate a negligible phenomenon.

          I would like to see such sociocultural factors mitigated as much as possible, to stop young people, especially girls, from starving themselves and doing damage to their psyches and bodies.

          Yeah, I don’t want to see guys using steroids either or damaging their bodies. That needs attention, too. But since I’m involved in the education of young women, I focus on that. How educational institutions incorporate wellbeing into their enterprise is getting a lot of attention atm. Learning well and a healthy sense of self intersect with this issue; it’s huge.

          “Oh, yes. Women are poor helpless children, incapable of resisting the mighty Instagram.”

          “Weren’t you just accusing me of straw-manning? Of course young people are susceptible to social pressure.”

          Look at the first quote. Then the second. You struck me as dismissing social pressure as a significant factor in the lives of young women. I didn’t intend a strawman.

          Teenagers are more impressionable; it’s a neuroscientific fact. Like I said, I want negative social pressures minimised. Wearing jeans isn’t analogous, because its harmless. Meal-skipping and sexting are harmful.

          “Somehow, though, you’re only concerned with protecting women from social pressures. Why do you infantilize women as THE group in need of protection from these nefarious social pressures?”

          How am I infantilising young women? I’m pointing out that bad influences are out there, and I’d like to see them curtailed. How? Mostly through stigma. I’m very comfortable with soft porn being booed out of shopping centres. (See link in my post above.)

          I’m concerned with the dignity and care of all people, which in my life takes the form not only of discourse but action. I’ve worked as an AIN in aged care, volunteered for years in an urban soup kitchen, done ministry among the working class for years, and given to charity my whole adult life. Vainglorious details, perhaps, but I didn’t know how to more effectively rebut your point.

          Let me know if you take issue with this account: social pressures exist, and some are bad. The bad ones have an especially bad impact on young people, who are more susceptible to all socialising forces. I just happen to focus my critique on the negative influences on (young) women.

          If you think the plight of the other sex is undervalued, perhaps you could promote the health of young men in your discourse and voluntarism?

          • Doctor Locketopus says

            > A 2007 Sydney University study of nearly 9,000 adolescents showed one in five teenage girls starved themselves

            What is the definition of “starved themselves”?

            That phrase does not even appear in the cited paper (Hay, et al.), which in fact talks about three categories of eating disorder. The 2005 figures for female subjects were binge eating (7.5%), purging (2.1%), and “strict dieting or fasting” (which they don’t really define, either) (5.2%).

            How is your source getting “1 in 5” (i.e., 20%) from those numbers?

            Answer: they’re making shit up.

            Even if you add purging and “strict dieting or fasting” together, you only get 7.3%, not 20%. Binge eating is clearly not “starving oneself”, so that’s of no help to your source.

            “Strict dieting or fasting” is not the same as “starving oneself” to begin with, otherwise every devout Catholic and Muslim in the world would have an eating disorder (at least during Lent and Ramadan, respectively).

            Here is the link to the actual paper, if you care to verify it for yourself.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2212110/

          • Asenath Waite says

            @Evander

            Looks like about 2 percent for anorexia nervosa and 3 percent for bulimia nervosa in this study you cited. Not sure if there is any overlap of individuals between those groups.

            Study abstract:

            Prevalence and long-term course of lifetime eating disorders in an adult Australian twin cohort.
            Wade TD1, Bergin JL, Tiggemann M, Bulik CM, Fairburn CG.
            Author information
            Abstract
            OBJECTIVE:

            Few studies exist that have examined the spectrum and natural long-term course of eating disturbance in the community. We examine the lifetime prevalence and long-term course of anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) in an adult female twin population.
            METHOD:

            Female twins (n = 1002) from the Australian Twin Registry, aged 28-39 years, were assessed using the Eating Disorder Examination, revised to yield lifetime diagnostic information. For women with lifetime eating disorders, the assessment occurred, on average, 14.52 years (SD = 5.65) after onset of their disorder.
            RESULTS:

            In accordance with other community studies, we found a 1.9% lifetime prevalence of AN, with an additional 2.4% who met the criteria for ‘partial AN’ (absence of amenorrhea). Criteria for BN were met by 2.9% of the women, an additional 2.9% of women met criteria for binge eating disorder, while 5.3% met criteria for purging disorder unaccompanied by binge eating (EDNOS-p). Eleven (7%) of the women with lifetime eating disorders had a current eating disorder. Each diagnostic group continued to be differentiated by current eating pathology from women without lifetime eating disorders. Although approximately 75% of the women had a good outcome, less than 50% of each diagnostic group was asymptomatic.
            CONCLUSIONS:

            Eating disorders tend to improve over time often reaching subdiagnostic levels of severity, but only a minority of sufferers becomes asymptomatic. The DSM-IV diagnosis EDNOS needs to be considered in studies of the prevalence and course of eating disorders.

        • Anorexia – loss of appetite- is common. Anorexia nervosa- a pathological psychiatric condition- is uncommon, but certainly not vanishingly rare.

          • Evander says

            @Doctor Locketopus

            Thanks for your reply. Two things.

            i) You linked me the wrong study (Hay et al. 2008): this is the article (Wade 2006) upon which the claim you interrogate is based. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16476129. Unfortunately, it’s not open access, so I can’t verify it for myself. For my purposes, I’m happy to rely on statistics compiled by a specialist organisation such as the one from which I drew those claims. As I’ve already said, my purposes aren’t theoretical: I want to be informed because it helps me understand the young people with whom I interact professionally. If there are eating disorders – from binge-eating to severe anorexia – I want to have some sort of statistical understanding.

            ii) Care to answer any of my other points? I’m trying to engage with you thoroughly. You’re not coming across as open-minded to what I’m saying. I’m happy to make concessions if you can point out where my thinking is askew, since that will help me practically. If you’re going to accuse me of being discriminatively interested in one section of humanity and then claim I infantilise that section, I’d like you to follow through on my counter-points. Otherwise, you’re coming across as an angry person wedded to his assumptions. But perhaps you’re thinking up a response now, and, if that’s the case, ignore this whole second point.

            Please help me understand your view.

            Do you think that i) there aren’t negative social pressures on young women that should be mitigated; ii) I’m overlooking men, young or old, as a group in my discourse, and that’s inappropriate somehow; iii) the concerns I’m showing and my points genuinely do constitute what you call the infantilisation of women?

          • Evander says

            @Doctor Locketopus

            Just realised an error I made. Wade (2006) obviously can’t cite a 2007 USyd study. I’m having trouble tracking down that source, so I’m happy to dismiss that from the discussion, if you’d like.

          • Doctor Locketopus says

            @Evander:

            Asenath Waite (above) gave a summary of the Waite paper, which apparently gives a figure of 2% for anorexia nervosa.

            How does that translate to “one in five” “starving themselves”?

            Unless you can provide actual evidence that 20% of teenage girls “starve themselves” (using some non-risible definition of “starving themselves”), I think you need to retract this claim.

    • ga gamba says

      you should have kept your mouth firmly closed and not made this joke in your workplace.

      TIL: Professor Lebow works at the Hilton.

      Your objectifying gaze is not welcome, nor needed.

      Ahem, it was speaking. Gazing had nothing to do with it.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        “Male gaze” is a nonsensical feminist construct that has much in common with the purported “evil eye” that used to get one stoned to death by superstitious peasants.

        You can find plenty of pseudo-academic papers about the “male gaze”, if you’re of a mind, but I would recommend watching paint dry as a more productive use of your time.

      • What’s this now again,professor Lebow works at Hilton??? What’s he doing there? Bartender? Cook? Administrator? General supervisor?

      • Evander says

        @Asenath Waite @Doctor Locketopus

        You’re quoting from the study that the website miscited. In any case: from the abstract, we get a total 3 – 5% figure for young women with an eating disorder. The 1 in 5 ‘starving themselves’ claim is embedded in a different article, which I can’t track down and/or have access to. ‘Starving themselves’ hasn’t been defined; again, this might be elaborated in the original article. Since we can’t verify it, I’m happy to remove it from consideration.

        At first, I posted two statistics from the website (https://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/key-research-a-statistics) to substantiate my claim that eating disorders are a social reality causing harm. I’m happy to discard the first statistic. But I don’t think the other findings are fabricated or flawed. There’s simply not enough time for me to verify them. If you want to be hyperscientific about it, the onus is now on you to argue down claims that there’s a significant problem. As for me, the statistics harmonise with my personal experience: I know young women who’ve skipped-meals and obssess over self-image. My wife has two close girlfriends in her circle of friends who are bulimic. It’s an issue. And there are social forces at play.

        Locketopus, I’ve tried to accommodate you. Like a pitbull, you’ve chomped down on one part of my response to you, a single statistical claim that we can’t verify. That’s dealt with now. You haven’t addressed my whole post.

        Do you think there are negative social pressures on young women that should be countered?

        Is my preferential advocacy and concern for this group somehow inappropriate?

        How am I infantilising women?

        I’ll interpret future non-engagement with these points as evidence you’re not serious about the issue or my take on it; that you only want to defend your prefixed notions of female autonomy and infantilistation, etc.

    • You just made that up. Saying “ladies’ lingerie” in answer to the question “which floor?” Is clearly a reference to department stores. Even a foreigner like myself, ignorant of the original joke, can see that. I imagine it’s from some show like the U.K.’s “Are you being served?”

      Your fantasies about being “wrapped up in lace ready to be presented for a man to fuck”, be they fearful or wishful, take the two words spoken a very long way in a particular direction that’s in no way implicit in the words themselves. The relevant floors, after all, display vastly more beige bloomers than skimpy lace. And the women I know, when they do wear sexy little numbers, do so for themselves; it makes them feel nice, and/or naughty.

      And where on earth did you get the “objectifying gaze”?

      If your post was complex irony, I apologise for my obtuseness. If not, you need to resist projecting your stuff, and own it.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Claire

      Those are ridiculous comparisons, far more explicitly sexual than the comment made by the professor. If you had mentioned boxer shorts, any reasonable person would not have a problem with that. Also acknowledging the existence of lingerie does not objectify women. Also also, in my experience it is generally women wrapping themselves up in lace, to use your phrasing, and not men doing it to them.

    • @Claire’s Landing Strip I have met your ilk many times . You where the Lula all the normal girls disliked for your lack of character and your divisive opinions! Those times have not changed! Will you be found eaten by your cat’s???

  45. cjcmay says

    If you have a motoring accident, your version of events is not likely to be regarded as definitive unless you have one or more independent witnesses. I think the same standard should apply to incidents of this kind. If you feel that an offensive behaviour has taken place, you should gather the names and contact details of perhaps a couple of witnesses who are prepared to back you up in this. If no-one is willing to cooperate, then it’s best to let it go, and maybe consider whether the problem lies with you rather than the alleged perpetrator.

  46. Wentworth Horton says

    Universities. Stick a fork in ’em, they’re done. I get it. Maybe we could get a package deal at the rendering plant and throw in certification bodies, HR departments and about half the gov’t. Honestly, the corruption has been obvious to the real world for about 20 years and my sympathy is somewhat limited for those that have been lapping up the honey for whole careers only to finally speak up when it’s their ass on the line. So where to from here?

  47. Hammurabi says

    Fun fact: Her PhD is in “Conflict Analysis and Resolution” from George Mason University.

    Oh the irony…

  48. Andrew Zwin says

    I find this article completely inappropriate and ask that the operators of quillette remove it immediately. Notice how Lebow had the decency to say ‘the “n” word’, but dropped the LL words multiple times throughout his screed. He just. Does’t. Get. It. Completely tone deaf.

    • The “n” word has a long, hateful history, is pejorative, and would be bleeped on TV. Not so with ladies’ lingerie. Is “gentlemen’s undergarments” offensive?

    • George says

      Yeah, agreed Andrew, that there’s a blindness here. I’m solid with you on that. I’m not sure it should be dropped though because there are a lot of tone deaf people and maybe there is potential for dialogue in this that is otherwise often avoided. If not here, where else? The article is self-serving and deceptive, the comments here are disturbing, the gleeful burning of Sharoni. However, there are a lot of thoughtful people here and any neutral party, not those drowning in their defense of misogyny, may have a revelation of how deep this blindness goes, and then…dare I say, they may start to see it everywhere, because it is.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        > the gleeful burning of Sharoni

        “Burning”? Can the histrionics. She still has tenure, dude.

        She thought she could torch Lebow’s career without any repercussions. She was wrong. Sorry about that.

      • Irrational Actor says

        You’re really slipping here George, your lack of intelligence is showing ever more clearly. Let me spell it out to you:

        Andrew was using what we call sarcasm. It wasn’t plain and obvious enough so that everyone could see it, but it was obvious enough for most of us here. It is not however, surprising that it went over your head. More than once in the comment section of this article you have inadvertently agreed with someone who is saying the opposite of what you think they are.

        Your defense options at this point are as follows:

        1. Claim that you knew it was sarcasm all along, and that you were just playing along; or

        2. Claim that it is not sarcasm at all, and Andrew is genuine in his implication that the ‘LL word’ is as bad as the ‘N word’.

        Unfortunately, most of us will see straight through either of these defenses, but really, what other choices do you have?

        Need I point out the utter stupidity and dishonesty of the rest of your comment, with it’s claim that a disagreement with Sharoni’s tactics is tantamount to defense of misogyny, and that if only we were not all so blind (very ableist of you by the way, shame on you George) we could see misogyny everywhere that a man disagrees with a woman, just like your very woke self?

        You will find safer haven in your identitarian bubble George, where your bad ideas are parroted and applauded without contest. But I do hope you keep commenting here, so that we can continue to pull apart your ideology with such ease. Without you and your kind, we might be accused of operating inside our own free-thought bubble, so I do appreciate the service you unwittingly provide.

        • Evander says

          I’ll take care of this one, boys.

          @Irrational Actor

          This isn’t a gladiatorial arena. Nero won’t have your head if you don’t perform.

          Andrew, missed the sarcasm. Correct. Are you going to judge his intelligence based on a single misreading? That would be fallacious – unrepresentative sample – and bad reasoning, on your view, is probably indicative of low intelligence. Right?

          “Your defense options at this point are as follows:

          1. Claim that you knew it was sarcasm all along, and that you were just playing along; or

          2. Claim that it is not sarcasm at all, and Andrew is genuine in his implication that the ‘LL word’ is as bad as the ‘N word’.”

          There’s your second fallacy – false dichotomy. Perhaps Andrew could admit he misread the statement? Don’t we want a discourse based on admitting errors and being open-minded?

          Irrational Actor, here’s an idea I’ve been thinking through lately: the distinction between a debate and a dialogue. A debate is where two contestants (individuals or groups) seek victory for an already fixed point of view. A dialogue is an exploratory conversation, where people are open to the idea of being persuaded out of their pov. You’re coming across as someone rigidly fixed in debate mode. And you’re acting like a bit of a dick.

          Your “defense options” at this point are as follows:

          1. Maintain your combative spirit.
          2. Relax a little bit and no longer treat George and others with whom you disagree as evil creatures.

          • Irrational Actor says

            I didn’t see this comment of yours until just now Evander, I will just address it quickly since it has been mostly answered further below.

            “I’ll take care of this one, boys.” This is disingenuous; not all of the ‘boys’ (or girls) agree with George’s tactics.

            One only needs to spend a few minutes reading through George’s comments here to see him in a clearer light. I ‘judged’ his intelligence on far more than one comment alone. I hope this answers your claim of my first ‘fallacy’ effectively.

            As for the second, you are right. I was leaving him no place for what most of us would be the actual path we would take – to admit the misreading. I left him nowhere to go, and this was unfair.

            As for my defense options, you have characterised me unfairly. I have treated no others as evil creatures, and I routinely debate very politely with people (such as yourself) here and elsewhere, and will continue to do so. George has been an unfortunate exception, and as he comes to us with the ingratiating style of the regressive identitarians, there is some chance I will maintain my combative spirit with him.

  49. Robert Franklin says

    This has nothing to do with “offense” or sexual harassment or any of the other red herrings. It’s about power. It’s about giving women power over men.

  50. Why must a speaker always be concerned about offending ANYBODY who may hear it? That’s not possible, as shown in this story because some thought it funny and others thought it offensive to speak entirely normal, well-known words that are not pejorative.
    It seems that when a listener presses charges against your words, that’s an actual real offense that should be shot down and not tolerated.

  51. Dr. Jay says

    Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

  52. Perhaps you were in fact going to “Women’s Lingerie” to purchase a gift for your significant other?

  53. Tome708 says

    I agree in how absolutely ridiculous this situation is. It seems by his language however that he has long supported these types of allegations against the “other” men. It is always obvious when they appeal to their previous loyalties to the ideology that is now attacking them. (IE Brent Weinstein). All too ready to go after the “other” as soon as their “unjust” accusations are dismissed.

  54. Rusty says

    “Like you, I am strongly opposed to the exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women.”

    There’s the problem. The exploitation, coercion and humiliation of women appear to be the goals of modern feminism.

    • Caroline Bronstring says

      No. Absolutely not. What sééms to be their goal is that everyone is to tiptoe around their personal insecurities so as not to offend them but who knows, mentioning chocolate could be offensive because they might suffer from PMS at the moment.

  55. Jan de Jong says

    I find this article completely appropriate.
    I’m glad I can make silly jokes to my heart’s content, not having a reputation to be concerned about. It’s clearly all about power and virtue signaling.
    Does Professor Sir Tim Hunt have his job back yet?

    • Hal Armstrong says

      Tim Hunt…’ah yes, like many a male academic scientist I read that and tried to recall a female graduate student that hadn’t cried in my office (couldn’t) or a male student who had (couldn’t).

  56. Tome708 says

    @claire’s landing strip,
    Does she know what a landing strip is? It is very inappropriate

    • I confess that I also wondered about the significance of the name “claire’s landing strip.” However, I’m too much of a gentleman to bring it up.

  57. What seems funny is that by commenting “Ladies Lingerie”, I’m reminded of the British series “Are you being Served” that took place in a fictional British department-store. The majority of the series takes place of floor shared by the Mens Wear department, and Ladies Intimate Apparel. Much of the humour coming from the situation of Gents being able to buy suits on the same floor as women purchase their undergarments and “LINGERIE”. This show aired in the Uk, Canada, the US, Australia, etc. It aired in the 70,s to the 80’s and was even revival in 2016.

    • Some on the left recently went after Mel Brooks in regards to Blazing Saddles, they completely missed the point of the movie. It was the same as the removal of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer from schools and the condemnation of Mark Twain in general. They seem incapable of understanding how humor and satire can be utilized to ridicule bigotry.

    • sestamibi says

      I don’t know how Grace Bros. survived since it seemed there were never any customers in the store.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        I always assumed that the Grace family was obscenely wealthy, and that the store existed simply to create losses as some sort of tax dodge. 🙂

  58. C. Bronstring says

    I just read the article (somewhat). These women nowadays have no fucking clue what sexual harassment means to be honest. I was once told, when telling a male co-worker that he should work on his coping mechanisms (because he was obviously stressed out over nothing) : “No you just need to suck my dick”. THAT is sexual harrassment and I wouldn’t even go so far as to call thát particular instance sexual harassment, just a male dickhead who couldn’t get his priorties/responsebilitys straight.

    Lingery department. Seriously?!?!?!?!?! THAT is supposedly sexual harrasment?!?!?!?!?! What the fuck are today’s socalled feminist on about???? Personal insecurity’s about sex????

    Gha!

  59. charlesborner says

    So, offense and meaning can only be assigned by the person taking offense?
    What a crock…
    Basically all this does is lead to Professionally Offended People.
    You could simply say “Hi!”, and they’d be “I’M OFFENDED!”
    And because THEY are the ones who get to define context, YOU are screwed.

    Sorry, no. Just NO.
    Context is defined by the person making the remark.
    If someone wishes to assign OTHER contexts to said remark, that’s THEIR problem.
    But it’s not the speaker’s fault if someone else wants to manufacture artificial offense.

    • Aerth says

      That’s why the sooner SJWs and Leftists are back where they belong (dumpster of history), the better.

    • George says

      Yeah, Charles, you have a good point: intention does matter, yet, its the ISA that handled this poorly, I think. I don’t think its Sharoni who did. She can be mad about it if she wants to be. I don’t know why so many commenters targets her instead of the decision-making entity (ISA) here. …maybe its misogyny?? Doesn’t the propensity to target her point to something worth examining?

      • Irrational Actor says

        Remember that everyone – if you criticise a person who makes a ridiculous accusation and that person happens to be female (which is only a social construct anyway), then you are a misogynist.

        Aren’t we ever so lucky that the ISA representative was male (also a social construct but thankfully one that does not qualify for victimhood status), or else there could be no criticism at all?

        George – thank you for using a male-typical name on here. Very decent of you to allow us to debate you without further accusations of misogyny, although I am sure you can drag up some anti heterosexual white male discrimination to hurl at any of us who dare to point out any of the various flaws in your thinly-disguised ideology.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        > I don’t know why so many commenters targets her instead of the decision-making entity (ISA) here. …maybe its misogyny??

        Or maybe it’s because she is a reprehensible totalitarian.

      • Don’t repeat here the point that has been made yesterday already, with exactly the same words, otherwise, this piece could end up with more than 500 comments, iso the 260 it has now already.

  60. Rogaldo Winthrope says

    Here’s an irony. Sharoni has a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.

      • Doctor Locketopus says

        Or maybe it’s a useless pseudo-degree in a made-up pseudo-academic discipline.

        I know where I’d put my money.

      • Irrational Actor says

        Ah George, the appeal to authority – nice work. It certainly appears she knows what she is doing doesn’t it? Handled this one like a consummate professional. I can see why you support her, nothing to do with her being strongly aligned with your regressive team, I’m sure….

  61. mark abrams says

    What a pitiful and vile little creature this baloney “professor” Salomi is. Her parents took her from the ex-communist paradise of Romania when she was a small child to Israel. HAting the country that gave her parents refuge she became an Israel hating leftists moron and emigrated to the United States where she could more safely hate Israel, capitalism, men, reason and reality, at which she has spent her entire career. To expect such a person to have any sense of humor, compassion or tolerance is to misunderstand the bitter, hate filled personality of the 3rd wave feminist. If ladies lingerie is a hateful phrase, is ladies underwear as hateful too? How about women’s underwear? Women’s lingerie? Men’s lingerie? Men’s underwear ? What is the offensive word ? Is the object offensive or just the word? Is offensive to mention objects which are common in our world and are publicly displayed, bought and sold. Why in is the phrase or object women’s lingerie more objectionable than women’s deodorant or tampons? These words and phrases are in common use, especially commercially. Online shopping sites use them and recognize them. They are not incitements to violence. As such attempting to damage an individual for using common phrases is a clear violation of that individual’s first amendment civil rights. The DOJ should stop watching the gradual piecemeal destruction of free speech in this country and prosecute both the ISA and phoney-baloney “professor” Salomi. as an example to bed-wetting bitter spinster bed wetters and pusillanimous organization of ninnies everywhere.

    • Indeed, more than anything else she is a pityful creature, who knows what she has suffered as a child in Ceaucescu’s Romania, and in Israel ?, did she get proper psychiatric help??, I wouldn’t take her reactions and behaviour too evil. The problem here is the organisation and superiors of that ISA, because they decided about the steps taken, and about what happened later.

    • Ladies Laundry says

      A bed-wetting bed wetter? Is there any other kind?

    • George says

      Woah, Mark, read a little history, dude, and check your outrage. What are you so mad about?

  62. I’m pretty sure that if you’d just said “oh I can see how that’d be offensive, my bad – in the US ‘Ladies’ Laungerie is just a ridiculous non-sequitur, didn’t mean anything by it” without following with “aren’t your complaints really ridiculous and aren’t you hurting women by making them”, you would’ve been fine.

    Maybe not, maybe she or someone else would’ve taken offense later on that something misconstruable as normalizing sexual perversion against women is common humor – but that would’ve obviously put them at odds with society in general (meaning you wouldn’t have to really defend yourself) and would’ve been an opportunity for open dialogue.

    The problem isn’t hypersensitivity one way or another, I think that joke is still funny, the problem is that using an apology as an opportunity to hedge and soapbox just makes you an ass. You felt attacked and you came out swinging and it really isn’t great for anyone.

    • Irrational Actor says

      @ WW,

      It seems your comment is written as though the grievance studies prof had simply complained to him in person at the time of the joke, in which case your suggestion is at least potentially valid. However, the fact that this was taken straight to the organisers by her negates such an approach, and a strong push back is warranted.

  63. Aerth says

    More Leftists’ lunacy and behavior they encourage and talking to other human (especially one that represents a minority) will be harder than solving triple integral.

  64. ISA members should immediately tear up their membership and send the remains to its stupid officers.

  65. Fernando Barreto says

    Professor Simona Sharoni hasn´t had a decent orgasm in more than 37 years. If ever. That´s all there is to know about this issue.

  66. Andrew Leonard says

    Does the ISA have a list of offensive terms and phrases, or are they working from a public list?
    If neither, I would suggest requesting that such a list be produced and made publicly available, so that we all know where we stand.
    In future, any claim of offensive language use could either be backed up by referring to said list, or countered with “Is that written down somewhere?”

    A key element of any civilization is its processes of formalization – anything important is formalized and the formalizations are represented as text.

    The ethics and executive committees found me guilty of using a phrase they described as “inappropriate and offensive.”

    This represents an arbitrary mixing of the formal with the informal. The mixing itself represents a lack of accountability. How does civilization deal with a lack of accountability in regards to individuals or private groups, in general? For example, what procedures are in place to deal with breaches of contract? The answer is that when private parties cannot resolve disputes amongst themselves, the issue becomes a matter for the state.

    So I would suggest that there is a role for the state in situations like that covered in this article. State involvement could not be so biased as to use one of the two parties definitions of “inappropriate and offensive”, unless the parties had a private agreement that indicated which words and phases were not acceptable to use. Absent this agreement, the options would be to refer to the states own definition and enumeration of unacceptable utterings, or dismiss the case.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Andrew Leonard

      I agree that very formal rules are required given the current professional climate. There is way too much vagueness and a million different personal interpretations about what is appropriate and inappropriate. Strict formalization of office codes of conduct would theoretically reduce the frequency of cases like this one. Of course this would also contribute to making work environments more somber and oppressive, but that appears to be the goal anyway, so we might as well be clear about it.

      • Andrew Leonard says

        @Asenath Waite

        By demanding formalization, the activists would be placed in an impossible situation. Why? Because it is impossible to formalize that which is subjective. One of the key differences between the objective and subjective worlds, is that the former is finite, the later infinite (so I guess the universe is subjective).

        The subjectivity of offensive language is the key to the activists power. However, we cannot have a society in which individuals or private groups can threaten, intimidate and punish individuals for non-work related incidents, based on the private and subjective “standards” of said individuals and groups.

        To allow such behavior to go unchecked is tantamount to allowing quasi-governments to exist. There are some things only governments and their various arms should be able to do, such as policing the streets. That, by the way, is why most countries have very strict gun laws.

  67. Interesting. I am sympathetic to your take. I have to say though that you’re giving the n word example and then the incongruous and spelled out “dumb bitches” read to me like a way to call her such without her or them being able to claim you intended to do so. As the saying goes, you were too cute by half there.

  68. Before closing my PC, I googled- Sharoni Ladies Lingeries-, and strongly advise Quillette commenters to do so too, there we see our professor, in black/purple as above, in between some ravissant ladies lingeries, PLUS enchanting ladies, in latex black mini skirt, and sided by retro chic full cup bra, all white, and all sexy. I close now, and go look for my bed.

  69. In poor taste at the least, but with your added defense, indicative of dementia onset.

  70. Marg Henry says

    This is absurd. I am a 63 year old female. I have often made the very same joke!
    Marg Henry

    • Avid Reader says

      Unfair to cats! I have 3 and they are pretty and playful.when they are mad at me they communicate their displeasure face to face and immediately. Then within half an hour I am forgiven. Rather a cat than a Grievance Professor any day

  71. John Ashton says

    “What can men do against such mindless hate?”

    Theoden – Lord of the Rings

      • John Ashton says

        “For death and glory”

        (but it should have been “reckless hate”

        • Evander says

          “Look to my coming, at first light, on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East.”

          A sublime moment in the film.

          I don’t mean to trigger the atheists, but I think part of LoTR’s resonance for me was that Tolkien’s universe was globally moral. Right and wrong were so plainly demarcated. Applauding the loyalty of Sam, wincing at the sin of Boromir, then weeping at his redemptive defense of the Hobbits, etc. only possible because of transcendent standards.

          Incidentally, this is partly why I think JBP is so popular today: he promulgates the doctrine of sin in different words. He says the world sucks, society sucks, others suck, I suck, because – finite and flawed human nature. The only difference is redemption falls to the Individual and not Christ.

          • Asenath Waite says

            @Evander

            While not religious myself, I agree that that is a huge part of the appeal of Tolkien’s world. The idea that there is true good and true evil, rather than morality being some arbitrary concept, is comforting. It gives meaning to our actions. You also might have a point about Peterson.

  72. Ashley Squishy says

    In the article and entire subsequent discussion, only PFesser and Robert Franklin got it right.

    I recently read a discussion about “Fourth Wave Feminism”, defined as an undisguised aggressive power grab on the part of women. Men have to understand that there’s no compromise: either men rule or cunt rule, and we’d better take whatever measures necessary to perpetuate the former, or stuff like this will happen all the time–with far more adverse outcomes for men than just “censure” from an irrelevant academic organization.

    And while it was observed above that “the right not to be offended” results in the most sensitive individual shutting off free expression, no one noticed that the right not to be offended is not universally held, but held only by selected aggrieved groups. This is simply a reversal of the current power hierarchy. Again, to be resisted by any means necessary.

  73. Arnie Holdsworth says

    I’m an academic. I treat my female colleagues in a purely functionary way, and when I leave work for the day and mix again with real working class people, I go back to being a normal human being with women. And that means sexual banter, lewd jokes…whatever. I get it back double.

  74. George says

    I’m glad this website exists because these things need to be talked about, not squelched. However, lets not be reactionary. I mean, whatever; contribute as you like, but lets at least honestly call it what it is = reactionary. I read over these comments and there are plenty here that demonstrate exactly why Prof. Sharoni reacted as she did. So, yeah, I support her. However, it sounds like the ISA did a really poor job.

    As it is, this specific affair doesn’t seem complicated, rather it looks like it was mismanaged and got overblown. Boo on the ISA. Lets not take their bumbling response and extrapolate. Comments such as calling Sharoni a “grievance study professor,” [har-har] instead of what she actually teaches, or that she “hasn’t had a decent orgasm in more than 37 years,” [har-har] or those describing it all as “leftist lunacy” in themselves demonstrate why she chose to initiate a dispute in the first place. These jokes, jokes one encounters every day, aren’t edgy. They aren’t subversive of some leftist takeover. Instead, they are pretty boring, status quo. Yeah, yeah, yawn.

    In truth, if you’re a white heterosexual man you have a lot of room to walk around and say what you think and make jokes. Great, we should all have that latitude. Personally, I found the women’s lingerie joke kind of funny, given the context, and even not knowing the history I probably would have chuckled, but unfortunately if you’re not white and not a male and not straight, a lot of the jokes are aimed at you. One gets sick of it after a while and decides to say something about it. Outrage from the white male heterosexuals allllwaaaays ensues. Oh, they are so aggrieved, so put-out, that they may have to consider anyone outside themselves. If you prefer, please include said outrage in any replies to my comment if you wish, as a further demonstration that you don’t, and won’t get it.

    • Evander says

      @George

      Thanks for your non-reactionary condescension.

      I agree, people have been saying stupid, derogatory things about Sharoni. But those comments come firstly from genuine indignation at her actions, and secondly from tribalistic outrage. There have been plenty of intelligent responses.

      “As it is, this specific affair doesn’t seem complicated, rather it looks like it was mismanaged and got overblown.”

      No. She seized on an innocuous joke in an attempt to destroy a man’s academic standing. The ISA were complicit but not the original culprits.

      “Outrage from the white male heterosexuals allllwaaaays ensues. Oh, they are so aggrieved, so put-out, that they may have to consider anyone outside themselves.”

      What’s wrong with outrage? People feel indignant about injustice. That’s what’s being argued here: that the male professor was wronged.

      “If you prefer, please include said outrage in any replies to my comment if you wish, as a further demonstration that you don’t, and won’t get it.”

      Here’s my prediction: you’re beside yourself with joy waiting for commenters to respond to your baited post. You probably won’t respond, especially when they rationally point out how you’ve been a dick, for fear of confronting an argument not built by using a dogmatic tool kit, such as the ‘white male heterosexuals act out of bloc-interest’ line.

      So, if you prefer, smugly read my comment and don’t reply as a further demonstration that your opinions aren’t your own and that you can’t defend them when occasion demands.

      • George says

        I truly don’t mind conversation, Evander, as long as its productive. So, I apologize if my passion comes across as condescension or whatnot. My comment about expected responses was intended to lessen the likelihood that I would have to waste my time with bull from people who didn’t actually want to think.

        If you don’t mind a circuitous anecdote, I’ll say this – I grew up in evangelical-land USA. I grew up with a lot of stuff about how it was all about Jesus and how we should also blow NYC off the map because it was a den of Satan. Lets forget how many Christians live there, etc. and all that ignorance. NYC of course was a big place, unvisited, terrifying, threatening (I don’t, btw, have a problem with Christianity per-se. In fact, both of my parents are priests). How does this relate? I’m a straight white guy. I grew up a racist, misogynist, homophobe, etc. I didn’t even consider it because it was how things were. Every time a Feminist started talking the bile crawled up my throat. I had seriously violent thoughts at those moments. So, I recognize defensiveness, fight/flight when I see it. You can call me a convert though.

        There is a deep misunderstanding here, in this article, and in many comments. Yeah, there are intelligent responses in the comments. I never said to the contrary. Feel free to highlight any because I just skimmed. I’m a little skeptical about this whole Quillette project though. I see this movement to “question the lunacy of the left,” as just an unadventurous repeat of, for example, re-branding Feminsim as “Feminazisim.” Its all just a repeat, historically intended to shut down conversation, not open it up as it claims. None of this is new. I’ve commented here though because I think there is possibly something valuable. In short, there’s a lot of BS on the left. I look around me at my liberal neighbors and I see their dogma. Its a lot of BS. For example, should we have a list of potential triggers provided to us for every event we attend? The list goes on. Some on the radical right had a nearly reverse life experience than I did, grew up in liberal-town and got disgusted with the dogma. I don’t begrudge anyone that. Its all BS.

        However, and this is important, what’s not BS, not condescending, not whatever, is if you’re a woman who’s encountered act after act of violence, some large and sensitizing, some daily and, yes, triggering, a smug comment at the back of an elevator filled with men sounds a lot different than it was (maybe, maybe not) intended. Walk in those shoes. Further, I could easily see how having “dialogue” with the man who made it is a non-starter. Surely she knows all about microaggressions. She didn’t do anything wrong by lodging a complaint, and she did nothing wrong by rejecting his apology, whether it was genuine or half-genuine. The ISA, as an impartial arbiter, however, didn’t do its job well because it shut the whole thing down with an autocratic response. That’s my opinion. Its telling how many demonize her in this. Why jump to the conclusion that she was some evil witch out to destroy his career? If you’re willing to let down your guard, you’ve got to see the assumptions all over that. I don’t know the lady. Who knows what she was thinking? We certainly don’t. We can google, we can guess. I can only guess because this was a completely one-sided article, which makes me question what the objective of Quillette is.

        • Irrational Actor says

          George, you are much more transparent than you realise.

          In the same paragraph you wrote this:

          “I don’t know the lady. Who knows what she was thinking? We certainly don’t. We can google, we can guess.”

          You preceded it with this:

          “However, and this is important, what’s not BS, not condescending, not whatever, is if you’re a woman who’s encountered act after act of violence, some large and sensitizing, some daily and, yes, triggering, a smug comment at the back of an elevator filled with men sounds a lot different than it was (maybe, maybe not) intended. Walk in those shoes.”

          Can you see the problem? I hope I don’t need to further point out your overt hypocrisy and deeply flawed logic.

          All your regressive catch-phrasery and obscurantism cannot hide your lack of internal consistency, nor can it hide your adherence to the very ideologies that Quillette constantly exposes.

          I will grant you that there are many conservatives finding shelter here, however I think you should ask yourself why it is that there are also many from the classical liberal, evidence-based left who find it easier to converse with the conservatives here than with identity-politics focussed regressives like yourself. Those of us who want to treat everyone as equal are clearly not welcome to converse with the anti-reality identitarian club, who label dissenters as ‘heterosexual white males and their cronies’.

          But good try anyway George!

        • Many precious grains of truth I spot in your argueing George. And I sense the Christian upbringing. Alas, we live no longer in a time of dialogue and forgiveness, but in one of identity and suppression, so I fear your stretched out hand will not find another one to shake.

        • Evander says

          @George

          Thanks for your thorough response. I apologise for being sharp. My Australian upbringing makes me allergic to what I perceive to be anti-egalitarian sentiment.

          After I posted my response, I was reading through the comments and was sadly struck by the truth of your comment. Sometimes the person-position distinction gets collapsed and people just attack. Whenever I come across insufferable ad hominem staff, I tell the poster to hop over to Breitbart, not because the journalism sucks, though it is unabashedly rightwing, but because the commenters are so viciously partisan. Whatever Quillette is, I don’t want it to become that.

          As to this woman: you’re right, we don’t know her background or what she was thinking. And I think you’re also right about the failing of the ISA to do the right thing; that was a significant factor. That said, her mentality is the real problem. She participates in a collective perception of the world that is dangerous and harmful. I checked her Twitter feed and she was gung-ho #believesurvivors #believeallwomen. Sharoni shouldn’t be personally abused, but the way she thinks should be fiercely opposed.

          I appreciate your engagement, George.

    • Doctor Locketopus says

      Nah, brah. I’m coo’.

      I’ll stick with my “reactionary” Enlightenment ideals rather than the dimwitted (and endlessly recycled) Marxist heresies that pass for scholarship in much of the academy today.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @George

      “unfortunately if you’re not white and not a male and not straight, a lot of the jokes are aimed at you.”

      How was the guy’s joke “aimed at” anyone? The humor in the joke didn’t derive from any kind of disparagement of any party. And do you honestly believe that white heterosexual men “have a lot of room to walk around and say what [they] think and make jokes” in the current social climate?

  75. Ray Andrews says

    Ladies, Gentlemen:

    99% of the above are on the side of sanity. There’s little point in our expressing our outrage at each other, a better subject would be: what can we do to take back the academy?

    • Andrew Leonard says

      Education needs a radical rethink and overhaul.
      This should include matters such as:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_illiteracy
      • Massive left-wing bias and indoctrination issues
      • Who should pay: user versus taxpayer/government versus employer
      • Value issues: The case for versus the case against education https://quillette.com/2018/06/03/bryan-caplans-case-education-review/

      IMO, Credentialism and educational inflation can be partly constrained by moving the costs of higher education from students and their families, onto the students employing organizations. I’m not entirely comfortable with the concept of student debt. I think debt is something that ideally should be borne by profit centers – in other words by entities that are set up to deal with these sort of things – and not by individuals, especially young ones.

      Is it only black swan events like Sputnik that can force major change?

      • George says

        @ Andrew
        These are interesting ideas I’d be curious to hear more. Maybe this is a side issue but it is my understanding that student loans don’t serve students, only university business. Maybe loans served the first few students years ago, with the first few loans, but universities quickly upped their tuition to make up for the slack and the end result is just more debt for students. There’s no real discussion of that in our political class because dropping student loans seems like a non-starter with voters.

    • George says

      @ Ray,
      I disagree with your 99%. However, I agree the outrage is obfuscating the issues. Your question is good.

      I propose:
      1. We back off Sharoni or her future/past equivalent. All that, which constitutes the majority of the comments above, is off point and sends us into misogyny land. She’s entitled to her opinion as much as anyone, and she can complain to anyone she likes.

      2. We consider what would be a better response from the ISA, or whatever future equivalent. Personally, where I think they missed the mark was that they came down too heavy, like they got too drunk with their power. Their response was disproportionate. That being said, Lebow needed to be informed of the situation. In fact, it was generous to inform him. I’m struggling to envision a scenario, though, given his self-promoting article, where he wouldn’t have become outraged and blown it up himself. Its possible though that a low-key conversation would have sufficed. Then, if he indicated in that conversation that he may fixate on Sharoni as he clearly has, a note in his file should have sufficed, nothing official, but an flag to be examined in any future episode. Maybe that’s how censure is intended to work, but censure sounds larger than that.

      Basically, yeah, people should be able to make jokes but people are kidding themselves if they think that’s all that was going on here. It blew up partly due to ISA’s response but also Lebow’s own response.

  76. jezza says

    The femanarchy has me baffled and bewildered. Just what do they hope to achieve? I remember when equal pay was instigated on NSW railways. Until that happened station staff worked together cooperatively with the men going the extra yard to lift the heavier packages out of consideration for the women. After, the men’s response to the insistence on equal pay for equal work was, “You’re being paid the same as me, you lift it.” I saw a woman become visibly upset because she was no longer being treated like a lady. (This was back in the day when a gentleman offered his seat on public transport to a lady. That died, too,) I don’t think the female activists saw that coming But then, as the renowned Dutch philosopher Vaginismus once observed, “You don’t need a penis to be a dickhead.”

    • Can you explain that to me, Jezza? I don’t know any dutch philosopher named Vaginismus, only the female spasmic disorder named that way, and I wonder what the dutch translation for -dickhead- could be, I would love to hear so from you. Is it Eikel?

  77. Lincoln Dunstan says

    Americans have probably never heard of the British Tv series “Are You Being Served” The elevator joke is taken from that, as I understand. Quoted from Wikipedia below.

    Are You Being Served? is a British sitcom created and written by executive producer David Croft (Croft also directed some episodes), and Jeremy Lloyd with contributions from Michael Knowles and John Chapman, for the BBC.[2] Set in London, the show follows the misadventures and mishaps of the staff of the retail ladies’ and gentlemen’s clothing departments in the flagship department store of a fictional chain called Grace Brothers.

    The series was broadcast on the BBC for ten series, totalling 69 episodes between 8 November 1972 and 1 April 1985 – and included 5 Christmas specials. There was also a 1977 film, a spin-off series Grace & Favour with some of the same main cast in 1991–92, and a one-off episode with a new cast in 2016. Since its original release, all 69 episodes, the restored pilot, the Christmas specials, the sequel and the film have been released on DVD. Are You Being Served? was a great success in the UK and was also popular in three other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations (Canada, New Zealand, and Australia), and was successfully aired in The Netherlands and Belgium with Dutch subtitles. The show was also popular in Israel and in the United States, where it gained a loyal and enthusiastic following when PBS television stations began airing reruns of it in the mid-1980s, along with other British sitcoms. In 2004, it was ranked 20th in a television countdown of Britain’s Best Sitcom.[3] It is regularly repeated worldwide (BBC Two, Drama and Gold in the UK; PBS BBC America in the United States; and BBC UKTV, Fox Classics and 9Gem in Australia).

    • Indeed Lincoln, I loved it, with Dutch subtitles even (the Germans adapt by changing the sound, horrible), and, as I explained above, the misunderstandings between the continents seem to grow beyond proportions, the Brexit doesn’t come alone. I wonder whether there is any understanding for Catherine Deneuve and companions there, far away, oversea!

  78. Lincoln Dunstan says

    Another response to all this “brooha” would be to have a bonfire night, and burn all copies of “Are You Being Served?” Or alternatively we could have our entertainment on London Bridge and go watch a few dissenters be impaled and disemboweled. Now that would be fun!!

  79. James Storde says

    Something about this smells of a stunt, or a wind-up, by Lebow…

  80. Peter from Oz says

    Am I the only one to ask what the problem is here? Did the author of this article actually suffer any punishment? It seems that in the eyes of the world’s media he in fact won a stunning victory against the PC wankers. The censure by the ISA was a slap on the wrist. Sharon’s was made to look the perfect fool that she is.
    A great result.

    • Irrational Actor says

      I mostly agree with that Peter, but I would point out that it doesn’t need to be a ‘problem’ as such – particularly one with a bad ending – to be worthy of publication on Quillette. In fact we could do with some more good news here!

      But in this case I do think there are problems being discussed; they are the ridiculous complaint itself and the fact it was taken seriously by the ISA, and also the fact that this is still unresolved.

    • jimhaz says

      Attacks on integrity, for the innocent, as in this case, shock ones psyche.

      In one of Peterson’s videos there is a scene where a security fellow at a college is falsely accused by a SJW and the stunned, confused, hurt body language he had has stuck with me. Reputation is rather important for academics, and it is important for everyone not to be falsely accused of being offensive.

      • Peter from Oz says

        But surely the author’s reputation has been enhanced by the fact that Sharoni and ISA have acted so infamously.

  81. I laughed because you called her a “dumb bitch”. Nice way to sneak it in. I agree.

  82. Nakatomi Plaza says

    Quillette really needs to moderate the comments section. There are very often interesting and thought-provoking articles here worth reading, but the commenters too often do the site a huge disservice. The seething masochism and hypocrisy of far too many of the comments casts a terrible light on the site. This feels like it wants to break into a 4chan/white nationalist site with some of the comments. Moderate if you want to be taken seriously. That, or kill the comments section completely. It’s basically a big circle jerk anyway.

    • Evander says

      @Nakatomi

      Leave it to civil society. My go-to line is “Do you need me to post a link to Breitbart.” Insist on polite standards and civilly jeer fallacious thinking off the page.

    • George says

      @ Nakatomi
      I agree with your sentiment. I’m unsure of the solution.
      @ Evander
      I also appreciate that extreme POVs are allowed. In fact, it could be the most valuable aspect of this site. Even so, the vitriol seems too much for anyone to keep up with in real time. Its an inundation.

    • I strongly disagree: I’m glad that the comments here are largely unmoderated. Who decides what is an ‘appropriate’ comment? On what basis do they make that judgment? Free exchange of ideas, especially unconventional ones, requires free speech. Not all comments will be edifying or insightful, but that is the price of free speech. Don’t like a comment? Then just scroll on past.

      Heavy moderation is exactly how you turn this place into a group-thinking circlejerk. Go hang out on the reddit r/politics sub if that’s the sort of thing you want.

      • Appropriate or inappropriate, that’s the question, often. Bill Clinton knows more about that.

  83. Irrational Actor says

    And what would they need to do to make you happy Nakatomi, so that you could take the site ‘seriously’?

    I see occasional comments that are racist / sexist, probably equally from the regressive left and the religious right. But for the most part it is thoughtful discussion, and even if I disagree with commenters here they are usually very good at lively and (mostly) polite debate.

    So I am wondering if perhaps you disagree with most of the comments here because you are quite far from the centre, so to speak?

    • George says

      @ Irrational
      You are a source of a lot of the splooge if you hadn’t noticed. I’m not concerned with whether you like my comments or not, but you have a nasty habit of creating straw men or sending the conversation out into left field with competitive, non-reflective responses. These habits, not your opinions which are welcome, detract from the level of discourse.

      • @George
        I have a solution for you: when you see a comment by ‘Irrational Actor’ just keep scrolling until you get to the next comment. It’s not that hard.

        • Evander says

          @M

          We’re not at that stage yet, M. As you said above, this is different to heavily moderated places; there’s free thought.

          I think we need to be vigilant in engaging civilly with one another and lightly jeering at crap reasoning and puerile postage. That way it sets a norm for others to follow. Of course, there’ll always be buttheads. But I want to create a dangerous space for buttheads where they wince at the thought of receiving a firm smack to the cheek for pooping out fallacy or ad hom.

          • @Evander
            Fair enough, and perhaps not a bad idea: the antidote to bad speech is better speech. And I apologise @George for the sharpness of my earlier comment, it was uncalled for. I guess I see comment moderation as a very slippery slope. Just look at what is happening on Twitter, with their recent ‘no misgendering or deadnaming’ and ‘no dehumanising’ policies.

            Even ‘reasonable’ prohibitions on things like uncivil speech quickly become a tool of biased moderation, where the rules are selectively enforced against those the moderators disagree with. I’m not even sure if that sort of thing is deliberate, but it happens and it shifts the conversation so that it aligns with the (perhaps unconscious) biases of those doing the moderating.

            I like the free-wheeling nature of the discussion here. Yes, it means we have to put up with some poorly reasoned and uncivil comments from time to time. But I think that’s a small price well worth paying.

    • Evander says

      @Irrational Actor

      I think you’re seeing red everywhere and that you need to calm down.

      From above: “Do keep posting though please George, I look forward to your ideas being exposed at the same rate as your racism, sexism and bigotry.”

      Can you substantiate the claim that George is racist, sexist and bigoted, or do you automatically apply labels to those you deem opponents?

      I’m guessing you’re an intelligent guy but you treat people with a lot of suspicion and not much charity.

      • Evander says

        @M

        It’s the civil discourse revolution.

        @Everybody, here’s some Socrates 4 yo inspa:

        If the person asking me a question was fond of contentious argument, I would say to him, ‘Here’s my point. If it’s wrong, your job is to examine it and disprove it.’ But if he and I were friends, as you and I are now, and we chose to have a dialogue together, then we would need to exchange opinions more gently and more mutually (lit. more dialectically). And I suppose that the more mutual way of conversation is not only to respond truthfully, but to do so using terms whose meanings you and your dialogue-partner have agreed upon. Now this is how I’ll try to speak with you.

        Socrates in Meno by Plato, 75γ – 75δ

        Let’s opt for Dialogue Mode 2: friendly discourse.

      • Irrational Actor says

        Happy to elaborate for you Evander.

        Firstly, contrary to the framing, I agree with most of the comments here regarding this article. I think that can be seen from the position I take, so I am far from seeing red everywhere.

        To address your comment, in actual fact I treat people very fairly, and on how they present themselves and their arguments. Perhaps you did not notice, but my suspicion has been limited to only one commenter here out of hundreds; George.

        I can indeed substantiate that George is displaying racism, sexism, and bigotry: He has asserted that the majority of commenters here are “heterosexual white males and their sycophants”, used this as an attack on their respective arguments, and has further implied many times that they are misogynists for holding different views to him. He and I were both late to the comment party, I am sure many other commenters will agree with this assessment if he behaves similarly in future. If he had simply countered the arguments fairly and without bigotry, I would have responded in kind as I am sure others would too. Perhaps he will learn from this.

        To go momentarily way off topic, I can see why you may think I am an enemy of sorts, since I defended a comment above that likened the regressive left ideology to Evangelism, and which you took exception to due to your religious views. To be clear, I was defending the ideological similarity, but I did not claim that you yourself were an ideologue, and nor do I claim that now.

        We are perhaps more like debate opponents than outright enemies of any sort, because although I am not religious I do acknowledge those who are religious and who also value the separation of church and state. It may or may not be the case that you are not fond of the non-religious, but as long as you can debate them without a priori disdain or dismissal then we have no problem there. I realise that George appealed to your religious sensibilities with his background story, but I credit you with not allowing that to colour your view of his identity politics agenda.

        This article is now old and the comments should probably be closed, so I am really just replying to you here, not trying to re-open comments about the article itself.

        • Evander says

          @Irrational Actor

          Thanks for your reply.

          By ‘seeing red’ I meant that you mixed in with your criticisms of George’s position, pejorative titles such as regressive, authoritarian, comrade, ableist (sarcastically), ideologue, as well as insisting that he keep posting so that he is seen to be X, Y, Z, Quillette can’t be accused of being an echo-chamber etc. That struck me as buttheadish.

          Yeah, a comment was made about heterosexual white men being irrationally outraged. I went at him hard for that. But that doesn’t constitute racism in any meaningful sense for me. I thought it was lazy and slightly baiting. As for sexist and bigoted: he’s pointed out that misogyny might underlie the animus directed at Sharoni. I think he’s wrong here. It’s more that people are venting their angry emotions at her in ad hominem comments because they don’t like her ideology. Still, she and not her ideology, have been too often targeted.

          I don’t think you’re an enemy for supporting what I perceived to be a swipe at evangelicals. atm I’m still waiting to hear back from the poster about what he means. I took him to be inferring that evangelicals are fanatical dogmatists for holding, e.g., a pro-life view, which I do, which I would have argued is an inapt comparison.

          I like to think of people as dialogue-partners. I don’t give a stuff who anyone is but if they bring their bat and ball and want to converse, I’m up for it. George appealed to me firstly through his tone, not background story. I’m not automatically mates with someone because they are members of group X. He’s trying to read against the grain of the majority’s reading, and I respect that. I disagree with some of his thoughts, but it’s prompted me to reconsider the article.

          Thanks once again for your reply!

          • Irrational Actor says

            Well Evander the good news is we agree more on other things than we do on the subject of George. I think he is much more sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, and regressive than you realise. But, you and I are able to debate that with civility.

            I am sure we will cross paths a fair bit on here, so please rest assured that you and the vast bulk of commenters will not attract my attention in the same way George has. You, and most here, strike me as decent honest people with views that are sometimes similar and sometimes disimilar to mine, and therefore I converse as politely as the next person in such company.

          • George says

            @ Irrational
            You know, for some odd reason I can’t reply to your reply, probably some glitch, but I think it worth replying, even though I agree the article is dead. The benefit of that is we aren’t playing for much of an audience at this point.

            I probably won’t post here much, who knows. The drama’s a bit intense. However, if you are indeed not just an antagonist, I’d suggest taking a step back before reading on. It seems to me that you have a lot of pride in your writing. Believe it or not, I’m not saying that to stoke you up. I’m also an arrogant ass. Its a personality thing. I can tell you you’ve got me pegged wrong, take me on my word or not, but you strike me as someone who needs an enemy of some kind, at least one, to drive you forward. Again, I don’t really care how you feel about me but the way I see it, I gave you and what I saw as the predominant narrative developing here pushback. I wasn’t the only one, but there weren’t many up above. I’ll concede, no problem, that I can get hot with the rhetoric. You know, I’m happy to apologize for that if I think I’m talking to someone who won’t just walk away from the conversation dusting off their hands thinking they’ve vanquished some imagined foe. I don’t want to participate in a debate (and I don’t think many do) when a debate partner is looking to win, instead of looking to question.

            If you want to move this topic, and its type, forward, you’ve got to acknowledge the systematic problems people in the position of Sharoni (as I understand it but that’s my hypothesis) face. Maybe that’s your and my only real disagreement. We both suspect she’s got an axe to grind but maybe we see different axes. I’ll be open and say my axe comes from the fact that my first life experiences were of sexual abuse, from a neighbor, who also abused my sister (much more extensively, and in addition to the 5 other adult men who abused her), and he did it in part because he thought it was normal because my own brother sexually abused him. My brother thought it was normal because he was being sexually abused by another neighbor who was also…….etc, etc, etc. So, that, quite specific formative experience complicated my relationship to my own sexuality, typical male sexual aggression, and male arrogance, justification, boorishness, etc. When I was young I bought into the whole status quo notion of what manliness meant in my small world, as I described above, etc. In short, I’ve got my own emotional burdens that I swing into these topics, and if you have the privilege of not having to carry those burdens, great, better that way, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge their power and relevancy.

            Granted, my writing style here and in general is somewhat discursive, which may make you distrust my motions if that’s not how you think. Why assume they are therefore sinister? I learn things all the time. We all have to self-reflect.

            Incidentally, I still stand by the spirit of my white male hetero comment because I think there’s a valuable critique in it. You’re welcome to disagree. I stand by it because in my brief life experience, straight white men, at least in the US, are the least likely to have to face a reckoning with their worldview. Its not inherently because of their race, nor their gender, nor their sexuality, but because in movie after movie, book after book…comment section after comment section, their primacy is buttressed. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for such men who don’t like it when they don’t get what they expect to get.

          • @Evander
            If you thought I was attacking Christians for being pro-life you are projecting. I myself am an Evangelical Lutheran, what I was satirizing was more the caricature that many have made of Evangelicals. However, there is a certain strain of evangelism, that like any fundamentalism (note I am note stating all Evangelicals are fundamentalist), takes it to far. These are the ones who shoot abortion doctors (though it is admittedly rare) or try and run businesses out of existence because they disagree with the morals of the business. Or these are the ones who quote Leviticus (selectively) in regards to homosexuality with out referencing Jesus’ teachings on judgement (John 8:7) and worrying about our own sins (Matthew 7:5). To me these kinds of evangelicals give others of us who profess the faith a bad name. They are no better then the Pharisee or Sanhedrin that Jesus resisted.
            I was also trying to be a bit ironic in that one of the charges that progressives love to throw is how puritanical or Victorian (or scared of sex) evangelicals are. However, as we can see in 3rd and 4th way feminism, they are the ones becoming the least tolerant towards any sexual behavior or utterance.

    • Evander says

      George, I’m really sorry to hear about your and your family network’s awful experiences of abuse. I hope you’ve been able to get the support you need, move past it as best you can, and are now in a far better place. Rising above that takes guts, maturity and a lot of heart.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue. Keep pushing back on consensus. Everyone is the better for it.

      • George says

        @ Evander
        I appreciate your sentiment, truly, but, no offense, I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m trying to drive home a point. I’m talking about Sharoni through allegory. When my sister finally admitted to herself and others that she’d been abused and that it was not normal, at the age of maybe 28, I don’t remember, she was understandably upset. PTSD set in, for good reason. She was sitting in a cafeteria one day and some dude came over all jocular and put his hand on her shoulder in a flirty way. She immediately turned around and punched him in the face. Why? Surely that would be his question, and apparently for many in this comments section.

        As she relayed to me and as I frankly understood immediately, she nailed him because she saw his flirtation was one of possession, as though its attractive to say, “Hey, baby, I could own you, wink wink” It was a small gesture. He may not have thought much of it, who knows. It may have even felt natural to him. She didn’t care to explain her response to him and felt her communication was sufficient. That’s how I view Sharoni. Its my choice. One can choose to view her as sinister instead, but come on, Occams razor – I think you’re being willfully ignorant of the real world if you do.

        • Moving, this confession in the end of George, reads like a denouement, little bit like the final episode with Nastassja Kinski in Wenders road movie “Paris, Texas”, with the 300+ other comments as the sinister desert scenes and long trek to Paris.
          Am I too romantic? Anyhow, I also believe post traumatic affections may play their role in the Lebow/ Sharoni drama, I hinted twice at this possibility here; without considering the traumatic past, it is difficult to properly judge persons and their reactions/behaviour.

          • George says

            Thanks Dirk, I’d not seen that until you recommended. Magnificent movie.
            Harry Dean Stanton’s aspect reminds me a lot of Francois Leterrier in Bresson’s “A Man Escaped.”

  84. Maharito says

    When a person insists that their being offended matters by an action more than the intent or categorical understanding of context of the action, that person is abdicating the responsibility we all have to learn from our mistakes and consider that we may have had nothing to be offended about in the first place–which, since this world is not actually full of the trolls and truth-abusers such people routinely project, is much more often than not the case.

  85. Maharito says

    When a person insists that their being offended by an action matters more than the intent or categorical understanding of context of the action, that person is abdicating the responsibility we all have to learn from our mistakes and consider that we may have had nothing to be offended about in the first place–which, since this world is not actually full of the trolls and truth-abusers such people routinely project, is much more often than not the case.

  86. Hilarius says

    Poor Ms Simona Sharoni !

    She is now getting in full face the Streisand Effect, her Inquisition move uncovered her stupidity, acidity and gross infatuity, carefully masked by her professional “specialty”…
    And …followed by Mark something, head of ISA, who most probably :
    1- had a hot night with her
    2- wanted a hot night with her..
    He would otherwise have let down this ridiculous complaint..

    See what Catherine Deneuve said about this : I want the right to be importuned by men,
    Obviously Ms Simona Sharoni is probably not importuned by men in the same way..

    • A hot night with professor lemonsucking Sharoni, Hilarious? That’s hilarious, but what’s wrong with you to have such lukewarm fantasies?

    • Evander says

      “And …followed by Mark something, head of ISA, who most probably :
      1- had a hot night with her
      2- wanted a hot night with her..
      He would otherwise have let down this ridiculous complaint..”

      Please head over to https://www.breitbart.com/ to keep making your valuable contributions.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Evander
        One day, you will realise that the truly sophisticated and cultivated person is one who can rise above the serious and prick the pomposity of the fatuous psuedo-intellectual humbugger like Sharoni and the ISA prudes.

        • Evander says

          I skewer with the best of them, compatriot.

          Sharoni strikes me as partisan activist, rather than serious intellectual. That’s why she’s tweeting #believeallwomen, an anti-ancient liberty stance, and seeking the ruin of other academics for what are non-crimes.

          But the ideology that has shaped her mentality is the problem. Target that.

          The problem here is that people are clogging btl with gronk comments about how ugly, sourfaced, sexually-driven, etc she is. I don’t want that here.

          That’s not pricking any pomposity; that’s engaging in puerile bellicosity with zero intellectual substance. Go read Hilarius’ comment again.

          I don’t know, maybe I’m too serious a secular adherent of Charles Spurgeon’s dictum, ‘Brethren, weigh your sermons.’ That is, do they have any weight?

          “One day, you will realise that the truly sophisticated and cultivated person is one who can rise above the serious and prick the pomposity…”

          Yeah, that’s probably one characteristic. Another is not repeating what every other man and his dog have been posting: deadboring ad hominem.

          Stem the venom and develop the critique.

  87. r neville says

    In the face this moral malignancy it’s past time to bring back dueling. Let’s see just how offended or arbitrary someone is knowing they may be staking their life on it.

    By making it easy to attack anyone with impunity we encourage frivolity and reward base villainy over the virtues of understanding, tolerance and forgiveness.

    Is it any wonder in a world where the vilest actions carry no consequences, truth has lost all meaning?

    • What that dueIing concerns: I don’t remember where I came across it, but reading article and comments I repeatedly thought about the categorising of cultures in honour cultures and recognition cultures. Before, where authorities were not yet strict and whereever present (as in 19th century Europe and in rural areas now in Latin America, Balkan and Middle East), honour and dueling was what people kept striving and living for. You fought it out with one another (but often with secondants). Now, you stop relating to one another immediately, or after some trifle, and step to the authorities to get your (imagined) rights and justice. The case here, of course, is a splendid exampe of the latter. Recognition, thus, no more dueling and personal relating.

  88. José Carlos Andrade says

    Sense of humour is a sign of Intelligence. As Intelligence is rare in the world, so is Sense of Humour. All the rest is for them that have nothing more important to be occupied with.

  89. Pingback: Prof Claims a Lame Joke Has Endangered His Career

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  91. Stephenitisok says

    Imagine receiving instructions from a international ‘professional’ association to apologise, and, in addition, censured for calling out (jokingly) in a crowded lift “ladies lingerie” as the ascending lift stopped at one of the floors.

    We are truly living in worrying times.

  92. Pingback: Prof Claims a Lame Joke Has Endangered His Career | TrumpsMinutemen

  93. Anton says

    Is this for real? If it is its so pathetic, she’s definitely missing out on the good stuff. Barring political agendas this is something only a plain neurotic woman would do.. Poor, b

  94. John Dawson says

    You have performed such a valuable service Professor Lebow, in such an exemplary manner, that it may be churlish of me to quibble – but I will, regarding your statement that:-

    “why this censure is so inappropriate given my lifelong support for women in the profession.”

    I’m sure you agree that had you been a male chauvinist pig from way back, and had said the exact same words in the exact same manner, the incident should have been judged equally innocent, and the censure equally egregious.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Great point.
      Prof Lebow really shouldn’t have used the ”some of my best friends are gay” defence. He should have merely explained that the whole thing was ridiculous.
      In fact he had grounds to make a counter-complaint against Sharoni for trying to damage the reputation of a fellow scholar without reason.
      These SJW types sometimes need to be treated with the utter disdain that they deserve.
      Fortunately in this case, Professor Lebow won the day through his reasonableness. Professor Sharoni and ISA are the ones facing the opprobrium.

      • Irrational Actor says

        Just when I thought I had finished commenting on this one, you bring me back Peter.

        I agree with every point you make there.

  95. Sydney says

    Everyone’s seen London
    And everyone’s seen France
    And everyone (except the neo-Marxist/Stalinist/Maoist grievance workers)
    has now seen Simona Sharoni PhD’s underpants

    • I would call this lame poetry Sydney!! Had a stormy weekend?

  96. Some psychology, from the afficionado. I wonder whether it was the joke, or the laughter afterwards from the “buddies” (Sharoni’s framing, it would have been interesting to have checked, hidden camera? how many really laughed, all of them? or just a few?).
    The professor was “literally shaking” she mailed the president, that’s quite possible in such circumstances, what were her child experiences, long ago, on the play grounds? Pestered often? Funny, also prof. Lebow came with claustrophobic emotions bothering him, maybe Simona felt something similar? And both for quite different reasons? We have a horror movie, made here in the NLs, named ” For God’s sake, take the stairs” (and not the elevator, keep out, it’s dangerous!).

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  98. Sydney says

    I understand that someone felt that my “London-France-Underpants” poem was “lame,” which makes me fearful for my poetry career (which supports me as well as my 10-year-old bra). I hope nobody reports me or lodges a formal complaint.

    However, I don’t know why anyone would get their panties in a bunch over something so inconsequential. I think they’d be a boob to do so. And I don’t want to be a prick, either.

    Solution: A certain Professor Simona Sharoni, PhD is a certified expert in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Maybe we could work it out with this expert professional. [That’s what she said…]

    • @Sydney,

      Since online conversations lack the 93% of communication that is non-verbal, i just wanted to say i was smiling and chuckling at your post. I took it as a commentary on how childish the behavior observed here from Prof Sharoni and her enablers really is.

      • Sydney says

        Kind thanks, Alex!

        Indeed! And in today’s climate I fully expect that if heard on the schoolyard, that the old, ‘I see London, I see France,’ children’s rhyme would be met with heavy elementary-school administrative censorship and scolding. I expect ‘diversity experts,’ counselors, and parents would be called in to deal with such an issue. Not joking (I have kids in schools). #LadiesLingerie #totalitarianism

        • Funny, the history repeats itself, because, not having had an Anglosaxon education and childhood, I didn,t know the children’s rhyme. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have called it lame poetry. How often, I now think, misunderstandings and quarrels (if not more serious) are due to not being from the same culture/upbringing/childhood??

  99. In current day Western world the avoidance of responsibility seems to permeate many an aspect of society, in a plethora of methods but all with the ultimate goal to ‘play dumb’, to never acknowledge shortcomings and bad decisions. It is very troublesome to discover how much of this infects modern academic culture, mostly for the deep consequences it could ultimately have: a denial of factual evidence over emotional outrage or to avoid poignant responses, it STINKS of the excesses and paranoia of the times of the Inquisition, except with a little less torture and burning (or will it?) Western civilization may well be on the middle point of a very long cultural ”u-turn”.

  100. God Zilla says

    There is a totalitarian ideology rising on the left that is absolutely terrifying. It aims to remake western society as we know it.
    This ideology tolerates absolutely no criticism, either overt or implied, of anything relating to its existence, its methods or its validity. It has succeeded in silencing and de-platforming many of its critics through outright bullying, both in person and on social media. In many countries, laws have been changed or are in the process of being changed, to make it a hate crime to offend the feelings or beliefs of its proponents. Opponents have already been and are being dragged in front of human rights tribunals as of this writing.

    Who are the people who bravely refuse to submit to this ideology? Glad you asked. Women, as in adult human females, are resisting. In the process, we are being branded with all kinds of names, both on the right and on the left. Yet, there are women on the left and on the right who oppose this ideology, even though we come to it from different viewpoints. Why is it that we are getting attacked from both the right and the left for opposing this ideology? It is because we refuse to be silent.

    What is the name of this ideology, you may ask?

    It is the trans ideology, as some may have guessed.

    I am a left of centre woman, but not a leftist by any means. I am a feminist, and by that I mean advocate for women’s rights, where the word woman means female. I am pro-woman, not anti-man. I am not and never was a man hater, nor did I ever meet any one who was in my sixty odd years of life. In my younger days, I ran in a social circle that included a lot of lesbians, and I never encountered anything that would qualify as man-hating.

    I have come to the realization that the woke left is as profoundly misogynistic as the alt-right. The left is abandoning its women in order to replace them by men who say they are women. Women are being hounded and vilified, and some have been banned from Twitter, for affirming that women are female and that a man is not a woman because he says he is.

    Women are being piloried for attempting to have an open discussion on how the transgender ideology is affecting children. Academics are being shunned for attempting to examine the new phenomenon of transitioning children.Transitioning children involves powerful drugs and radical surgery which basically amount to experimental medicine, while the long-term medical and psychological consequences of transitioning remain largely obscure. Children are being bombarded by this ideology on social media, and no one is allowed to question this.

    The language is being re-written in order to appease the transgenderists. Breast-feeding becomes chest-feeding. Vagina becomes front-hole. Periods become queeriods. Pregnant women become pregnant people. Biological women become menstruators and front-hole havers. Pretty soon, the words maternity, maternal, motherhood, obstetrics and gynaecology will be banned from the lexicon.

    Womanhood, and what it means to be a woman (biological female) is being erased to benefit biological males who say they are women. And women are being told to shut up by the intersectional left, which includes women as well as men. Nevertheless, it has been my observation that the loudest, angriest and most numerous voices telling women to shut the fuck up are male voices. Womanhood is being redefined and colonized by men, and women are being told they have no right to object and are being punished for it. Is the witches’ briddle about to be resurrected?

    Some of you here may condone the silencing of women or even rejoice in it, as a way of getting back at “feminists”. What you fail to grasp is that this affects all women, not just those dreaded feminists you so despise. In affecting all women, it will eventually affect all of society.

    To all of you here who promote free speeech and oppose censorship, I ask you this: How do you stand by and allow this to happen? Or do you join the fight against this form of cultural Marxism that is directed at ~51% of the population?

    PS. I had never imagined the day I would employ the term cultural Marxism. Yet here I am.

    • Sydney says

      I say, “Hear, hear!” as an ex-left, centrist-Libertarian, dissident feminist. Trans so-called, fictionally termed “females” have successfully invaded the very notion of womanhood. Utterly amazing and horrifying. And Islam has successfully invaded the secular, public Western space (don’t take my word for it: read Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Australia’s ‘Imam of Peace’ on the subject). Also utterly amazing and horrifying. Yup, shit is shockingly real at the moment.

    • A wonderfully clear summing up — and a terrifying prospect.

  101. Susan Marie says

    As an educated woman I am extremely offended by ISAs stance in this case and their insistence that Mister Lebow committed an infraction of their rules because Miss Sharoni didn’t get the joke.

    Their position on this matter only widens the schism between genders, cultures, and generations. ISA could have used this to promote the importance of understanding those who have different backgrounds.

    They failed miserably at promoting their stated mission.

    ISA and Miss Lebow should, note that “should” does not mean “must,” apologize to Mister Lebow.

    • ISA should be condemmed but it clearly not the case that this came about becusase Miss Sharoni did not get the joke., She may or may not have got it but the problem was caused because she undersood it could be used against him and that ISA was sufficiently cowed orcorrupted that she could succeed in this attack. in a sensible organisation the complaint should have been dismissed as without a foundation, he neither attacled anyone, use offensive speech or denigrated any individual or group. Now it has gone this far it has clearly brought the ISA into disreprute but that is not directly her fault.

  102. peterschaeffer says

    Quote from Simona Sharoni

    “political correctness becomes the blanket excuse for those who refuse to rethink and change their racist, sexist and homophobic beliefs and practices”

    Anyone with the slightest knowledge of academia and society knows that PC is an all-out attempt to quash any truth the identityarian left doesn’t like. Since lots of facts offend the left, PC has lots of work to do, suppressing facts.

    Check out the Summers, Damore, and Strumia debacles. All of them were PC attacks (successful in each case) on the truth.

  103. J M Parnet says

    I am French (+ white + male to make matters worse !). I could not believe such a tempest in a teapot could be exposed in an otherwise decent and intelligent magazine !!! So glad I don’t live in the States anymore: I would probably spend half of my time in jail for having uttered ‘funny’ obscenities in public …
    Yankees, I do not envy you any more living in the States as you have allowed it to become such a stupidly prudish environment (I did 40 years ago and at that time you were ‘normal’ human beings !!!)

  104. I was there too JMP, also about 40 yrs ago, and encountered there only quite normal people, not very different as the ones in the continent Europe, but now? here on Quillette? And following the discussions here? I also think often, what is this? Is this real? Or is it Alice in Wonderland? Or at the other side of the Looking Glass?

  105. Jack Law says

    Sir, on behalf of reasonable Americans, and American men in particular, I apologize for the hateful behavior of this woman. I hasten to admit that my initial reaction was an assumption that you had not told the entire story. Then I remembered how American leaders not only allowed but assisted as one, Dr. Ford, launched an all out attack on an innocent man for a bit of slap and tickle that may or may not have happened when they were all underage drinkers at a high school party. You may have heard we have a new man in charge here, Mr. Trump, and we expect this sort of non-sense will be dealt with accordingly. In the meantime, I apologize for the actions of this horrible, horrible New Englander.

  106. Danile Crowley says

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If a person makes a remark about perfectly ordinary and everyday clothing in an empty elevator does it cause offence? Is the offence only real of there is a person with a sense of grievance there to hear it?

  107. jedothek says

    The strangest aspect (to me) of this silly scandal is that it is far from clear why the remark was offensive (as opposed to – as Lebow puts it – “lame”) . All I can think of is that in making a joke indicating that he, Lebow, wanted the lingerie floor he was implying that male transvestites are ridiculous, which is not misogynist. Would anyone care to explain the offense otherwise?

  108. Susan Sweeney says

    Let’s just call a spade a spade here! And I invite someone to take offense to that! I’ll tell you up front that I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK. This whole incident is trivial and ridiculous. I can’t believe a thinking adult wouldn’t think your comment about an elevator stop was funny. I certainly chuckled. But then, I am an adult woman, wise in the ways of the world, and no #MeToo chump. Obviously Ms. Sharoni was looking for a windmill to tilt at and you had the misfortune to run into her lance. That she could find nothing more worthwhile to occupy herself speaks volumes about her career and person. That you were so adversely affected by a committee of milktoasts also speaks volumes about the New Dark Ages, which we seem to be entering.

  109. james ginn says

    This is why I call liberalism the ‘mommy’ philosophy. Its all heuristic and non cognitive.

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  111. Jack Law says

    Professor m-m-m-my Sharoni – have you never seen “Are You Being Served?” It’s all about the lift and the floor call-outs. Never mind, you daft feminist ding-bat. I’m bald and have more hair then you, perhaps that’s your problem.

  112. James says

    I find it a case of much ado about nothing. Political correctness run amok. Someone makes a harmless throwaway comment and others pounce upon it as a chance to make some all-out frontal attack on their moral uprightness. There was a time when people had better things to do. Perhaps academics with nothing in particular for a research topic use every opportunity to call attention to themselves with mean-spirited virtue signaling. There was a time when standup comedians could make jokes and quips at everything. Nothing was sacred, much like court jesters of old. Where is the thick-skinned intellectual of old who knew what was worth getting upset about. and went after the big sins. People who do not want to fight great evils attack minor sins, as Dennis Prager says.

  113. Zenobia van Dongen says

    That Sharoni broad should be tarred and feathered.

  114. Tim Cape says

    Prof. Lebow was accused by the Excomm of trivialising and marginalising the issue and therefore Prof. Sharoni. But is it possible to marginalise the marginal or trivialise the trivial?

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  116. Bernardo says

    We live in a world similar to what you might find say in Cuba. People are eager to report you for rule violations that are not always articulated.

    You can make a comment that four people do not mind, but when a fifth person hears its and decides it is offensive or unwelcome, rather than telling you to stop, he or she files a formal complaint.

    Then comes the investigation where people around you are asking if you have done or said anything that can be considered inappropriate.

  117. Denker says

    Woman Studies Faculties, and their output is irrelevant, until these faculties can objectively and rationally show that they EQUALLY admit high quality students, staff and pass papers by both students & academics in the EXACT ratio of males to females.

    This goes to MALES, as objectively defined by those of the general public and as defined by a populace found outside the faculty.

    We cannot have the Elizabeth Warren types deciding on the gender of their gonads based on the highness of their cheek bones alone, the depth of their decolletage nor the length of the girl’s dicks.

    Until such time, the output and thought of Woman’s Studies Faculties and those recognised like Prof. Shimona Sharoni (from also-ran Merrimack U), or output is by their own yardstick – meaningless.

    —————————————–

    Professor Lebrow’s joke is cute.

    It is sweetly puerile from an age of innocence – lost.

    Can you imagine anyone wishing to leer at woman’s lingerie? In 2018? SRSLY?

    All one needs do is page into any women’s tabloid magazine, and the lingerie is all there to be seen from page 1 onwards. Such is feminism 1.01 that the girls in 2018 so freely wish to hang out their skimpy “puppies” for all mankind to see…

    Furthermore the joke needs no justification.

    In an age or porn sites freely flashsexual imagery out on the internet, to both willing and unwilling net surfers. Today there is no boy of girl under ten, I’d guess, that has not seen a women’s vagina in every degree of penetration. If they have not, they do not live on this dear planet earth.

    Sweet Simona Sharoni wanted her look-at-me moment to make her life matter, doubtless her hippocampus make her wear single piece swimsuits too… have your 15 minutes of fame girl.

    15 minutes of fame, by a part of her being that no-one would care to look at. i.e. her mind.

    The vulvagocentric matriarchy at its worst reckoning!

    [Hawk, rake, spit…]

  118. Ronnie Childs says

    If instead of “ladies’ lingerie” he had said “sporting goods”, or “appliances”, would she still be offended? I am old enough to remember when elevator operators in department stores would make those very announcements. I feel like I’m missing something here.

    • With ” appliances” I am sure she would be, sounds very sexy and aggressive to me.

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  120. Candy Mercer says

    Team Lebow! 2 words should not ruin a man’s career. I knew Sharoni, and was privy to Sharoni’s take in real time over social media as the story happened and developed, finding it ludicrous and laughable. She was out about that this was political – for all the women who had been harmed in the past, and rather than talk to Lebow, started telling other people at the conference about the incident. She then started making plans to humiliate him at future conferences.

    As a friend and rape survivor, I wrote to Sharoni, telling her I felt this was a disservice to the movement and she should admit she was wrong. At that point I was unfriended, and my concerns immediately dismissed by the Founder of Faculty Against Rape in a revealing email. She does not care about rape survivors, this is all about her gaining power. I was sickened in how she reveled in the attention she was getting as a hero to the cause. I was moved, along with several other rape survivors, to write a consensus statement to the ISA in support of Lebow.

    I never thought, as a feminist, i would be in the position of defending a man, but I felt it was worth using my moral authority to speak up. The forced apology was a big reason, but again the largest, is delegitimizing real misconduct.

    Frankly, Sharoni is a middle aged professor of international conflict, she should put on some #biggirlpanties and not have frozen in the situation. A “real woman” would have more agency, power and self control, she is showing herself to be weak, and a poor role model for all of her female students. She is the one who sexualized the comment, but when you see the world through those glasses, you will see sex everywhere. If she had previous trauma that made her freeze, Lebow should not suffer from her emotional overreaction to a triggering event.

    As a PTSD survivor who has triggers, and has emotional overreactions, I know to separate the two. The trigger, if not benign, should be dealt with accordingly, and that person should not be held to account for the damage I am learning to deal with, that is on me.

    Also, to be noted, Sharoni helped write the code of conduct that was used against Lebow, and she herself was in violation of the code in multiple places. I know, I studied it to see how this could happen. Basically, you can be disciplined if someone’s feelings were hurt, the remark does not have to meet any reasonable standard of harm. Also, Sharoni is the one who took this to social media first, she did not name Lebow until she got the letter from him, at which point, she rationalized her privacy had been breached by sharing with Lebow the name of his accuser, so she felt justified in naming him publicly.

    Sharoni was working behind the scenes to harass and demean Lebow at future conferences. I do not know if she is going to go through with these “educational” actions, but if she did, she would be making an extremely hostile environment to Lebow, far, far, far beyond what his two words could have meant, in the least charitable reading.

    One idea involved women in lingerie standing by elevators and telling people about what Lebow did. Another involved embroidering the harassment Sharoni received on Twitter onto lingerie and having an installation of it, conflating Twitter trolls with Lebow. People should not get death threats over the internet, that is wrong, but Sharoni is no stranger to conflict, and she had to be aware this would happen so it is hard for me to feel sorry for her, especially as she then used that harassment to further cement her position as martyr/hero to #metoo. It disgusted me.

    She is too stubborn to back down, and so is Lebow, but Lebow, if he admits sexual misconduct has potentially a lot to lose. Sharoni only has her pride, and I would argue, to admit error, and be the “bigger woman” would actually show grace and power and make Lebow look bad or less good as it were.

  121. Pierre Pendre says

    Never under-estimate how childish professional feminists can be and I fear it was asking for trouble to suggest to Professor Sharoni that, not having grown up in America, she might not be up on the free ways in which people talk to each other there. It was possibly naïve after Tim Hunt’s fate to expect the ISA and its Excomm (an unintentional Orwellism, I hope) not to take Professor Sharoni’s part. They wouldn’t want to become targets themselves. Who was it who was sending Professor Sharoni hate mail since I doubt her email address is common knowledge?

  122. Candy Mercer says

    Her email was available off of her website for the school. I believe I still had her private email from our time working together. I am not sure which I used. She got at the point I was defriended she had gotten about 100 comments on Twitter that were negative.

    She then, instead of grading papers which needed to be done as the term was ending, which was causing her stress, did a content analysis on the Tweets. I felt she put relatively benign negative comments into far more threatening categories. There were a handful of death/rape threats, more of the juvenile kind than ones that sounded actionable. She compiled the worst ones for possible installation use. She asked if anyone could help with embroidery.

    I had worked with Sharoni in Palestinian solidarity work when she was teaching at Evergreen. Our kids played together. I used to respect her work and courage. She disappointed me. I had looked up to her. I made a mistake. That is sad. Her email to me was so dismissive of me and my concerns, I was shocked. She wrote back in minutes, giving my reasonable and carefully worded email no thought. It was hurtful to have a woman who founded FAR, show so little solidarity with a rape victim reaching out in sincerity.

    It also caused me thought to turn on a woman, as in feminist solidarity. I also was nervous about going against my ingroup, but my conscience made me act. It was not hurt feelings over the letter, though it did hurt, it was all of what I report above.

    • Al The Mann says

      ”I had worked with Sharoni in Palestinian solidarity work when she was teaching at Evergreen”

      Wait, what?? The Evergreen?

      • Candy Mercer says

        Yes, In the 2000s she was teaching there, and was instrumental in influencing Rachel Corrie to go to Rafah, where she died. I do not hold Sharoni responsible per se, there were others, and Rachel had agency, and some idea of what she was getting herself into. That being said, Israel had not been killing Americans so there was an idea of relative safety.

        So after Rachel died, I got involved in that segment of activism, that helped birth BDS. My main work was cross cultural, working to meet Palestinians, and host them in America. I did want to go to Gaza too, though it was more fantasy, as I am disabled, and it would be near impossible. But we hosted and met some great people, and were good ambassadors for our country, Rachel, and then the following work by us and others, did help change “hearts and minds” toward America and Americans. Rachel is considered a martyr and has many buildings etc named after her. I still consider Rachel important to my life, and sometimes I do as she said about going to Rafah – “sometimes you just need to drop everything and do something.” It was those words that I actually held close when I decided to support Lebow, in that it took a few days to organize people and write the letters, but I felt it was important.

        That is background, for transparency. I really did have great respect for Sharoni’s work. I also was during that time, being introduced to all of the left wing concepts which at the time seemed benign and reasonable, it is only in the past few years, partially to Trumps election, I feel these ideas have been weaponized and become extremist. This is not the activism I signed up for, and indeed, the Corries, who did the highest level of hardcore activism, I mean, they sued Israel! but they were never nothing but humble and gracious. They never would have allowed extremist behavior, even what we were doing was radical. There was no anti-Semitism, you would have been unwelcome if you were not human rights for all/dignity culture.

        So yeah, you can trace this back to TESC. Evergreen, I am sure was instrumental in forming Sharoni. I am not sure why she left. I was surprised actually. I do not know if it was good or bad. I remained Facebook friends until what happened. I am surely an enemy now with her, and possibly with others I care about. I am not sure how much it got out. But I feel I can defend it on principle, and sometimes people in your group are wrong, and you need to have to courage to speak up.

        I had been talking about her behind her back on Facebook, so it felt ethical to speak to her directly. I was basically told to go to hell, and how dare I speak about Rachel. I hit a nerve for sure, which was not my goal, but I could tell I got through. She can’t unhear my words. I am talking about this publicly, again for transparency, so you can judge my actions.

  123. Realworldman says

    Pathetic. Has the intelligence of the planet really swung so low that this is even being entertained?? Notice she doesn’t even offer any explanation as to exactly how this phrase is offensive: only that it is. I am sure SImona just implodes whenever she walks or drives past a Victoria’s Secret store.

    Makes me wonder how many people are paid actors in this game being played by the Ownership class. I don’t buy any of it and I am saddened if anyone actually believes it is a legitimate human interest story. It is straight up Globalization politics. Dumb down, confuse, distract, misinform, divide and conquer. Everyone is distracted from the real world consequences of a planet being arbitraged and imprisoned by a tiny class of sociopaths, while we argue over how stupid Trump is, or where the caravan is, or what you should call a man who would like to be a woman, or which restroom can you use, or whether guns kill or people do, or or or or. No coverage of global trade agreements, the impacts of economic wars, the manipulation of currencies, the deregulation of the elites, or the censorship of research and legitimate news reporting. No discussion of the overt atmospheric geoengineering striping the skies of every nation for decades. No real discussions of climate change and what may lay ahead. Nothing but a bunch of nonsensical stories about racism, homophobia, police brutality, and anything else they can think of to distract and divide the people.

    OH but wait. Maybe I am being insensitive. After all, the man did say “ladies lingerie” out loud where others could hear it. Clearly this is a serious global issue that requires all of our immediate and protracted attention. Simona’s little feelings are obviously the most important issue on planet Earth today. If we are lucky maybe some other media outlets will pick this up and we can read another ten articles about it before the next snowflake implodes. Wake up people before it is too late.

  124. Candy Mercer says

    It has received international attention, with most press siding with reason. Even FOX news I felt covered it fairly, when they could have really gone nuts. I think the Atlantic did a fairly thoughtful piece if I recall. But none really dug in on the forced apology and the implications of admitting a frivolous charge, and the political nature, that Sharoni did it, not just for herself, but for all women of the ISA who have similarly been humiliated. They also missed the part about her helping write the code of conduct, which I found I think on the ISA site when I was researching the actual code. I think there was a page discussing process, with who was on the committee. I am not sure if anyone dug into how it hurts the cause, and foments backlash against women who have suffered legitimately. That is why I think it struck such a chord in me. And then the hypocrisy of being a founder of FAR, who should know better about having cases taken seriously.

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