Good Math, Bad Math

Pardon me, while I go off on a rant.

Since I came to work for Google, I have a pretty long commute. Most of the time, I don’t really mind it. It’s all by train – first commuter rail from home into the city, and then subway from the terminal to my office. Commuting by train is not bad at all – you get some quiet time before and after work, to sit and read, or just relax.

But in a year of doing this, I’ve learned a couple of things. And today’s commute gave me a perfect example of one of them. People who wear suits to work in Manhattan are the biggest god-damned dicks you’ll find anywhere.

I see just about every kind of people you can imagine on the subway on my commute: black, white, and every shade of brown that there is. I hear
just about every language you can think of: today, I’m sure that I heard
english, spanish, hindi, cantonese, and japanese being spoken by different people. But the only group of people that I’ve had any unpleasant experiences with are white guys in suits.

I cringe when one gets onto the train behind me. Because they’re invariably the people who feel like they’ve got a right to more personal space than anyone else, and will freely use their elbows to enforce that. They’re the people who’ll park their ass right in front of the subway door, and refuse to step aside to let people off of the train. They’re the rudest, most obnoxious, entitled, shits you’ll ever have the misfortune to meet.

And they’re also the ones who complain more bitterly about everyone else on the train. The asshole who won’t get out of the doorway of the train
is always the guy who opens up about how rude black men are after one of then pushes his way through to get off the train at his stop. They’re the ones who, after elbowing other people aside, bitch about the dominican guy who they had to shove. They’re the ones who can’t talk to each other without shouting – and then shout about how annoying it is to them to have to listen to people on the train speaking spanish.

The stereotypes of New York City invariably portray New Yorkers as rude, obnoxious people. But usually, the ones that they’re portraying as rude aren’t the guys in suits; it’s always the minorities or the working class. But in a year of this commute, I’ve never seen one of those stereotypical New Yorkers being the least bit rude. In fact, in general, I think New Yorkers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. (The best description I’ve ever heard of New Yorkers was “If you’re walking out of the subway with a stack of papers, and drop them, New Yorkers are the people who’ll help you catch all of your papers, and then tell you what an idiot you are for dropping them.” That’s NY; we’re very direct, but for the most part, we’re good people.)

The assholes are always the rich guys in suits on their way to work, who feel like they’re entitled to more than anyone else.

What brought this little rant on is that I got stuck on the subway this morning. Four guys in pinstripe suits got on behind me; spend the ride sneering like a bunch of overprivileged frat-boys about every non-white person on the train, and then as a group, blocked the doors at my stop, so that no one could get off. They weren’t trying to block the doors; they just happened to be standing there, and the idea of taking a step to one side to let anyone off the train – well, they weren’t about to move for
a bunch of lower-class slime. It wasn’t their stop. Of course, if anyone got in their way when they wanted to get off, they would have gone off into a giant flaming rant about how awful it was that the Insert Ethnic Group of Perpetrator got in their way, and weren’t all Members Of Said Ethnic Group a bunch of jerks.

It’s pretty much exactly the Bill O’Reilly syndrome. I’m sure everyone
remembers how he was shocked that at a black restaurant in Harlem, no one was
shouting out “Hey motherfucker, more ice tea over here” – because he really
deep down believes that minorities are a bunch of crude, stupid, obnoxious
assholes. But his regular daily behavior is even worse than his stereotypes
of his hated minorities.

Comments

  1. #1 vlorbik
    May 1, 2008

    in other news, dog bites man.
    also, the poor suffer the most.

  2. #2 ericb
    May 1, 2008

    Luckily my work hours let me avoid commuting during rush hour (my commute is done by 7:20 am, R train) so I generally get to avoid the suites. Though I do remember one time these two suites talking loudly so everyone could here about how much money they played with on the stock market that day. I mean, really, why don’t they just stuff bananas in their crotches? It would relay the same information they want to advertise but in a quiet way that would alow me to read in peace.

  3. #3 Larry D'Anna
    May 1, 2008

    I’m happy for you Mark. You seem to have had the extremely good fortune of only encountering one type of entitled douche bag in your life. I assure you they come in a great variety and can be found pretty much everywhere.

  4. #4 Adam
    May 1, 2008

    A good deal of people in New York City have this unwarranted sense of entitlement. Not just suits. I’ve found on the red or green line you’ll run into a good amount of suits that are like this, switch to other lines I find the same thing without suit.

    I think it’s a lack of consideration for other people in general, probably due to poor parenting. It’s never been made more clear to me that this is a New York City problem than when I visit other cities.

  5. #5 noahpoah
    May 1, 2008

    It’s never been made more clear to me that this is a New York City problem than when I visit other cities.

    I take it you’ve never driven in or around Atlanta, then.

  6. #6 Ericb
    May 1, 2008

    Or Boston

  7. #7 steve
    May 1, 2008

    The only rude people in NY are white? You are fucking stupid.

  8. #8 caerbannog
    May 1, 2008

    That brings to mind an old joke that feeds on the “rude New Yorker” stereotype.

    Q) How many New Yorkers does it take to change a light bulb?

    A) None of your f***ing business!

  9. #9 Orac
    May 1, 2008

    Sorry, Mark, but your whole rant sounds like one big case of confirmation bias to me. Rudeness is pretty universal.

  10. #10 Yttrai
    May 1, 2008

    Not just NYC, sir. Boston has it too.

    A coworker came into work recently in tears, after watching a WGiS (white guy in suit) shout at a member of another ethnic group (she would not name the group, and it really doesn’t matter) using phrases like “lazy” and “REAL American”. At the next stop, most of the car except WGiS changed cars, including several people who then spent the rest of the ride telling the recipient of the shouting, and a random woman of his same ethnic group who was in tears, how little they agreed with the douchebag.

    It wasn’t as good as shouting down the man to his face, but it was still a good show of empathy and sympathy.

  11. #11 J-Dog
    May 1, 2008

    FWIW – Yo! Give me a little True Scotsman Argument here!

    So, maybe the White Guys are not really from New York?

    I can see some of those Jersey guys jerking around like you been sayin’…

  12. #12 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 1, 2008

    Orac:

    I don’t think it’s confirmation bias; I think it’s something about the population of the lines I ride at the time I ride them. I’m riding the downtown 4/5 train from Grand Central at around 8:55, and the same train uptown at about 5:20.

    In all seriousness, I’ve never had anyone stand in my way blocking me from getting off of a train *except* a guy in a suit. Frankly, I wouldn’t expect *anyone* to do that. But at least once a week it happens, and every single time, it’s the guy in the suit.

  13. #13 curiously
    May 1, 2008

    mark, i feel your pain. i used to get blocked/elbowed/pushed by the same jerk suits every day. (consider yourself lucky to be male, so you don’t have to get groped by them on top of it all.) i’d recommend switching to the local 6 if you can. it often takes about the same amount of time — how many times have you stood like a sardine on a sluggish express while watching the less-crowded 6 pass you by? — and i find that the ride is more pleasant, less rude, and peopled by fewer suits.

  14. #14 adamo
    May 1, 2008

    And I thought that only Athens, Greece had the privilege of breeding that race of idiots…

  15. #15 White Guy in a Suit
    May 1, 2008

    By going off on a rant and clumping all “white guys in suits” together, haven’t you committed the very sin you’re ranting about? It is sad when people who are outraged by prejudice against minorities see no problem with being prejudiced against white men. I find this post highly hypocritical and the antithesis of the informative, logical posts I normally find here.

  16. #16 Adam
    May 1, 2008

    I take it you’ve never driven in or around Atlanta, then.

    I have actually, everyone was really nice. Probably didn’t spend enough time to get a good read.

    Having recently been to San Diego and riding public transit there, and interacting with it’s people, I’m biased at how nice people can be. Just down right nice, as a New Yorker it was shocking.

    I think what I meant by it being a New York City problem, is I often find myself low in spirit when returning home from another city. Mostly because I know I’ll have to deal with the rude and obnoxious minority in NYC that think they’re entitled to behave like that.

    I’m sure those people are in other places, but with NYC population it’s far easier to find a moron because you just end up interacting with so many more people on a daily basis.

  17. #17 Susan B.
    May 1, 2008

    I’ve visited Manhattan a number of times, and never had a problem, although I suspect that has something to do with the fact that I’ve taken the subway in the middle of the day when there are few commuters. However, most recently I brought a friend with me who is blind and has a guide dog. I was very impressed that each of the three times we took the subway, at least one person got up to offer her a seat.

  18. #18 Janne
    May 1, 2008

    I commute by train every day, and have done so for a couple of years now; a fairly long stretch, and very, very crowded in the morning. I have yet to encounter any rudeness like what you describe even once. If anything, the people in suits tend to go out of their way to accommodate other people – don’t take a seat when it becomes available, instead giving it to someone else; actually get off the train at a stop if they stand by the door to let other people out, then get on board again, that kind of behaviour. Other people tend to be fairly considerate too, but the coat-and-tie brigade stands out. Of course, at night, especially if I’m running late, I may encounter wined, dined and pretty sloshed suits, but even then, they tend to be spirited and amusing, not belligerent.

    This is the Osaka subway and commuter trains, by the way.

  19. #19 Jonathan
    May 1, 2008

    In my experience, there’s just an epidemic of self absorption pretty much all around these days, at least in cities. Or maybe it’s just the East Coast. I live in Boston, and riding the subway during rush hour can be pretty bad here, though I’d say it’s a rainbow coalition of assholism, with pretty much every race and creed joining hands to make public transportation regrettable.

  20. #20 daithi
    May 1, 2008

    I live in Providence and occasionally take “the T” to go into Boston (go Sox). My experience has been a lot like Janne’s experience. I have had no problems with suits, and have seen them give up seats or not take seats when they open up.

    I have very limited experience on the NYC public transportation, so I can’t make a definitive judgement, but I have a hard time believing any group can be characterized in this manner. I respect Mark’s opinion and very much enjoy this blog, but I am disappointed in this blog entry. It simply contains a degree of prejudice that I don’t care for. Imagine if you replaced the phrase “white guys in suits” with “blacks wearing sports attire”.

  21. #21 Jeff
    May 2, 2008

    Mark, just remember that people that act this way usualy suffer from an inferority complex and you help them by laughing as you exit the train…chin up ol chap.

  22. #22 mk
    May 2, 2008

    I thought making sweeping generalizations was reserved for the ID crowd. Mark, you’re better than this.

  23. #23 Jonathan Vos Post
    May 2, 2008

    “Most people generalize from a single observation. I know that I do.”

    That’s what my frequent co-author, prof. Philip V. Fellman, likes to say, with a straight face, in conference presentations.

    But, since Mark opened with “Pardon me, while I go off on a rant” — he is implicitly asking NOT to have his rant deconstructed as if it were an actual, logical, argument. Of course it overgeneralizes. Of course it lacks quantitative basis — what is the sample space?

    Emotionally, I had several initial reactions on reading his rant.

    First, I’m a white guy who wears a suit and tie every day to work (teaching high school), and was born in Manhattan.

    Second, I won’t take offense, because I didn’t usually wear a suit when riding the subway to Stuyvesant High School (Manhattan) from where I lived (Brooklyn Heights) from age 9 months until I left for Caltech, aged 16.

    Third, this rant conflates issues of gender, class, race, dress code, perceived behavior, verbal behavior, and others. Hard to know where to start.

    Fourth, this needs to be written up as an unsolicited proposal to the Department of Transportation, with funding to include travel, hotel, and per diem in each American city that has a subway system. For a brief introductory history, and then a list, I excerpt from:

    Underground Railroads
    A short history of subterranean transport in America
    by Dan Shafto

    ‘Pneumatic Transit’

    The dire situation of New York’s streets prompted publisher Alfred Ely Beach to search for an alternative mode of transportation. In February of 1870, Beach opened a below-ground transportation system that set a precedent in subterranean travel.

    “Pneumatic Transit,” as the system was known, consisted of a 312-foot wind tunnel and a 22-passenger car propelled over the tracks by a 100-horsepower fan. While this curious solution to urban transport was not the wave of the future, it paved the way for the American subway.

    Boston’s ‘T’

    Toward the end of the 19th century, Boston found itself in a similar situation to New York City. Rapid population growth caused an enormous strain on traffic in the downtown area, and many commuters began to rely extensively on the street-level trolley system.

    Owned and operated by the West End Company, these electric-powered trolleys contended with the large number of cars and pedestrians also crowding Boston’s streets. Under increasing public pressure, West End partnered with the Boston Transit Commission to fund the excavation and construction of America’s first subway. This underground system, nicknamed the “T,” opened on September 1, 1897.

    Seedling Subways

    This precedent was soon surpassed by other American cities. New York opened its first subway – merely 9 miles long – in October of 1904. Philadelphia constructed a system combining subway lines with above-ground and elevated trolley lines, much like the one in use in Boston, between 1905 and 1908. These subways were well-received and expanded soon after their inception.

    The Transit “Renaissance”

    The building of San Francisco’s BART system marked the beginning of a revival period for subways. In addition to 71 miles of track, BART was the first centrally-operated rapid transit system in American history.

    On the heels of BART’s success, Baltimore, Miami, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. opened or revamped their underground railway systems. Even expansive, car-dominated Los Angeles made plans for a new subway, sections of which opened in 1998.

    Subway Web Sites:
    New York City
    San Francisco
    Boston
    Metro (D.C.)
    Atlanta
    Miami
    Maryland
    Chicago
    Los Angeles
    Southern Pennsylvania

    For that matter, perhaps Homeland Security would fund you to compare and contrast rider behavior in other countries’ subways.

    World’s Largest Subway Systems (by ridership)
    City Date system completed Number of riders (year) Length (km)
    Moscow 1935 3.2 bil (1997) 340
    Tokyo 1927 2.6 bil (1997/98) 281+
    Seoul 1974 1.4 bil (1993) 278+
    Mexico City 1969 1.4 bil (1996) 202
    New York City 1904 1.3 bil (2001) 371
    Paris 1900 1.2 bil(1998) 211
    Osaka 1933 957 mil (1997) 114
    London 1863 866 mil (1999) 415
    Hong Kong 1979 790 mil (1999) 82
    St. Petersburg 1955 721 mil (1996) 110
    Sources: Jane’s Urban Transport Systems, 2002-2003 edition, and individual subway websites [as compiled at infoplease].

  24. #24 Lassi Hippeläinen
    May 2, 2008

    My experience is that rudeness doesn’t depend on skin colour, culture, or size of town; it’s mostly about home. I’ve travelled in two dozen countries from Finland to Fiji, so I have some data to back that up.

    Those who live where they grew up are relaxed and helpful, because they are familiar with the environment. But when the same people must move to a strange place (probably due to employment), they get somewhat scary, and try to protect themselves with rudeness and gangs.

    I’m pretty sure most of the suits you meet in NY subway weren’t born in NY. Many of the non-suits were.

  25. #25 SLC
    May 2, 2008

    They don’t call the New York Subway system the human sewer for nothing.

  26. #26 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 2, 2008

    SLC:

    That’s exactly the kind of sentiment that upsets me.

    The NYC subways are actually really good, and the overwhelming majority of people who ride them are pleasant, civil, and polite.

    I probably shouldn’t have stressed the suit angle so much, but like I said in the post, it was a frustrated rant. The real point, to me, is that the reputation of NYers in general, and of the subways in particular, does not come close to matching the reality. The reputation is that everyone is rude, loud, and obnoxious. The reality is that there’s really just a very small population of people who have a sense of entitlement who act that way – but they do it in such a loud, visible way that they create the dominant image.

    It’s not that all guys in suits are rude assholes. It’s that there’s that group of wealthy assholes who believe that they’re entitled to special treatment in all places and at all times, and who treat people around them like shit as a result. It’s an unpleasant group
    of people. They’re wearing suits, because that’s part of the show: you’ve got to show that you’ve got a job wear you can afford to wear a $900 designer suit to work every day. And the bad attitude towards everyone else is part of the show too: these are the people who believe that they’re better than everyone else, and they need to show that, and they’re seriously pissed off when anyone doesn’t act in a way that reflects their relative status.

    Plenty of people work jobs where they need to wear suits, but don’t have that attitude. It’s the attitude that I’m getting at. And anyone can tell, very quickly, which people are the assholes. It’s not just the suit – it’s the whole manner, the body language,
    the attitude. The sneer as they get onto the crowded train. The wrinkled nose, like it’s disgusting that they need to breath the same air as the lower life forms on the train.

  27. #27 nick
    May 2, 2008

    I take the Metro North in every morning to GCT. Then head up town, Upper West Side for work. No suit, but do I feel left out, heh. Thankfully I really don’t see the pricks you speak of in metro north lines. Mostly older folks. The pricks you speak of probably wouldn’t be caught dead living in Westchester county.

    I really haven’t seen the kind of action you speak of on the subway. One guy told me to ‘wait a sec, stop pushing’ when I was trying to get him to move. There was clear space by him to move to, and I didn’t think I was pushing, more like squeezing –which is definitely an acceptable way to move around in NYC. Nonetheless I still feel justified since the doors almost closed on me on the way out.

    Though, it’s only been 6-7months here…

  28. #28 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 2, 2008

    Nick:

    I also ride the MetroNorth from Westchester, and I haven’t encountered any rudeness on those trains. Partly, it’s who’s on the train; I’m on the Hudson line, and my train doesn’t stop at any of the super-wealthy areas of Westchester. (Most of Westchester is wealthy, but there’s wealthy, and then there’s wealthy. The uber-rich don’t live in Dobbs Ferry.) And partly, it’s that the train just isn’t that crowded. Even during rush hour, there’s no one forced to stand – there’s enough seats for everyone. And there’s no tangle of people getting on and off – every stop before GCT is all people getting on, and then everyone gets off together at GCT. So even if you had the rude bastards on the MetroNorth train, they’d have less opportunity to do anything overly obnoxious.

  29. #29 Peter
    May 2, 2008

    I gotta disagree.

    I’ve been riding the subways for 20+ years, and there are nice people and obnoxious people, in and out of suits. In particular, the people standing by the door when there’s plenty of room elsewhere come in all shades and style of clothes. In my experience, this is *most often* high school students, but that may be because of the times that I ride (I tend to get to work early and leave early).

    In general, the niceness level on subways is pretty low. 6 years ago, I was riding the subway with my wife, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant. *No one* got up for her. I’ve seen similar happen to other pregnant women since.

    OTOH, I’ve seen some reasonably nice behavior as well, in particular, with people offering to help the confused.

  30. #30 Peter
    May 2, 2008

    One thing I do agree with you on, and love about NYC, is the diversity. Once (on a bus, not a subway) I was sitting across from four people reading newspapers. Not only was each in a different language, each was in a different writing system!

    I love this town

  31. #31 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 2, 2008

    Peter:

    Yes, that is one of the many great things about NYC. I grew up around here, so it’s mostly normal to me. I went to school in a majority white school system, but I had classmates who were black, indian, chinese, japanese, korean, philipino, and I don’t know what-all else.

    But I did live in small town Ohio for 4 years as a kid, where there was not a single non-white person in a town of 40,000; and where there was one Jewish family (mine), and one catholic family, and everyone else was white anglo protestant.

    After coming back to the NY area, it made me really appreciate it more. Being with people who could speak different languages, whose families came from different places, is a terrific thing.

    And particularly, as part of a mixed race couple, there are suprisingly few places in the US where we would really feel at home.

    New York is amazing.

  32. #32 SLC
    May 2, 2008

    “They’re wearing suits, because that’s part of the show: you’ve got to show that you’ve got a job wear you can afford to wear a $900 designer suit to work every day.”

    Apparently Mr. Chu-Carroll hasn’t been shopping for mens’ suits lately. An Oxxford suit will run about $2500, not counting alterations.

  33. #33 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    May 2, 2008

    SLC:

    Wow… I had *no* idea.

  34. #34 Daniel Martin
    May 2, 2008

    In particular, the people standing by the door when there’s plenty of room elsewhere come in all shades and style of clothes.

    Yeah, what the hell is that behavior about? Why this pressing need to stand right inside the door?

    What gets me is that there are lots of people who will stand just in the subway with their back to an open subway door, and then act like you’re the rude one when you ask them to move so that you can get on the subway. And although I’ve found people doing that to come in all shades and clothing styles, I’ve only found them to come in one gender.

    Another thing I’ve noticed since taking a job in NYC that has me riding the subway almost every day is that the only people given seats are people managing small children, or people on crutches. (And the crutches is kind of hit-or-miss as to whether it will get you a seat) Pregnancy doesn’t cause people to get up and offer you a seat; neither does juggling large boxes or shopping bags. Somehow, though, if you board with a small kid in tow, people will give up a seat.

    I’ll second the recommendation about taking the local, and avoiding the most obnoxious fellow-travelers thereby; I never take the express anymore on my way in in the morning. Of course, I’m only coming to 14th street from Penn Station – I understand if you’re coming all the way from Grand Central that there might be a stronger incentive against taking the local.

  35. #35 slpage
    May 2, 2008

    Well, while we are bitching about rudeness and identifiable groups, I will say that wile I lived in Detroit, I once had a black guy call me “honky”, which was funny as I thought that word went out with bell bottoms. I had a Chinese guy working in a Chinese restaurant roll his eyes and shake his head at me because I had the gall to give him back the extra 10 dollar bill he had given me for change (in retrospect, I should have kept it). And I cannot count the number of times that people with Jesus fishes on their cars tailgated me and cut me off and generally were obnoxious and even dangerous on the highway.
    Then there were the times that people left threatening and rude notes on my car inn Grand Rapids, MI – all unsigned, of course – because I had an anti-Rush Limbaugh bumpersticker on my car.

    Rude people are everywhere.

  36. #36 rimpal
    May 2, 2008

    Mark,

    I think you gotta wait till that Hindi/Tamil/[Insert Indian language] speaker transits thru the F1->H1B->Green Card->Naturalized US Citizen path. Every switch results in a 10x increase in boorishness. And they don’t need a suit to do that! I am from the modest part of the midwest, and I think Chicago is too dainty, and Boston is too rude and full of drunks. NYC is just right, in fact we love the place and like nothing better than wandering about the city in summer doing nothing.

    BTW that comment about Bill O’s impressions about Sylvia’s is priceless.

  37. #37 Nullifidian
    May 3, 2008

    And I cannot count the number of times that people with Jesus fishes on their cars tailgated me and cut me off and generally were obnoxious and even dangerous on the highway.

    Now here’s a generalization which I think holds true regardless of geographic location. ;-)

  38. #38 Remco Veldkamp
    May 4, 2008

    Yes, rude people exist and much worse and you will encounter them from time to time. Get over it!

    It’s a shame you let in on these rants of yours every now and then. It really brings your otherwise very interesting blog down a lot.

    And even if such an event like in the subway haunts you why not turn the story into a funny math-related post instead. You could, for example, model the behavior of people on the subway as a zero-sum game where everyone competes for the main resource (space) and make fun of these suit-guys at the same time. :-)

  39. #39 Stupid Git
    May 4, 2008

    If you’ve ever been on the train when the high schools get out you’ll find yourself wishing you just had the misfortune of riding with entitled suits. That said, you have to remember that these same “suits” who you rant about are the financial dudes at Bear Sterns, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and so on who brought us the mortgage crisis, credit card interest hikes on par with mafia loans and the “creative” accounting techniques used by companies like Enron, WorldCom and so many others only to have taxpayer funded insurance or bail-outs keep them from losing too much. And we wonder why the feel entitled? Maybe because in our society they are entitled apparently.

  40. #40 heyzeuscreasetoe
    May 4, 2008

    Nice to see you can link Bill Oreilly to racist elitism in only two degrees of separation. The man is merely a traditionalist, who are you to say his stereotypes of black people aren’t very real to him. You and your secular progressive ethics are trying to make it a crime to say anything that doesn’t fit within the anti-racist agenda.

    This piece is also giving a little short shrift to rich guys in suits, I mean seriously, most people in public transportation are dirty and smell…thats why God invented cars, duh!

    P.S. Poe’s law strikes again!

  41. #41 Suited Asshole
    May 4, 2008

    I’m mildly offended by these remarks. I must tell you, as a Suited Asshole, I highly regard my life over all others, I’m making millions of dollars AS I type, so watch what you say! It’s libel!

    J/k, I had to try it out. :D

  42. #42 bc
    May 4, 2008

    They don’t charge alterations in places where you would buy an Oxxford suit- unless it’s on sale or something.

  43. #43 Another suited asshole
    May 5, 2008

    Wow! All this time I was wearing a suit to work without realizing what a racist asshole I was! Mark, please send me some spare clothes ASAP so I may become a decent human being.

    Or am I excused for not living in NYC? I sure hope that makes me easier to stomach, o great judge of character.

  44. #44 Jonathan Vos Post
    May 5, 2008

    “… so watch what you say! It’s libel!”

    No, not in the USA. To be libel, it must also: be false or made with a “reckless disregard for the truth”; it must be taken as Fact and not as Opinion; and it must cause actual financial damage, not just hurt feelings.

    IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer). TINLA (This Is Not Legal Advice).

  45. #45 Stephen Wells
    May 6, 2008

    Speaking as a white guy who occasionally wears a suit, I’d like to point out that white guys in suits were responsible for both World Wars, Enron, and Microsoft.

    :)

  46. #46 Mike Saelim
    May 6, 2008

    http://www.uncrate.com/men/style/tees-polos/suits-suck-tshirt/

    I wear this shirt occasionally. I suggest that you do too. :)

  47. #47 Kristine
    May 8, 2008

    You should videotape their asses and put them on You Tube. :-)

  48. #48 Roman Werpachowski
    May 15, 2008

    Have pity on the suits, OK? They just lost their jobs after losing billions of their clients’ money on mortgage-backed securities…

    Seriously, I wear a suit (but no tie) to work and also work in a financial company, but I never considered myself anyone special. Nor do my workmates. In fact, I met much more jerks in the academia, while doing my PhD…

  49. #49 Wayne
    May 20, 2008

    Sorry, man, but if a bunch of frat boys from Harvard Business are your worst subway nightmare you actually have it pretty easy.

    My wife and many other women I know can’t ride the subway without having all sorts of men rub up against them.

    That is far worse than having to endure some annoying suits.

  50. #50 btrgrl
    May 20, 2008

    Hmm… a captain of industry that can’t afford to be driven to work, but must brave the underground like a common person? I can see where their inferiority complex comes from, they aren’t over-entitled, they just aren’t entitled enough.

  51. #51 New Yorker
    May 20, 2008

    GET…OVER…YOURSELF!!!

  52. #52 Tree Free
    May 20, 2008

    I wish I could commute by train and subway to work. I have to drive 80 miles a day from Amherst, MA to Swanzey, NH each day. Because it’s all back roads, it can take me as much as 90 minutes to get there, and 90 minutes back. I spend $10 a day on gasoline. When I started this job a year ago, I was spending 1/2 that. I carpool when I can, post regularly on Craigslist the route I am taking and when I will leave, but can’t find people who want to share a ride.

    By the way, how did you get a job at Google? I thought you were supposed to be brilliant. There were so many grammatical and spelling errors in your posting, I am amazed they even read your resume, let alone give you an interview

  53. #53 ScienceGeniusGirl
    May 20, 2008

    Ok, I ride the same subways as you at approximately the same time, I take the 4/5 from midtown to Bklyn. While I won’t say that “the suits” have no faults, I have to say that I have never heard them use derogatory ethnic/racial language. I’m sure that there have been times when I have been around someone saying such vulgarities but missed it, but if it were as prevalent as you claim it is then I can’t understand why I would not have heard anything like it at least once. It’s been my experience that “the suits” with such elitist attitudes stay as far away from the subways as possible. Either you somehow have managed to randomly encounter a larger proportion of these individuals than the rest of us, or as I suspect, you’re telescoping.

    But I do understand your concern with their ignorance. Yes, they can be completely unaware and get in the way but so can that girl/guy rocking out to their iPod, as well as the babysitter whose trying to wrangle three unruly kids. If “the suits” do get in your way, tell them to move; they’re not going to pull out a knife and threaten to slash you. The worst case scenario is that they’ll make some rude, snotty comments about your brashness which you can then laugh at. The best case scenario would be that you make them cry, I mean, that you teach them to be a little bit more considerate.

    Seriously, I wouldn’t try to enlighten a bunch of rowdy teenagers on the subway (they could kill me!) but a group of white guys in suits? Please! I can handle that and so can you.

  54. #54 The Ridger, FCD
    May 24, 2008

    @SLC: Wow. So that old ‘constant’ – the price of an ounce of gold will buy a good men’s suit – isn’t true anymore?

  55. #55 v
    June 1, 2008
  56. #56 Dave
    June 16, 2008

    BZZZT! Bad math.

    I’m a bit surprised to see such a stupid rant on a blog which was showing a lot of promise when I first found it today…

    Oh, and I have a bit of experience; I lived in New York for six years, up until a few months ago. There’s plenty of assholes to go around for every ethnic group, class and occupation. And this is coming from someone probably similarly inclined to generalize about the stereotype you are complaining about.

    But sheesh, this really goes against the spirit of the blog. Next time take a breather, and find a more suitable topic to post on.

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