Pile on!!!

Don’t miss your chance to join the Pile On over at “Ethics and Science” … Greg Laden, it turns out, is not only not funny but he is a sexist bastard with no credentials.


  1. #1 Virgil Samms
    April 28, 2008

    Greg Laden, it turns out, is not only not funny but he is a sexist bastard with no credentials.

    I bet he kicks puppies too.

  2. #2 Christian
    April 28, 2008

    This goes to show that you simply can not make any joke that is even remotely connected to feminism without causing a (long, long) fuss (with an even longer tail of comments). Some religions and ideologies are simply off-limit, such as feminism or Islam. Jokes about scientists or Christianity are mostly OK though, so all you have to do is to always stay inside the politically correct boundaries.

    You have to admit though, that some of the comments are pretty funny themselves. I especially like this one: “The point here is that Greg hasn’t made feminism enough a part of his blog that he has sufficient in-group status to make that kind of joke.” That kind of thinking is just awe-inspiring 🙂

    And since all this fuss is really about light bulb jokes:

    Q: How many statisticians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A1) 1-3, alpha = .05
    A2) 0.9973 after the first three iterations.
    A3) One — plus or minus three (small sample size).

    As a statistician, I have to admit that I like that one 🙂

    And as a head nod to you and other biologists:

    Did you hear about the biologist who had twins?
    She baptized one and kept the other as a control.

    That joke ought to be PC enough. Biology, by the way, happens to be the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division….

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    April 28, 2008

    What about the three statisticians who go rabbit hunting???

  4. #4 Gerard Harbison
    April 28, 2008

    What, you ain’t feeling the love over there?

    When you lie down with dogs, man, don’t wonder why you wake up with fleas. That’s the feminist left, in full rabid pursuit. An equally mild joke I posted a few months back had them writing blog posts about whether my university could be sued under Title IX for what I post on my private blog. Enjoy!

  5. #5 Christian
    April 28, 2008

    Well, since you asked about the three hunting statisticians…

    They spot a rabbit. The first statistician shootsand misses the rabbit’s head by 12 inches. So the second statistician takes aim and firesand misses the rabbit’s tail by a foot. The third statistician immediately cries out, “We got ’em!”

  6. #6 mlf
    April 28, 2008

    Two people walk into a bar. The third one ducks.

  7. #7 Virgil Samms
    April 28, 2008

    No credentials“?

    He’s got a science degree!

  8. #8 uncle noel
    April 28, 2008

    I always heard it as “…change a light bulb…”. Your way invites the thought, “Who’s ever heard of a light bulb big enough to screw in?”. I think the best comment was the “How many…THAT’S NOT FUNNY!” one. Tres apropos.
    The implication that some feminists use arcane-to-meaningless post-modernist language is obviously a capital offense. Apparently it’s almost as bad as being from Texas.
    (You said pile on!)

  9. #9 Aerik
    April 28, 2008

    The problem with that post of yours, Greg, is not only that you told an obviously sexist joke, but that you insisted “But I have a feminist friend, so I can’t be sexist”, with the assumptions that your friend is a competent feminist, or if she is, you probably mentioned to her in a sarcastic reference to something else, and that it’s impossible to have a woman friend and be misogynist at the same time, must like saying “but I have a black friend.”

    It was retarded and sexist the whole way through.

  10. #10 Gerard Harbison
    April 28, 2008

    I’m sorry, but much though one might want to immunize one’s ideology from criticism or satire, making fun of feminism is not making fun of women, and jokes that lampoon feminism are not inherently sexist. Some feminists (including many of the most humorless ones) are men.

  11. #11 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    making waves, making waves G-money!!! But that’s what you DO. I recall a time when I too was irrate with your sharply skilled attitude and no excuses nor apologies for it. Then I decided to open my eyes and actually learn something. jackass. you done ruined me. now i’m dodging bullets and pirates to come home to wash my panties in the shower. But I DO have running water!!!

    i once heard that living is easy with eyes closed….

  12. #12 Feminist Friend
    April 28, 2008

    I’m still waiting on my Feminist Certification Certificate to arrive, but I think I can still say a little piece about the issue of this joke. First of all, I don’t think the joke is sexist, exactly. It’s aimed at feminists (and self-identified ones at that) and not women as a whole. I don’t know the word for that, but I think there is a distiction between the two.

    But secondly, I think the joke is offensive because it shows a general disregard for the validity of feminism. The joke frames feminism as something that is highly academic or intellectual or highly concerned with theory. It makes it seem like feminism is just a bunch of high-minded tooty fruity language, hahaha, those feminists just can’t be understood. And that’s NOT what feminism is about. Feminism is about, for example, making sure that girls with a passion for anthropology get an equal chance as their male counterparts to pursue it. It’s about making sure that along the way those same girls are not overcome with messages from the media telling them that the only way to happiness is size 0 jeans, keeping them safe in a culture where women’s bodies are seen as objects for male pleasure and that as adults women are paid equally for their work as men. (Your female students who are graduating in just a few weeks still earn, on average, 77 cents to the dollar of their male classmates!)

    I think the joke just shows that you are disconnected from feminism, or think that it’s unimportant. That’s a real disservice, as a Professor and a prominent science blogger. Feminism is a real, concrete, every day thing. To pretend that its not, or suggest that its laughingly theoretical is simply disappointing. Not exactly sexist, but certainly not exactly harmless.

  13. #13 Elizabeth
    April 28, 2008

    Fem Friend:

    I did not take the joke that way at all. I saw this joke as a parody of overly pretentious language. Also, your stark comments about what you think you know Laden to think and believe (“the joke just shows that you are disconnected from feminism, or think that it’s unimportant”) are based more on what you assume in your own head than what is likely to be true. Is it OK for you to walk around “knowing” what is in other people’s mind and heart?

  14. #14 justawriter
    April 28, 2008
  15. #15 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    Woah now!!!

    Mz. Feminist Friend, I’m assuming this culture you speak of is in the United States?

    So I have feminism to thank for “…keeping them safe in a culture where women’s bodies are seen as objects for male pleasure and that as adults women are paid equally for their work as men”?

    And if feminism is so, wouldn’t that 77 cents be a better rate? Wouldn’t women stop objectifying themselves to bring home the big spender?

  16. #16 notfunny2
    April 28, 2008

    Actually Greg, there is a difference between saying that a joke you made is sexist, and calling you personally a sexist, which is a distinction that many of us made. As for “credentials”, well, you’re the one who raised that idea with regard to your student. Of course there is no such thing.

    You know, everyone in this world, and especially in a diverse place like a university, or an expat community, or an online community like ScienceBlogs, has gone into a discussion with the best of intentions and then had something turn out totally different from what one intended or expected. Shit happens. The easiest thing is just to say, ‘hey, I hadn’t thought this out, and I see your point, I just hope you understand that it wasn’t meant that way. And maybe I’ll give some extra thought to this.’ That’s a different approach from getting defensive or grasping at straws to defend a position that you maybe weren’t really trying to take on the first place. The joke was, well, awkward at best, offensive at worst, but to be honest what really started to stoke the fire was your reactions to dissenting opinions.

    Recently I was part of a community that made a decision that, through unfamiliarity with an older language, inadvertently used a phrasing that some African-American members of the community considered offensive. The reaction divided into two parts: people like me who said, ‘hey, I had no idea about this and I’m not a racist, but now that I understand how some people are seeing this, I think we should just fix this since there isn’t any compelling reason to keep the phrasing as-is.’ And there were others who said, ‘no I’m not racist and I’ve never been racist, so the phrasing stays. I don’t need to change it because I’m not a racist so it’s not racist.’ Meanwhile, guess what? The African-Americans members felt double shafted. First because of the unintentional racism, and then again when nobody wanted to validate how they felt or just change the damn phrasing. In the end the phrasing remained as-is because people felt that admitting it was maybe not the best phrasing = admitting they are racist. Ironically, the situation didn’t actually become racist until that group of people refused to back down.

    I am reminded of that story because of the similarities in dynamic to this situation.

    Sure, it’s a free country, and we can all say what we want. And I’m willing to cut slack for ‘good intentions’ as well. But it’s also good to keep in mind that sometimes, choosing words carefully is about respect for the feelings of other human beings, and not just some kind of ‘politically correct conspiracy’ like people want to invoke.

  17. #17 Feminst Friend
    April 28, 2008

    Elizabeth- I’m sorry, I wasn’t totally careful about my language. I don’t mean to say that I think Greg is totally disconnected to feminism. I think the joke is. I don’t think I “know” what is anyone’s head. It’s just how I saw the joke (and the response from Janet) and how I interpreted it. It’s my impression, and certainly not the truth written in stone.

    And Laurisa- “And if feminism is so, wouldn’t that 77 cents be a better rate?” I’m sorry, I guess I don’t understand the question. A better rate than what? The examples I gave are just a few every day ordinary things feminists think about and work on, not examples of things that feminism is either to blame for or have solved. I hope that makes more sense.

    For the record, I don’t think Greg is sexist. I don’t think he’s ill intentioned or has any malice in his heart or mind. I just think that means there’s all the more reason to stand up and say “hey, I feel differently and this is why” (like notfunny2 said). Not because Greg’s a bad guy, but because he’s a good one and deserves honest reactions.

  18. #19 Greg Laden
    April 28, 2008


    I do have to say, every time I see a post from you I am happy, just knowing that you are, well, alive and free.

    I also think, since when do the problems of a bunch of people on the blogosphere amount to more than a hill of beans. Compared, say, to jungle warfare, being kidnapped by rebels, etc.

    Keep your head down.

  19. #20 laurisa
    April 28, 2008


    it’s a wild ride in which you planted the seed many moons ago.

    and blogosphere cracks me up. Where is this quaint little e-world that all the i-people live? Today I had to have the sign writer create a board with the rules on how to behave while encountering pirates.

    And I keep coming back. mad love right back.

    keep givin’ it hell for my reading pleasure, plz.

  20. #21 the real cmf
    April 28, 2008

    re: Aerik ” assumptions that your friend is a competent feminist,”
    Wut, now there’s like, a competency degree in dogmatic, inherently sexist misandrist representations of the world? Oh, yeah…Womens Studies…

    Greg incompetent to discuss feminism? Bullshit! After all, man= chimp, so feminist; bonobo…feminism=bonobo…”peace loving egalitarian–but matriarchal societies”… right?

    and re: “Wouldn’t women stop objectifying themselves to bring home the big spender”..the answer is likely NO, if the closeted, money hungry followers of Suz Orman and Oprah are any example at all. The gender of the deep pocketed target just changes from male to female.

  21. #22 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    that’s my point cmf.

  22. #23 Dusty59
    April 28, 2008

    Wow. the post and comments pretty much make your point.

  23. #24 Napoleon Champagne
    April 28, 2008

    Ever notice that women and so-called equality were the most effective union-busting technique in anti-labor history?

    And all of this 77 cents to the dollar? Take ONE bill Gates out of that equation and then go see what it looks like–or just step into any office in academia, or gov’t: chock full o’ women…

    and why is it exactly that I never see women sweating away doing the hard labor of summer in the suburbs? Nope. No women carrying armloads of bricks up chimneys…nope…no illegal women immigrants toiling away behind hot tar trucks in the 90 degree weather…nope, don’t see no women climbing that third story wall frame to pull up a piece of plywood….the hard work is definitely not evidencing women…”gonna get me a hammer and a nail, lean how to UuUuUuse my hands…” Nope.

    Miley Cyrus is a billionaire tho’… must be a feminist who knows her value..

    And Greg is definitely NOT nice…hangin’ out with monkeys and bushmen, and always lookin’ for “good bones” (what a patriarchal endeavor that is)!! … evil incarnate >;-)

  24. #25 the real cmf
    April 28, 2008

    laurisa: Suz Orman, or bonobos?

  25. #26 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    napoleon, you’re funny: Come visit me! these women got shit on their heads I can’t get into a pickup truck, while the men meander behind carrying a chicken.

    Definitely NOT the suburbs!!!

  26. #27 notfunny2
    April 28, 2008

    Well, this is where I get off the bus. I made the rare choice of sticking my neck out to actually discuss something as honestly as I could. Whatevs.

  27. #28 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    cmf, no baby, the last quip. oprahs, operas, dramas..

    but i see you’re point on bonobos. I don’t know that qualifies greg to talk about feminism…? (<;

  28. #29 daenku32
    April 28, 2008

    I’m glad to say that I’m making 77 cent to my wife’s dollar. And we both do relatively equal jobs.

  29. #30 murcielago
    April 28, 2008

    Damn straight he is.

    Man, you’re pretty good most of the time, but that was a tone-deaf joke that wasn’t actually even funny enough to be worth it. (For tone-deaf jokes that ARE worth it, see the “dead baby joke” genre.) And the worst part is that if you’d switched the screwer-in of lightbulbs to “social theorists”, or even just added the word “academic” to the first part (i.e. “academic feminists”), the joke would have been accurate enough to be worth a chuckle.

    Can’t speak to your credentials, but you can’t just pout when the audience doesn’t like your jokes. Just think of how cringingly bad it is when some loony right-winger tries to make a funny. Suck it up and move on.

  30. #31 Greg Laden
    April 28, 2008

    mu, et al. I just want to set the record straight. At no time did I ever care if anyone found this joke funny. It is only a little funny, after all, and at no time did I ‘pout’ … (where the heck does that come from)?

    I did object here and there to having intention or meaning attributed to something I’ve said/not said done/not done where that is not accurate. That happens a lot here in the blogosphere and I find it annoying every time. Think about that for a second. How do you react to someone asserting what you are thinking or what you mean to say or do when the assertion is entirely wrong? And, often, the incorrect assertion is nothing other than self-serving hype for the person making the assertion? Do you see what I mean?

    I suppose I should develop a thicker skin in that area, just expect less of people, and all that.

  31. #32 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    come now gLaden. If assertions were projected onto me, my reaction would be to crush them with my big brain. only, that big brain part…hmm…that’s not me, that’s YOU, dawg.

    And lighten up, huh? I got a kick out of this one, and I am POSITIVE not all received my statements the way they were meant.

  32. #33 Adrienne
    April 28, 2008

    What is it with all the self-pitying sciencebloggers these days? First Chris Mooney, now you. Come off it, Greg, Janet was not nasty to you in any way, shape, or form, in her post about your joke.

  33. #34 Greg Laden
    April 28, 2008


    You are RIGHT! Janet was not nasty to me at all. Not even a little. Never said she was.

  34. #35 Spaulding
    April 28, 2008

    Thicker skins all around, please. Christian’s counterexamples and Feminist Friend’s point are worth digesting if you’re looking for a discussion of humor or feminism, respectively. With all the humor leeched from it (and that’s what happens when you discuss a joke), the joke went something like this:

    Q: blah blah blah feminists?
    A: Many prominent feminists are characterized by use of opaque jargon, which distances them from real-world situations.

    Now that’s not sexism, it’s a reasonable position statement for a debate. It might be countered by saying “such feminists are not characteristic of feminism as a whole”, as Feminist Friend said above, or by saying “jargon is used for precision rather than obfuscation”, or some other such counterstatement.

    Insisting that jokes are not ironic or deliberately disruptive overstatements is an incorrect assumption, and applying that misunderstanding to presume a literal interpretation of the speaker’s intent is fallacious. However, the subjective humor value of any joke is not a matter for debate.

  35. #36 Onkel Bob
    April 28, 2008

    Many years ago I went on what the USAF so innocently calls a “recovery.” What we were recovering were the remains from a plane crash. The protocol was to stick a flag in the ground for airplane parts (green flag) and red one for body parts (red). Because it was mostly airplane parts I found I was happily sticking in the green flags until I found a boot, a boot with the former owner’s foot still inside. I promptly vomited and went into a panic attack. A more senior and experienced member of the team walked over and proceeded to do a “this little piggy” routine.
    Now consider this act of graveyard humor – utterly completely disrespectful to the person who lost his/her life in the service of our country. If that person’s kin were there it would have been completely inappropriate and absolutely wrong. Yet it immediately provided levity and mirth to a grim task. It distracted the others enough from me to allow them to continue the task at hand and provided me with the ability to recover and resume my duties. (The next body part I found I simply planted the flag and moved on.)
    Although you may not consider the joke under discussion as gallows or graveyard humor; however, I do. It makes light of a serious situation and does so in a manner that distracts the reader. The subject is one that would otherwise be simply frustrating and demoralizing.
    As the line from the film goes – “Lighten up Francis.”

  36. #37 Napoleon Champagne
    April 28, 2008

    laurisa: “napoleon, you’re funny: Come visit me!”

    Here I come to save the da-a-aa-y…I am on my way!!
    AND I am bringing a cavalry of American feminists who complain about 77 to the dollar, just so they can get their feet wet with the awful actual meaning of “wooork”…rather than hypothetically hating it and singing glorifying songs about it, or compa-laining about the biased workplace before moving out of moms basement…

    ..or watching American men die early American man deaths eight to ten years before women from actually DOING wooork…;-)

    But to you, I take off my mouse ears, and say ” keep up the good work”wherever you are( where are you btw?)

    …but maybe toss those chicken toting menfolk a little bone of understanding? After all, they carry a lighter load so their hands can remain free to protect them against penis theft!!

    I guess we American mens is lucky tho’, cuz in America, penis theft is technically illegal: we call it instead by arcane euphimistic labels like “divorce settlement”, and biased “child support” legislation…”the tender years doctrine…” and other forms of legalized cuckoldry…

    Greg: “I suppose I should develop a thicker skin in that area” WTF NO! Just grow more silver on that back! They’ll figure it out…

  37. #38 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    ah, napoleon, jeez man. Maybe a better question is where are YOU, and who are these women that you know? I’d be alarmed too!

    You are correct, the plumbing around here is a very serious concern. I appreciate the link.

    But truly, I have seen some of the craziest things on a female: carrying a window AC on her head, a baby wrapped to her back, bending at the knees to pick up perhaps small treasures off the ground.

    And wtf is a Man Death? arrrgg, matey!!! ;>)

  38. #39 Napoleon Champagne
    April 28, 2008

    laurissa: *American Man Death= numerous work related injuries not covered by workers comp;likely divorced and fleeced by the courts; 1 in 100 chance of having had major stress due to incarceration; higher rate of homelessness; non/underinsured;high likelihood that cancer from smoking was involved(white males especially hard hit); 10-15 years earlier than Cuban men who have socialized health care–and whose women have access to abortion clinics http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab-cuba.html

    *plumbing, women, AC, AND treasure in the same breath 😉

  39. #40 laurisa
    April 28, 2008

    got me there!!!! ha ha… jackass. I walked right into that.

    Ok-I had no idea of the AmManDeath concept. Is this a movement? What about the demographics, can we find large clusters on a map? Seriously? Is this an exclusive club as well? I can’t help but to think of ‘Fight Club’ when the morbid bitch joined the prostate cancer group.

    I’m speechless.

  40. #41 Napoleon Champagne
    April 28, 2008

    laurissa: AMD is a phenomenon most are unaware of. It is my loose working construct based in stats that you can find anywhere.

    Here in the states when the attorneys general co-opted individual rights to sue cigarrette companies, most of the dying was already done, and it was white males who done did it…so when I see young Af/Am males lighing up a “B&M” these days, I realize that cancer is the gift that keeps on giving–to men.Irony? All through that era, Cuban men(arch enemy of plantation belt conservatives) were living into their 80’s…

    Now, if we could only sue the “birth control” manufacturers for the provably false claims of 99% effectiveness…but that would have to be a whole new natiowide discussion, with unprecedented honesty…

    hehehe: fight club…morbid bitch…hehehe…but no girls allowed!( unless they carry baskets of bricks on their headsup and down chimneys all day and have carry a “my willingness to work for less sold the unions to the confederacy” sticker on their cars…probably volkswagons… )

    Is it just me or is Palahniuk the most transparent, flimsy, and superficial man to ever attempt to describe maleness?

  41. #42 Ed Darrell
    April 28, 2008

    Ann Richards used to tell the one about Fred Astaire — his dancing was great, but remember Ginger Rogers had to do the same stuff, backwards, and in heels.

    I still like it. It’s sexist as hell — against men. It suggests maybe women who wear high heels shouldn’t.

    But it makes you think. It’s got enough truth in it that it stings, whether you’re a male, whether you’re a woman who likes to dress well and “feminately” (Ann Richards certainly dressed well). It stung in all the right places. Anyone with half a brain would appreciate the joke for being a great joke, and appreciate the barbs for puncturing the right pompous asses’ balloons.

    Jokes are living things. When you dissect it, it dies. Some jokes shouldn’t be dissected just for that reason.

  42. #43 Barn Owl
    April 28, 2008

    Heh, heh…Ann Richards was also the one who said of Bush I, “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

    Oh, sorry-was that wealthist? Ivy Leagueist, maybe?

  43. #44 Colugo
    April 29, 2008

    This was Greg Laden’s mistake: he’s not a woman! If he were a woman with feminist credentials he could tell the joke. (Sorry, being a male feminist won’t do for the purpose of telling jokes.)

    He should have retooled the joke so it went “How many biological anthropologists…” and used a bunch of jargon particular to the subfield. Or “How many bearded blogging boomers …”

    About a year ago Garrison Keillor made some “funny” remarks about gays which I’m sure he thought came across as affectionate and knowing since he regards himself as a semi-insider because he had gay friends. Of course, Keillor was skewered. Because only gays can write about gays like that. It’s why Jewish comics tell Jewish jokes, and only a black comedian like Chris Rock could get away with that sketch advising black people about how to act around police officers. (So how does Sarah Silverman get away with it? I guess because she is ostensibly commenting on bigotry rather than doing an Andrew Dice Clay kind of thing and actually mocking various ethnic groups.)

  44. #45 Greg Laden
    April 29, 2008

    Ann Richards used to tell the one about Fred Astaire — his dancing was great, but remember Ginger Rogers had to do the same stuff, backwards, and in heels.

    I think that was actually feminist Gloria Steinem who said that first.

    About a year ago Garrison Keillor made some “funny” remarks about gays

    I missed that. But actually, my joke, thematically, is similar to a skit GK did a while back … a guy noir skit … in which guy gets a feminist client hot by using a lot of post modern jargon.

  45. #46 Napoleon Champagne
    April 29, 2008

    “But actually, my joke, thematically, is similar to a skit GK did …in which guy gets a feminist client hot by using a lot of post modern jargon.”

    yeah but in this one, it got MORE than one feminist all worked up, you knuckle dragging miscreant >;-)

    Who up there said that “Jewish comics tell Jewish jokes”? That’s a laugh in itself: who do you think it is actually that packages PC for the rest of us to bicker over anyways?
    How does Sarah Silver… dude, unpackage that sans your libido…

  46. #47 laurisa
    April 30, 2008

    anyway, i didn’t think it was funny so much as demostrating a point. you did good, son. I would venture a guess; you were amused at some points during the discussion. Maybe I killed the blog. Certainly overpowered, my apologizes. That’s how we DO over here in ,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Hey, ah, i’m doing well. keep care, huh? i’d love to converse face to face. no use to getting in someone’s crossfire…big up, L

  47. #48 Stephanie Z
    April 30, 2008

    Laurisa, how about enlivened? Not my blog, of course, but I’d say do it again any time.

  48. #49 Napoleon Champagne
    April 30, 2008

    laurissa:”Maybe I killed the blog”?

    Hmmm…I am scrolling through the entries////where was it exactly that you dropped a bucket of buzzkill? I don’t see it anywhere….hmmm laurissa said…sparkling, witty, fun conversation, sprinkled with actual sweat soaked metaphorificisms….

    Now, here’s buzzkill: “He should have…” Only a real Kant would dictate such crap….;-)

  49. #50 Greg Laden
    April 30, 2008

    Don’t worry. Only I can kill this blog. Or, maybe, Moriarty. But probably not.