Gentlemen, pardon our stupidity. . .

This was the subject line from one of my history department colleagues during a heated discussion about the ways in which Obama’s campaign of “hope” resembled that of FDR in 1936. Our resident blow-hard in the Communication Department insisted that the economy got worse between 1933 and 1936. I dug out evidence from Historical Statistics of the United States on our library website that indicated that in fact unemployment dropped from 25 to 16 percent and that the GNP rose. Still this jerk could not believe that those of us with lady parts could actually get our facts correct. This led my colleague to write, “ I know we are only women, and therefore we just cannot get our facts right. Heather is just an expert on the New Deal, but what would she know about the Great Depression? . . . I apologize on behalf of the female faculty who presumed that we were equal with our male colleagues in the brains department. What chutzpah!

I am grateful that so many of my male colleagues felt free to tell me in so many words how completely dumb I am because I really had no idea. Here I was being respectful of differences of opinion, thinking I could expect the same, but I see now that my ideas are just plain idiocy and therefore don’t need to be respected. Thank you for pointing out that “historians ought to know better,” and “Kathy should know better,” because obviously I should but I just don’t. Oh, I think I will just go bake something…”

Right on! Maybe we female faculty should also adopt “Respect” as our personal theme song.

6 thoughts on “Gentlemen, pardon our stupidity. . .

  1. Come on now. When the guys are just being guys that doesn’t mean you have to start crying and throw in the towel.

    you put your foot down and Lord it over them that you are correct and they are wrong. Tell them if they can’t deal with that then they are behaving in a way that reflects badly upon men in general.

    If you want to debate with the men then you must learn to play by their rules. If you can’t stand the heat then stay out of the kitchen. Unless you’re baking the guys some cookies of course.

  2. Dear Southernvoice,

    Unfortunately, this guy will never admit he’s wrong no matter what evidence you produce to refute him. Most on our listserv would agree that he reflects poorly on men in general. Still, I don’t think we should just let guys be guys. As Audre Lorde said, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” adding, “They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”

  3. Ick. But, I’m afraid it’s all too common in on-line forums that women (or people percieved as women) are bullied out of on-line discussions by aggressive men who don’t accept that there are legitimate differences of opinion that women might hold. They see their mission as either forcing their opponents to agree with them, and failing that, insulting, patronizing, and demonizing them. On many supposedly “liberal” blogs (, Clinton supporters have virtually disappeared from the comments sections because of the viciousness of those opposed to Clinton’s candidacy. The worst example I’ve seen of this was on the Coffeehouse discussion of Susan Faludi’s new book, _The Terror Dream_, where the author was gracious enough to contribute to the discussion. She was repaid for her efforts by the Talkingpointsmemo team taking a HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT who hadn’t read the book and had no knowledge of American history, and elevating him into a featured “debater” with Faludi. So, Heather, you’re in great company! It happens even to Susan Faludi! And both of your male interlocutors are shameless in their ignorance and condescention.

  4. Wow, things are exciting down there in New Britain. Come on up to UHartford for a breather. Haven’t had anything that exciting going on up here.

  5. Those are cheap tactics. When they start calling names and assaulting you then you may simply announce that you have won the debate.

    I thought I was a liberal until I came online and began reading the leftwing internet everyday. I read the liberal news everyday for years and I discovered that the liberals out of the northeast are the biggest bigots in the world.

    They are anything but progressive and if you don’t walk in lockstep then you are called, get this, a Christian, and told to get lost bub.

    I am a democrat but I probably hate liberals more than Rush Limbaugh hates them. They’ve destroyed the democratic party and driven millions out. Now the neocons are destroying the republican party.

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