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Forbes Pulls a Stupid; Bloghers Electra-fied

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The first rule of Write Club is: do not anger the feminists. The second rule is: do not anger the blogosphere. And if you’re stupid enough to anger the feminists bloggers, be prepared for the beating of your life. A little evidence to back up what you’ve suspected for a long time should be saved for the poker game, not for Forbes readers.

Forbes.com columnist Michael Noer is suddenly famous – make that infamous. His column warning men not to marry career women earned him a segment on this morning’s Today show. Let’s delve, shall we?

recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women–even those with a “feminist” outlook–are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.


Man, there are just some things you don’t say outside the locker room, free country or not, especially when it follows an exploration of whether or not wives are just more expensive hookers, “something akin to champagne or beer.”

Another gem:

After all, your typical career girl is well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged. All seemingly good things, right? Sureat least until you get married. Then, to put it bluntly, the more successful she is the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you. Sound familiar?


Maybe to Noer, but to a trove of bloggers, and to his Forbes colleagues, it didn’t sound familiar at all, unless we turn back the politically correct clock. Forbes quickly pulled the editorial and then reposted it with a counterpoint from Elizabeth Corcoran entitled “Don’t Marry A Lazy Man.”

Corcoran skirts the critical theory of critical theory that sympathizes with men who feel marginalized by their unfair portrayal in TV sitcoms (she doesn’t mention sitcoms, but wait, I’m going somewhere with this).

Think hard and try to name one positive TV dad, and Bill Cosby doesn’t count. On TV, men are oafish, shortsighted, sexist, insensitive, selfish, impatient, lazy, fat, bad cooks, worse housekeepers, and would be in danger of losing their wives to the sexy rich guy at work if their wives didn’t have a kind of sympathetic (and matronly) affection for them. You know, because you don’t hold the mentally challenged to the same standard as everybody else.

“If he can pick up new ideas faster than your puppy, you’ve got a winner,” writes Corcoran.

But Corcoran’s husband’s different, she points out, as probably most other husbands out there are different. The same goes for career women, and that’s the point. You can’t just go around pigeon-holing people, and you can’t expect to say what you’re thinking without ticking somebody off – like the Huffington Post, Gawker, and especially at BlogHer, where some are calling for a boycott of Forbes. Sorry, they’re calling for a “girlcott.”

Etymology of the word boycott
1880, from Irish Land League ostracism of Capt. Charles C. Boycott (1832-1897) land agent of Lough-Mask in County Mayo, who refused to lower rents for his tenant farmers. Quickly adopted by newspapers in languages as far afield as Japanese (boikotto). The family name is from a place in England.

Source: Etymonline.com

In addition to a wealth of name-calling, bloggers suspect Noer’s presentation to be based on selective and questionable social science studies, as well as (maybe) a marriage gone sour – hence all the focus on whorish and fickle career women.

Besides the stupidity, the heated arguments and the backlash, Noer’s Bane did illustrate one very important point, though perhaps not the point he was striving toward, while vindicating another Forbes writer. In 2005, Daniel Lyons equated the blogosphere to “an online lynch mob,” which earned him the business end of a blogosphere in denial of the greater truth.

No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory. Microsoft has been hammered by bloggers; so have CBS, CNN and ABC News, two research boutiques that criticized IBM’s Notes software, the maker of Kryptonite bike locks, a Virginia congressman outed as a homosexual and dozens of other victims–even a right-wing blogger who dared defend a blog-mob scapegoat.


But also it brings a larger point. Forbes did the right thing the second time by reposting the article with a rebuttal. It is, after all, about free speech. Noer can say what he wants, even if it’s stupid, and expect not to be silenced – even if critics in the blogosphere would deny him the same that they enjoy.

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Forbes Pulls a Stupid; Bloghers Electra-fied
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