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"Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: hal
Date: May 15, 2018 02:54PM
There has to be a line between simple bad taste and criminal activity, but right now, there doesn't seem to be a consensus...

The fuss started when Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, and Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, ended up in the same crowded elevator during a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco last month.

She said she offered to press the floor buttons for people in the elevator, whom she described as mostly conference attendees and all, except one other woman, white middle-aged men. Instead of saying a floor, Lebow smiled and asked for the women’s lingerie department "and all his buddies laughed," Sharoni wrote in a complaint, the details of which he disputed, to the association later that day.

"After they walked out, 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!" she said in her complaint.

Sharoni, who wrote in her complaint that she has experienced sexual harassment in academe in the past and was shaken by the incident, said it took her a while to figure out that Lebow thought it was funny "to make a reference to men shopping for lingerie while attending an academic conference. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that we froze and didn’t confront him," she wrote.


[www.chronicle.com]

(an aside - it's interesting that with all of the newspapers in the country with 'Chronicle' in their name, it's 'The Chronicle of Higher Education' that gets www.chronicle.com)
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 15, 2018 03:10PM
Considering he is 76, and officially an old dude, the use of 'old jokes' is kind of expected. Yeah, teaching old dogs new tricks, etc...

I recall my grandfather using the "N" word on occasion in the 80's. I was kind of surprised, then noted that his best fishing buddy was African/American Indian, and let it go.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Acer
Date: May 15, 2018 03:15PM
She is technically correct. But I don't think it helps the larger cause to be prickly about every tasteless wise crack.

<braces for impact>
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 15, 2018 03:39PM
Is this kind of thing appropriate? F no.

Is there anything we should do other than shame them? I dunno.

I mean, we have an ex-president who used to love his "David Cop-a-feel" 'joke'. Now they know to just keep the old fool away from young women.

It's sad. Hope I don't get like this when I'm old.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 15, 2018 03:52PM
Quote
pdq
I mean, we have an ex-president who used to love his "David Cop-a-feel" 'joke'. Now they know to just keep the old fool away from young women.
Don't forget the CURRENT Pedophile President... ZOMG...
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: May 15, 2018 04:50PM
Tasteless to say the least. She should have replied, "Are all you boys in town for shopping?"



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: max
Date: May 15, 2018 04:55PM
Quote
cbelt3
Quote
pdq
I mean, we have an ex-president who used to love his "David Cop-a-feel" 'joke'. Now they know to just keep the old fool away from young women.
Don't forget the CURRENT Pedophile President... ZOMG...

It takes a real snowflake to equate the two....
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Pam
Date: May 15, 2018 05:13PM
Jokes like this are not only in poor taste but may reflect a deeper attitude towards women. In this case I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt and simply point out that the old jokes don't play any more. They reflect a time that isn't gone, but was worse. Intended or not, jokes like that need to be deep sixed.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: May 15, 2018 06:25PM
Have any of the commentators realized that this is a 1920's era joke about Woolworths and other old fashioned department stores that has been repeated millions of times throughout film and television and across this civilization and is not at all in any way insulting/denigrating to women?

...From the link in the OP:

When he was young, in the 1950s, he said, it was a "standard gag line" to ask the elevator operator for the hardware or lingerie floor as though one were in a department store.

From the Washington Post letters section:
[www.washingtonpost.com]

There was nothing wrong with this elevator joke...

In the 1940s and 1950s, large department stores hired employees who operated the elevators. On each floor the operator would call out: “Housewares, luggage and bedding!”; “Ladies’ lingerie and beach apparel!” Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London and the 2014 recipient of a distinguished scholar award from the International Studies Association, was simply making fun of an archaic system. I have made similar comments on occasion in a crowded elevator. An apology was not necessary. Lighten up, people!


...Even if it's something to avoid in this sensitive climate on the off chance that a visiting professor from Romania might misinterpret it as a slight against women, this is such a trivial incident that we should not be talking about it.

F-ck! I've been using that same damned joke since I was 5, after I heard it on the Jack Benny show!







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2018 06:26PM by Sarcany.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: hal
Date: May 15, 2018 06:37PM
While I'm mostly with you, Sarcany - I think you can't say that it's just a harmless joke. If delivered in just the right/wrong way, it could be creepy as hell.

One man, one woman in an elevator, the woman asks, 'what floor?'; and the man says,"Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" with the tone and body language that says, 'I'd LIKE seeing women in lingerie... I'd like to see YOU in lingerie.'

YUCK!!

...and you can't say that it's innocent because you've been using it since you were a kid and it's harmless... I know guys telling n-word jokes 20 years ago that used the same defense.

I've been told that I can't say Oriental when referring to people from east asia. Honestly... I have no idea why this has become a bad word, but I don't want to offend people, so...
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Pam
Date: May 15, 2018 06:41PM
Quote
Sarcany
Have any of the commentators realized that this is a 1920's era joke about Woolworths and other old fashioned department stores that has been repeated millions of times throughout film and television and across this civilization and is not at all in any way insulting/denigrating to women?

...From the link in the OP:

When he was young, in the 1950s, he said, it was a "standard gag line" to ask the elevator operator for the hardware or lingerie floor as though one were in a department store.

From the Washington Post letters section:
[www.washingtonpost.com]

There was nothing wrong with this elevator joke...

In the 1940s and 1950s, large department stores hired employees who operated the elevators. On each floor the operator would call out: “Housewares, luggage and bedding!”; “Ladies’ lingerie and beach apparel!” Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London and the 2014 recipient of a distinguished scholar award from the International Studies Association, was simply making fun of an archaic system. I have made similar comments on occasion in a crowded elevator. An apology was not necessary. Lighten up, people!


...Even if it's something to avoid in this sensitive climate on the off chance that a visiting professor from Romania might misinterpret it as a slight against women, this is such a trivial incident that we should not be talking about it.

F-ck! I've been using that same damned joke since I was 5, after I heard it on the Jack Benny show!

Unless you're familiar with the material, and most will be too young, it will fall flat and sound tone deaf and even threatening. As we get older we have to adapt. There are things my family said that I've had to scratch out. As a woman, I'd cringe at that comment these days. I'd not get it. Why not say hardware or luggage or housewares? Or at least combine lingerie with furniture or kids clothing so others might get the joke. That might not even work. I'm almost 60 and elevator operators didn't exist in my world. I am familiar with Jack Benny and in skits and movies I'd get the context. You can't get upset because someone isn't old enough to understand the joke. Especially when there is no context.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: May 15, 2018 07:18PM
Quote
Pam
Quote
Sarcany
Have any of the commentators realized that this is a 1920's era joke about Woolworths and other old fashioned department stores that has been repeated millions of times throughout film and television and across this civilization and is not at all in any way insulting/denigrating to women?

...From the link in the OP:

When he was young, in the 1950s, he said, it was a "standard gag line" to ask the elevator operator for the hardware or lingerie floor as though one were in a department store.

From the Washington Post letters section:
[www.washingtonpost.com]

There was nothing wrong with this elevator joke...

In the 1940s and 1950s, large department stores hired employees who operated the elevators. On each floor the operator would call out: “Housewares, luggage and bedding!”; “Ladies’ lingerie and beach apparel!” Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London and the 2014 recipient of a distinguished scholar award from the International Studies Association, was simply making fun of an archaic system. I have made similar comments on occasion in a crowded elevator. An apology was not necessary. Lighten up, people!


...Even if it's something to avoid in this sensitive climate on the off chance that a visiting professor from Romania might misinterpret it as a slight against women, this is such a trivial incident that we should not be talking about it.

F-ck! I've been using that same damned joke since I was 5, after I heard it on the Jack Benny show!

Unless you're familiar with the material, and most will be too young, it will fall flat and sound tone deaf and even threatening. As we get older we have to adapt. There are things my family said that I've had to scratch out. As a woman, I'd cringe at that comment these days. I'd not get it. Why not say hardware or luggage or housewares?

'Cause that's not the joke.

It was so pervasive that when new department stores opened, they'd put lingerie on the 3rd floor out of habit.

This is literally our history and culture and is NOT the misogynistic part.

I can see apologizing to her on the spot and maybe trying to explain the joke if it appeared that she took offense.

But by her own account, she stewed over it in the context of harassment that she'd had from other colleagues and then after days of stewing -- instead of reporting those people who deliberately sought to demean her -- she struck out at an easy target over something that a rational person would have shrugged off at worst.

This sort of thing happens time and again. This man accidentally triggered her with something that would have been harmless anywhere else.

Life is too short to fret and punish people over trigger-words. ANYTHING can be a trigger word in the right context.

...

Anyway, the other acceptable punchline is "ladies' haberdashery." Nobody knows what that means anymore and that one is genuinely sexist.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2018 07:22PM by Sarcany.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: max
Date: May 15, 2018 07:27PM
But all PC fascist go all full tilt, because of all snowlakes' cultural ignorance and tunnel vision....




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end.
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution;
one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Pam
Date: May 15, 2018 07:46PM
Quote
Sarcany
Quote
Pam
Quote
Sarcany
Have any of the commentators realized that this is a 1920's era joke about Woolworths and other old fashioned department stores that has been repeated millions of times throughout film and television and across this civilization and is not at all in any way insulting/denigrating to women?

...From the link in the OP:

When he was young, in the 1950s, he said, it was a "standard gag line" to ask the elevator operator for the hardware or lingerie floor as though one were in a department store.

From the Washington Post letters section:
[www.washingtonpost.com]

There was nothing wrong with this elevator joke...

In the 1940s and 1950s, large department stores hired employees who operated the elevators. On each floor the operator would call out: “Housewares, luggage and bedding!”; “Ladies’ lingerie and beach apparel!” Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London and the 2014 recipient of a distinguished scholar award from the International Studies Association, was simply making fun of an archaic system. I have made similar comments on occasion in a crowded elevator. An apology was not necessary. Lighten up, people!


...Even if it's something to avoid in this sensitive climate on the off chance that a visiting professor from Romania might misinterpret it as a slight against women, this is such a trivial incident that we should not be talking about it.

F-ck! I've been using that same damned joke since I was 5, after I heard it on the Jack Benny show!

Unless you're familiar with the material, and most will be too young, it will fall flat and sound tone deaf and even threatening. As we get older we have to adapt. There are things my family said that I've had to scratch out. As a woman, I'd cringe at that comment these days. I'd not get it. Why not say hardware or luggage or housewares?

'Cause that's not the joke.

It was so pervasive that when new department stores opened, they'd put lingerie on the 3rd floor out of habit.

This is literally our history and culture and is NOT the misogynistic part.

I can see apologizing to her on the spot and maybe trying to explain the joke if it appeared that she took offense.

But by her own account, she stewed over it in the context of harassment that she'd had from other colleagues and then after days of stewing -- instead of reporting those people who deliberately sought to demean her -- she struck out at an easy target over something that a rational person would have shrugged off at worst.

This sort of thing happens time and again. This man accidentally triggered her with something that would have been harmless anywhere else.

Life is too short to fret and punish people over trigger-words. ANYTHING can be a trigger word in the right context.

...

Anyway, the other acceptable punchline is "ladies' haberdashery." Nobody knows what that means anymore and that one is genuinely sexist.

You say it's history and culture, but for who??? Just because you are familiar with it doesn't mean others, or even most are. That joke would go over most people's heads.

Now you're victim shaming. Just because she didn't get the joke doesn't mean that she didn't feel like a victim. I've had a lifetime of jabs and I would have felt very uncomfortable in that situation. Not because I was triggered but because it was par for the course. Confront on the spot, Ha! Most of the time that is a bad idea.

I get that you don't understand. Walk a mile sort of thing. All you need to do is accept that what you view as harmless jokes from the past will not be understood and may be seen as offensive now. Tell my daughter that in a hotel elevator and she's likely to feel very threatened. This is just another "it's HER problem" rather than men thinking before they speak.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: May 15, 2018 08:14PM
Quote
Pam
Now you're victim shaming...

I work in academia.

There is literally another suit pressed against a school that I work with every WEEK by a "victim" of trigger words. Can't teach about war or plague or read a book where a violent act occurred.

She's not a victim of this man or of the words.

She's a victim of the people who set her up for this and of the society that oppressed her. (Which happens not to be America.)

And now she's made another victim.

This is STUPID. It makes nothing better.



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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: max
Date: May 15, 2018 08:56PM
Quote
Pam
Now you're victim shaming. Just because she didn't get the joke doesn't mean that she didn't feel like a victim. I've had a lifetime of jabs ....
So have many others, including myself.
Big deal.
Get a tougher skin and get ahead.

She is only a victim of her own stupidity and her own ignorance....




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end.
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution;
one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: May 15, 2018 09:06PM
Much ado about nothing.
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Re: "Let me off at the ladies’ lingerie department" - a bad joke or a crime?
Posted by: Janit
Date: May 16, 2018 06:49AM
Often the most effective response is some kind of turnabout, though it is usually very difficult for someone who feels threatened to find a good comeback in the moment.

"If you are headed to ladies lingerie, don't you think you should stop at male enhancements first?"

Would the man take that as a joke? Informative to find out.
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