Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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23 July 2005

The MSM Is Ripping Me Off!

Following the lead of the Washington Post, now the New York Times has decided to poach my work without credit! Under the guise of a news story on a male violinist's sexual discrimination suit against the NY Philharmonic, the Times essentially re-hashes my article on Biodiversity at The Philharmonic. So that's twice in less than ten days that an icon of the Main Stream Media has needed to tap into my little blog for a story.

NYT: women count for 7 of the 12 violists, 6 of 11 cellists and 2 of 9 double bass players.
Me: I counted 18 first violinists. Six were men, 12 were women. A survey of the strings generally confirmed that at least half were women, except for the double basses, where only 1 of the 8 (eight!) was a woman.
NYT: ...a glance at rosters bear out other gender generalities: brass players tend to be men, though more and more French horn players are female; woodwinds are more mixed. Men play percussion; women play harps.
Me: Among the 20 woodwinds, 7 were women, but this is deceptive: of these, 4 were playing flutes (4 out of the 5 flautists). Of the remaining 15, only 3 were women. There were two harpists, and both were women, and two keyboardists, one a woman. But among the remainder of the orchestra, featuring 6 percussionists and 20 brass, all 26 were men.

Needless to say, my article explores more interestingly the reasons behind these tendencies. The Times could only come up with two. It blankly states "Much of this, naturally, reflects the influence of parents, who usually decide what instruments their children study." Not implausible, but hardly a proven fact. Then, more lamely, at the article's close, it quotes a female violinist: "As for the profusion of female violinists, she noted that the instrument was the smallest of the strings. 'It's easy to carry,' she said." Cute. But the obvious reason the "smallest of the strings" would be dominated by women is that women's smaller hands and fingers give them an advantage over men. No, that would be too close to declaring that innate biological differences could explain differences in ability, and that could lead to all kinds of terrible things. Don't Even Go There!!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should write them a letter and tell them to stop being copy cats

July 24, 2005 5:34 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Ha! A lot of good that would do. I wouldn't mind so much if they at least didn't insist on ignoring the elephant in the room. Ah well...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

July 24, 2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger Space said...

Really not sure where you're going on the male/female aspect of the Philharmonic. Clearly women will be playing the flute because who in their right mind wants their son to be blowing that thing. Personally, I think the same theory applies to the clarinet.

As for the violin, from my parental experience, the same logic also seems to apply. Boys, and their parents, can have a difficult time with the "manliness" of the instrument. Why it's perceived as any different than a guitar, of which I have no experience, is foreign to me. In fact, having long non-stubby fingers can be very beneficial for the violin.

Since this is my first post, I assume I'll get slammed, but thought I'd chime in anyway.

July 25, 2005 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Space, you are SUCH a liberal, panty wearing moron!

Didn't want you to be disappointed on the slamming thing. :-)

July 25, 2005 3:31 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Space, I don't think that the violin has traditionally been considered a female instrument - but I'm pretty sure that the kind of people who assign instruments to their kids based on whether it's a "girlie" instrument or not are also not the kind of people who are likely to find their children growing up to play in the NY Philharmonic. That's a pretty select crew. My feeling is that the slender fingers of females give them an edge over men that becomes quite important at the upper reaches of talent that gets you on the philharmonic.

July 25, 2005 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he got you there, space

July 26, 2005 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if a lot more women are taking up the violin than are men, it makes sense their numbers would be growing in the major orchestras.

The "slender fingers" theory sounds like pure speculation. Could be true but it's pretty tough to prove.

July 27, 2005 9:49 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

The "slender fingers" theory sounds like pure speculation. Could be true but it's pretty tough to prove.

...women are smaller than men, not in every case but men are typically larger than women, including the fingers and hands, so it makes sense that women would excel in the violin. (there are differences in men and women)

July 28, 2005 8:56 AM  
Anonymous dumbass said...

that wasn't ziel publishing it was his stupid family member who can't figure out how to work the blog

July 28, 2005 8:57 AM  

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