[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Hamermesh writes that people who are ugly face discrimination and therefore deserve legal protection from discrimination. And there is much to be appalled with in what he writes. For instance, there is the generalized “there oughta be a law” syndrome writ large. I mean, yes, people make idiotic assumptions about people based on looks. Studies show, for instance, that people rated as ugly were more likely to be misdiagnosed as retarded when they are merely learning disabled—and disquietingly, the same is more likely to happen to black children. And how many times have people assumed that a pretty woman must be stupid or a lightweight. Of course in at least one case I suspect that this is her secret weapon:
I’m not saying that there isn’t a problem, just that there is no good legal solution. I mean what he proposes is that first a court must determine that a person is ugly and then decide if they were discriminated against based on that ugliness. His proposal runs into the familiar problems of determining who counts as ugly, creating endless litigation on the threshold issue of whether a person, as a matter of law, is an ugly person. But even if he did something more sane, like proposing a law that banned all discrimination based on physical attractiveness or the lack thereof—and not just ugliness—the fact is it would effectively make every single employment decision the subject of a very likely lawsuit.
Not to mention other offensive nuggets like this:
Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
It’s bad enough that people stereotype the disabled as ugly and the ugly as disabled, but this idiot would write that bigotry into the law.
But don’t get fooled by any of this. Look again at the very first line of the editorial, before the first insipid word about the plight of the ugly is written:
Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, is the author of “[title deleted],” published this month.
Why did I delete the name of the book he is pimping? Because that is what he is really fishing for. He writes an insipid essay arguing for a dumb law, not because he ever expects any such thing to pass, but because it will draw attention to his book.
Mind you, that is just my opinion based on nothing but the essay itself, but that is my sincere belief. He is not really trying to convince us of anything, but trying to create outrage on the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
So don’t fall for it. Ignore him.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]