Patterico's Pontifications


Don’t Fall for Daniel Hamermesh’s Trap

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:59 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

So on Sunday we had what has to be one of the most insipid editorials the New York Times has ever published, where UT economics professor Hamermesh writes a column that Ted Frank calls “self-parody.”

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.]

28 Responses to “Don’t Fall for Daniel Hamermesh’s Trap”

  1. In the cases of our Leftist friends;
    beauty is skin deep, but their ugly is to the bone.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (5a8b7e)

  2. Everyone is a protected class according to imbeciles like this Prof. No matter what you are — people will judge you on first impressions and take actions against those impressions. This is as unfair as the sun rising in the east and the sky being blue.

    S. Carter aka J-Z (049336)

  3. Daniel S. Hamermesh. Now I get it.

    Seriously, I don’t like making mean jabs like above, but this is just patently ridiculous.

    What one person determines ugly, another may vow to love, honor and serve til death do them part that same ugly because in their eyes, they’re anything but ugly and their love for the person is simply that enormous.

    What this insipid Daniel S. Hamermesh is attempting to do is a) provide yet another excuse to legally extort; b) reinforce a shallow value and worth of a person based on looks; c) delineate those who are on this side of ugly and that side of beauty and give it legal credence.

    I don’t understand how one begins to do this considering beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  4. Ugh, sarcasm is not a good feeling and I wish I hadn’t posted Hamermesh’s photo, however, his op-ed and mere suggestion is really very offensive.

    “For purposes of administering a law, we surely could agree on who is truly ugly, perhaps the worst-looking 1 or 2 percent of the population.”

    This is just disgraceful. Does he consider how people whose children or spouses with some disfiguration might suffer the consequences of a public determination of “truly ugly” and/or “worst looking”?

    Another that strikes me about this is the attempt to eradicate any unfairness in life – is that a good thing? Life isn’t fair, it never has been and never will be, so in an attempt to make it more fair, is the litigious route the best route to take? Or is unfairness in life not necessarily a bad thing – can it not produce a stronger, more determined and more tenacious individual as they determine to overcome the odds?

    That this is consider worthy of a NYT op-ed piece just irritates me.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  5. Is that Megan McCain? I suppose I should know who that woman is, but I can’t place her.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  6. Steven

    Megyn Kelly, you silly man.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  7. i worry that the borderline ugly people will just stop trying

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  8. In related news, Henry Waxman was seen hastily scribbling supporting legislation.

    Cynic (3e4c20)

  9. I enthusiastically approve of that photo in general and, in particular, in the context of its use to make Aaron’s point. (The photo’s subject was, I think, making a related point when she agreed to sit for the photo; it’s intensely self-aware.) But in fairness to Mr. Den Beste (#5), that’s a glamour shot of Ms. Kelly, rather than the image of her that may be seen regularly on Fox News.

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  10. However, were I tempted to scold Mr. Den Beste, it would be with this:

    Ms. McCain only wishes, or should wish, that she looked as good as Ms. Kelly (either in that photo or, well, ever); or that she was 1/100th as substantive (which would make Ms. McCain roughly 100 times as substantive as she’s yet been throughout her blithe young life).

    Beldar (ff4f38)

  11. Just for the record: I don’t own a TV.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  12. Hamermesh is just angling for the position of United States Handicapper General, from Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron. Read it here:

    HawkGT (a2cde2)

  13. If we didn’t need this when Bella Abzug was a congresswoman and Betty Freidan was in the public spot light we certainly don’t need it for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Can you imagine the Dept of Appearance Impaired knocking at your door? “Your ugly and I’m from the government here to help you.”

    Jim (844377)

  14. Helen Thomas is so fugly.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  15. Ugliness could be protected generally in the United States by small extensions of the Americans With Disabilities Act

    Well, why not? I mean, the ADA is being used to keep alcoholics driving big rigs, so why shouldn’t the act be used for something as stupid as protecting ugliness?

    Chuck Bartowski (4c6c0c)

  16. Remember one of Rush’s Rules of Life:
    Politics is show-business for less-attractive people.

    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  17. Blondes suing because people assume they’re dumb!

    Southerners suing because people assume they’re racist!

    Texans suing because people don’t like the way they say “new-kew-lar”!

    Book (c7b6c5)

  18. Liberals suing Obama for giving them the reach around.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  19. Liberals suing Obama for NOT giving them the reach around.


    Another Drew - Restore the Republic / Obama Sucks! (f8e76c)

  20. Palestinians don’t want peace with Israel.

    When will you dhimmis get it through your thick skull.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  21. Aaron tempt colonel
    declaration of CHUBWA
    can’t be rescinded

    ColonelHaiku (ac06bc)

  22. And beyond all the idiocy of this clown’s “solution”, lies the stigma of someone being branded “officially ugly” by the government. That’ll look great on a resume.

    Bob C (93c918)

  23. Liberals to sue people for having guns and not relying on the government helping them.

    DohBiden (d54602)

  24. Of course in at least one case I suspect that this is her secret weapon:

    I suspect at one point it was Ann Coulter’s weapon, too… did not take people long to figure out she was actually a rottweiler, but by then their face was gone and their asses were handed to them.

    Smock Puppet, Facepalm Expert (c9dcd8)

  25. Are these more recent pics better:

    Hmmm… I’m suspecting that nose has had intimate relations with a scalpel.

    Jus’ Sayin’…

    Smock Puppet, Director, Bureau of Ugly Deportation (c9dcd8)

  26. Hi Aaron,

    You acknowledge that there may be a problem with discrimination based on appearance?

    Well, yeah, if you call eyesight a problem.

    The left wants to legislate our humanity away and I find it repugnant. Why do they hate mankind so much?

    By the way, I think it’s more fun not to ignore these uber-egalitarian wackjobs and I wrote about it in [object TextRange].

    Peter (37780f)

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