Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hot Chicks Get Perks - Who Knew?

Hoaxes are often invaluable in revealing, or at least confirming, contradictions in an institution. So it was with Alan Sokal's famous takedown of Social Text. Probably everyone has heard of this: Dr. Sokal, a physicist, submitted a paper called "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" that was packed with nonsense but written in post-modernist jargon. The point was that if post-modernists themseves are unable to tell the difference between their scholarship and bullshit that sounds like their scholarship, then there's really nothing to what they're doing. Sokal explained that he was trying to save the academic left from absurdity - specifically from the danger that it was becoming anti-scientific.

I stumbled across a similarly revealing hoax yesterday on a site originally called "Libertarian Girl," but now available as archives (the blog itself is defunct) here as "Libertarian Man of Mystery."

The hoax worked like this. Some dude reckoned that there weren't enough girl libertarians, and that he would get more attention as a hot chick than as just another male political blogger. So he grabbed a pic from a Russian mail-order bride site and pretended to be a hot chick instead. He writes:


One thing I learned from this blog is how easy attractive woman have it. When I had a blog as my real self, no one linked to me, no one left any comments, it was as if the blog existed in a vacuum. But things were different for Libertarian Girl. Every day I'd check Technorati and discover new unsolicited links. It was like I had warped into an alternate universe where all the rules had changed. At the rate things were happening, this would have been an A-list blog in a few more months.


So much for the idea that internet political commentary is a "boys club." Girls seem to have a distinct advantage in such circles - at least if they're attractive. No doubt there're some social science papers to back this up somewhere.

A parting shot from author:


I should have figured that the type of people who read libertarian blogs are the same type that read Russian brides websites. When I make my next hoax blog, I'll make sure to use a more obscure photo.


I wonder what would happen if he started with a hot photo and then removed it, perhaps even with a post about how "she" wanted people to focus on "her" commentary. You know, leave the photo up long enough to make it onto people's blogroll links lists, but then take it down in time to avoid getting caught? What happens, I wonder, to the hit rate once the photo is gone? I'm guessing it would drop. Without the constant reminder that it's a HOT girl they're dealing with, the confirmation that libertarian bloggers are presumably seeking for their philosophy by noting that it's now "cool" enough to attract hot chicks would be less palpable.

2 Comments:

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