Dartmouth’s “Ladies Lingerie” Prof Gets Censured — Again!

 

Why is there a “Behind The Blue Wall” podcast? Because of stories like this one. We talked about Dartmouth Professor Emeritus Ned Lebow on an episode a few weeks ago, and now the story has taken a classically #BTBW turn. He’s been censured…again.

The back story from NHJournal.com:

The story began at an academic conference in San Francisco when Professor Lebow, currently of King’s College London, found himself on the same elevator as Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. When Professor Sharoni courteously asked her fellow riders what floor they needed, Lebow joked “Ladies lingerie, please.”

And that’s where the “courtesy” ended.

Sharoni claims she was offended by the joke, as well as the laughter of the “white, middle-aged men” on the elevator. In her formal complaint to the International Studies Association, the organization hosting the conference, Sharoni said: “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!'”

The ISA responded to Lebow’s lame joke, not with an eye-roll, but with a rebuke. They ordered him to apologize for his “offensive and inappropriate” remark. When he refused, they formally censured him.

Now the story has taken another turn, as recounted by Professor Lebow in the Valley News:

 “I discovered that she [Professor Sharoni] had not grown up in either the U.S. or U.K. — where saying “ladies’ lingerie” in an elevator is a well-known gag line — so I explained in the same email the meaning of my remark and how it was in no way directed against women.

I further suggested that I considered a complaint of the kind she made damaging to efforts of women to combat serious and unacceptable mistreatment.

She complained to the ISA, this time about my having contacted her, and I was censured a second time. [emphasis added]

Comedy is in the eye of the beholder and it may be that Professor Sharoni simply didn’t like Lebow’s attempt at humor. But why complain over an attempt by the gentleman to explain the comment and clear up any confusion over its offensiveness? Complaining the first time was embarrassing enough. Why complain again?

And–a more significant question–why would an (allegedly) serious academic institution like the ISA pile on with a second censure? Professor Lebow has a theory:

“What ISA officials want is not an apology but a capitulation….giving in to their demands would further chill free speech among younger colleagues and students who are far more vulnerable than I am to sanction by their professional organization.”

Somebody in this story is getting bullied. How many people believe it’s the gender-studies professor from Massachusetts?

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 16 comments.

  1. Admin

    Michael Graham: Sharoni said: “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!’”

    Reminds me of Hillary Clinton ruminating over whether she should have told Trump to “back off, you creep!” on the debate stage. (By the way, it was Clinton who repeatedly violated Trump’s space, not the other way around.)

     

    • #1
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:11 am
    • 5 likes
  2. Contributor

    Michael Graham: The ISA responded to Lebow’s lame joke, not with an eye-roll, but with a rebuke. They ordered him to apologize for his “offensive and inappropriate” remark. When he refused, they formally censured him.

    I take exception to this statement. The joke is funny.

    • #2
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:37 am
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    • #3
    • June 12, 2018 at 9:56 am
    • 2 likes
  4. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    Had he raised his fist and said; “Down with stifling patriarchy! Equity in pay and law. Third floor, please, though I clearly have no expectations of your servitude. In fact, please allow me.” All would have been well. He could have cast aspersions to the other white males for bonus points.

    • #4
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:05 am
    • 7 likes
  5. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    Or “Men’s Lingerie”?

    • #5
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:51 am
    • 5 likes
  6. Moderator

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    Or “Men’s Lingerie”?

    I’ll have to remember that one. 

    Maybe Professor Sharoni should wear a button that says “That’s Not Funny!” so everyone knows to never make a wisecrack around her.

    • #6
    • June 12, 2018 at 2:01 pm
    • 2 likes
  7. Member

    I don’t quite get the joke. Is it an old line from when we had more department stores or something ?

    I also can’t get over this new Victorianism. Back about 1970, with the changes of the sexual revolution and before Women’s Lib became a really big thing, men were often no longer careful of what they said in front of women and often made really lewd jokes and remarks casually in mixed company. (I kind of think women’s interest in feminism was, in part, women’s unacknowledged dissatisfaction with the new reality that they weren’t any longer owed a certain courtesy, as far as males were concerned. Women’s reaction to the change said, in effect: “Well, all right then, if you’re going to leave your Play boy magazines lying around, or joke about, or comment on, women’s bodies in front of me, please don’t even hold the damned door for me. I’m getting a job and going back to school.) But the joke about the floor for women’s lingerie seems really mild. I mean, do we start covering piano legs again ? And then to act like he practically physically assaulted her by writing her. Are we going back to the custom that a gentleman doesn’t speak to a lady, the way he would to another man, unless they’ve been properly introduced ?

    Is there some new, strange hysteria among academic types about what certain norms should now be ?

    • #7
    • June 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I don’t quite get the joke. Is it an old line from when we had more department stores or somethings?

    Today only! Bras half off in the lingerie department! (I got a million of ’em.)

    • #8
    • June 12, 2018 at 3:29 pm
    • 2 likes
  9. Moderator

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I don’t quite get the joke. Is it an old line from when we had more department stores or something ?

    Yes, it comes from a time when big city department stores covered multiple floors and someone might tell the elevator operator to take them to the floor with men’s shoes, toys, small appliances, books, or whatever.

    • #9
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:08 pm
    • 1 like
  10. Member

    I also thought it was a pretty funny joke.

    • #10
    • June 12, 2018 at 8:16 pm
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    I think it was certainly a harmless joke. I don’t see how anyone sane could be offended or imagine he intended to offend anyone.

    • #11
    • June 13, 2018 at 5:35 am
    • 1 like
  12. Podcaster
    Michael Graham Post author

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    Or “Men’s Lingerie”?

    What–is that like a joke or something? [quickly closes dresser drawer]

    • #12
    • June 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm
    • 1 like
  13. Member

    Michael Graham (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    What if he’d said “Men’s Underwear”?

    Or “Men’s Lingerie”?

    What–is that like a joke or something? [quickly closes dresser drawer]

    Not quickly enough.

    • #13
    • June 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm
    • Like
  14. Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I don’t quite get the joke. Is it an old line from when we had more department stores or something ?

    Yes, it comes from a time when big city department stores covered multiple floors and someone might tell the elevator operator to take them to the floor with men’s shoes, toys, small appliances, books, or whatever.

    The operator would actually announce the present and upcoming floors and departments to the customers therein. Thus all of the “third floor, women’s lingerie and gardening supplies!”-type jokes in old movies.

    • #14
    • June 13, 2018 at 3:19 pm
    • 1 like
  15. Member

    Archie Campbell (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Ansonia (View Comment):
    I don’t quite get the joke. Is it an old line from when we had more department stores or something ?

    Yes, it comes from a time when big city department stores covered multiple floors and someone might tell the elevator operator to take them to the floor with men’s shoes, toys, small appliances, books, or whatever.

    The operator would actually announce the present and upcoming floors and departments to the customers therein. Thus all of the “third floor, women’s lingerie and gardening supplies!”-type jokes in old movies.

    There was a Daffy Duck cartoon with Daffy posing as a department store elevator operator announcing something like “brooms, looms, rooms and little black ducks.” I can’t find it, though.

    • #15
    • June 13, 2018 at 3:33 pm
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    He at fault for working for such idiots. Tell them where they can shove their censure and get a real job.

    • #16
    • June 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    • Like