On the Conserva-Cads [UPDATED x 11]

by Little Miss Attila on February 14, 2012

So, Erick and Melissa are concerned about the state of young people (and those not-so-young) at CPAC.

One is tempted to dismiss these articles as the sort of things people write who are overreacting when, say, a friend’s feelings have been hurt by an insensitive person of the opposite sex (since we’re operating here in a pretty heterosexual context). Insensitive people can be of either gender, after all. Anyone can be a user, or act like a user.

And, honestly—people oughtn’t to be thoughtless or reckless, no matter what their political orientation is. Anyone who is thinking, “we ought to behave better than liberals so that in the realm of sex relations we can look down on them” is probably missing the point: whatever maturity or thoughtfulness you acquire should be on your own behalf (and of those you know and perhaps like) rather than that of the movement. Frame it differently, and you are at distinct risk of becoming a prude.

Melissa’s article was harder to understand deeply, since I didn’t see any females dressed immodestly at CPAC this year, unless one counts the preponderance of dresses, which can be seen as body-conscious attire if they are made out of a knit fabric. I suspect that the difference is, Melissa went to more cocktail parties than I did: most of my evening events were of the type wherein people stayed in their business/business-casual clothes, rather than changing into something “dressy” (and potentially revealing). That presumably accounts for the difference in our perceptions.

Yet there is a distinct kernel of truth to the charge of caddishness/looseness. And if the undertow Erick and Melissa are looking at is the same one I’ve witnessed, it’s been going on for years.

In 2006, for example, I was at a bar after a CPAC evening event when, a few rounds into the evening, a shot of tequila showed up in front of every female sitting at the table, courtesy of one of the nice young men in suits with short haircuts. I was floored at how insulting this was, on a couple of levels, and not just because I was a whiskey girl rather than a tequila girl. I left the bar at that point, and negotiated my way home in the dark with my little wheeled briefcase in the snow in a city I didn’t know: those guys acted as if there were virtue, or chivalrousness, in a bald attempt to get the ladies drunk: “we’re from the conservative movement, and we’re here to help you.”

Thank. You.

There is, in fact, a sort of intellectual jujitsu that a few conservative males practice, wherein they decline to respect women in the egalitarian John Stuart Mill sense (because, doncha know, that’s feminist, and it’s bad), and yet they decline to do it in an Old-World, gentlemenly sense (because that would be old-fahioned, and we’re all very modern around here). These two approaches can overlap, but in a certain type of male they might both be eschewed . . . and that is a recipe for caddishness.

I’ve seen it, and it isn’t attractive.

But, you know: these matters of etiquette aren’t easy, no matter where one stands on the social-conservative spectrum. And conventions . . . well, they can be dicey arenas when it comes to the etiquette of flirting. (Rebecca Watson just called to point out that a guy once tried to coffee-rape her in an elevator, which, you know . . . made me sigh heavily.)

The bottom line is, treat people decently. If you’re wrestling with heavy-duty personal demons such as uncontrolled anger—or a tendency to proposition new acquaintances—don’t drink as heavily, even if there is a hosted bar.

And if you reject both egalitarianism and chivalry, you need to do some soul-searching on the subject of whether you are a part of Western culture at all.

Anyone can be a user, or act like a user. Don’t be that guy; don’t be that girl.

UPDATE: Laura Donovan suggests that I’m engaging in “slutshaming” here, and I’m at a bit of a loss as to how she read that into this blog entry. {UPDATE TO THAT UPDATE: It turns out that Donovan’s link here was a stray bit of html, sent from above to complicate our lives, so that’s all right.}

UPDATE II: RSM is, in what may be a minor miracle, advocating that people be “responsible” without being “judgemental.” Howie—breakthrough!

UPDATE III: Karen at Lonely Conservative weighs in.

Apparently, she didn’t get into the Bloggers’ Lounge this year. As I understand it, this was the first year that we had two tiers of blogging, and in a way that’s really unfortunate. Perhaps next year there should be a sort of “media overflow lounge” where we can meet with some of the boutique bloggers and the up-and-comers. (I’m very small-time, myself, but I’m connected enough that barely I made it in [and, no, not by showing skin or flirting].)

Ed Morrissey and I talked a bit at BlogBash about how odd it is that New Media at CPAC has grown as big as it has, and although I know that this makes some people wistful, all-in-all it’s likely a good thing: information is good, and avenues for its dissemination are to be desired in the conservative movement (and in a democratic republic at large).

But I’m not crazy about it forcing a tiered system on us, wherein there are two classes of bloggers. With 500 bloggers, however, and fire codes preventing us all cramming ourselves into that one room, I’m not sure what can be done . . . unless we get a different room that doesn’t feature access to the main ballroom. It could be that that is the next step.

UPDATE IV: Dan Riehl weighs in.

UPDATE V: William Butler Yeats blogs:

On hearing that the Students of Our New University have joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Agitation against Immoral Literature

WHERE, where but here have Pride and Truth,
That long to give themselves for wage,
To shake their wicked sides at youth
Restraining reckless middle-age.

UPDATE VI: God’s Own Crunk has a brilliant sendup of all this . . . but then I have a soft spot in my heart for Broken Vessels Who Nonetheless Dig God.

UPDATE VII: More good stuff from Damn Dirty RINO, via Insty, who suggests that “these denunciations are just a scam to boost attendance next year. . . .” Heh.

UPDATE VIII: It’s over; John Hawkins has spoken.

UPDATE IX: Stacy McCain relates all this to The Tina Korbe Leg Show at Hot Air, and Dan Collins has a few thoughts.

UPDATE X: Oh, my: Katie Pavlich is mad at Stacy for being too Stacy-like in the post linked above—which was, fundamentally, a defense of Tina Korbe from another blogger’s accusation of, um, flashing.

I yield to no one in my irritability around Stacy—we have quite the love-hate relationship—but it’s a bit much that Pavlich treats us to this:

[W]hat Stacy McCain missed was that Tina Korbe was wearing a suit in the video he is criticizing. Yes, her skirt was short sitting down. She probably should have thought about the situation before sitting down, but regardless, when standing up, her skirt hit knees’ length and her shirt reached all the way to her neck with a jacket over the top. She obviously knew there was a problem because she attempted to pull it down, not hike it up.

Look; Tina is a very young woman who is very good-looking, and she has nice legs. She dresses to show those legs off. That is fine.

But under no circumstances is this a skirt that reached nearly to someone’s knee when they stand up, and to say that is to deny what is patently obvious: it’s fashion-Orwellianism. (Please keep in mind that the cut of a skirt should actually be a few inches above or below the knee—if it actually hits at the knee, that looks dorky.)

I’ve written about modesty before, and I’ve actually published guidelines to help women and girls figure out how to present themselves, so if someone is not aware of how they look, they can look at those. And, yes: definitely, one wants to sit down in any new suit before buying it.

But Korbe is no teenager, and I sort of doubt that she doesn’t realize how she presents herself. She wears skirts that are hemmed midway up her thigh because she likes the way she looks in them. We aren’t children, here.

More from Stacy here.

More from Melissa, who mostly has good advice, but seems harsh toward Stacy and a bit indulgent toward Tina—who has—ironically—in the past exhorted “my fellow females to aim for ‘pretty’ and not ‘hot.'”

Well, she’s pretty hot. Which was the intent, of course.

UPDATE, XI: Politico quotes selectively enough to make me sound like a prude, and constructs a sort of point-counterpoint narrative that doesn’t really reflect the ideas we’ve all been exploring since yesterday morning. But, you know . . . thanks for the links, guys.

{ 14 trackbacks }

CPAC: The Jersey Shore-ification Of Our Young People — UPDATED « Blog Entry « Dr. Melissa Clouthier
February 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm
Random Ramblings: CPAC Loose Ends, TSA Pat Down, Injury Update | The Lonely Conservative
February 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm
Is CPAC slutshaming the new thing? « Laura E. Donovan
February 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm
Who Wants to See Tina Korbe’s Thighs? : The Other McCain
February 16, 2012 at 4:32 am
Flirting . . . with Disaster
February 16, 2012 at 8:39 am
Datechguy's Blog » Blog Archive » My two cents on “thigh-gate” » Datechguy's Blog
February 16, 2012 at 9:49 am
The Usual Brouhaha | Goldfish and Clowns
February 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm
The New Media Proletariat : The Other McCain
February 17, 2012 at 10:49 am
My Thoughts On Distractions And Distractions - The POH Diaries
February 17, 2012 at 11:52 am
On the Two-Tiered Blogging at CPAC | The Lonely Conservative
February 17, 2012 at 11:53 am
Under the Fedora: Hiring Men, Reporters-on-Twitter, and Internet Sweeps Week
February 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm
Blogger’s Blues Or Why I Didn’t Get On Blogger’s Row At CPAC « That Mr. G Guy's Blog
February 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm
The Minority Report Blog » Under the fedora: Hiring men, bloggers vs reporters and internet sweeps week
February 18, 2012 at 10:04 am
FMJRA 2.0: Lord Of The Thighs : The Other McCain
February 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

vanderleun February 14, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Oh, c’mon. Everybody knows that if a babe is a conservative, she’s just *asking* for it!


Crazy Bald Guy February 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

What the heck is coffee rape?


Little Miss Attila February 15, 2012 at 4:39 am

Rebecca Watson is minor luminary in the atheist movement who was offended that a man asked her to coffee at 4:00 in the morning at a skeptics’ convention. It turned into a discussion so large that it reached a lot of people outside the atheist/skeptic community.


datechguy February 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm

And I did in fact see this kind of dress, I recall heading from the Windham towers (I forget if it was to get the Lonely Conservative for the Grok Event or leaving the Four Tier event and noticed some young ladies in skirts so short that as they sat you could see that top band of their panty hose.

If your skirt is that short why bother to wear it? Just put on a bathing suit and be done with it.

One tries to be decorous as best as one can but it reminds me of a young lady who worked at I diner I used to go to, she had a large tattoo on her breast that invariably drew the eyes to it. It took real effort to not look.

Bottom line, if you want men to notice you for your physical attributes before other things, we will.

Not to sound ignorant, but what is “coffee rape?”


Little Miss Attila February 15, 2012 at 4:41 am

Are you sure they weren’t wearing leggings, with tunic tops? I did see that.

Just to be clear, I’m not doubting you or Melissa, and I am perfectly capable of retreating into my own dreamlike world. But I wonder what proportion of the females at CPAC dressed inappropriately–that’s all.


datechguy February 16, 2012 at 6:23 am

I actually hadn’t noticed inappropriate dress among bloggers just among general attendees.

As far as the blogging women, as the default among conservative blogging women is beauty additional “cleaning up” is like the edge of a bell curve where they are already on an extreme end.

I had forgotten about that case of the Atheist conference, she would have had a heart attack at CPAC.


Laura Donovan February 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hi Joy,

I removed you from my site, sorry for the misunderstanding!!!!! I meant to link to another blog entry and not yours. My apologies.


Roxeanne de Luca February 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm

If a woman is looking for a man, don’t act like a little girl, don’t dress provocatively and then be appalled when you’re propositioned, and have a couple standards for behavior–your own and his.

(From Melissa.)

You know that I’m going to get on my favourite soap-box: some women dress modestly, in skirts and sweaters and suits, and still get propositioned. A few weeks ago, I walked two blocks through Times Square in a skirt suit (three-button black jacket, skirt to my knees) and had five men wolf-whistle at me. No, I’m not that hot, not remotely.

I’m a strident opponent of the ‘burqa mentality,’ in which we treat any sexual response that a women engenders in a man as her own doing, as if men don’t bear some responsibility to control themselves, too. Of course, that doesn’t excuse women’s own actions, but it’s a team effort.


datechguy February 16, 2012 at 6:25 am

At the risk of offending my co-blogger, she is being modest in terms of her level of hotness.


Little Miss Attila February 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

The girl is a looker, all right.


vanderleun February 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

“… some women dress modestly, in skirts and sweaters and suits, and still get propositioned.”

Well, they wouldn’t if they weren’t such obvious hos.


Joy McCann/Little Miss Attila February 15, 2012 at 10:38 pm

WHAT are we going to DO with you?


SDN February 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

Now there’s a “caption contest” if I’ve ever heard one….


vanderleun February 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm

“…three-button black jacket, skirt to my knees…”

Knees? Yeah. Button jacket? Un.


Southern Man February 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I’m floored that you consider someone buying you (and your group) a round of shots to be insulting.


Joy McCann/Little Miss Attila February 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm

It was creepy–no one asked us what we wanted, and no one said, “let’s do shots.” (We were just drinking normal drinks at that point.) These things just showed up.

And the tequila shots weren’t given to the entire group, but only the females at the table. So there wasn’t a friendly vibe to it at all, but rather a really overt “let’s get the girls drunk” vibe. {shudder}

I was willing to party hard that night, but . . . yuck.


Roxeanne de Luca February 16, 2012 at 7:37 am

Ya know, I once knew a “woman” (read: overgrown girl) who thought that ladies don’t drink hard alcohol. Needless to say, that was the end of our friendship; I find nothing unladylike about my bourbon and gin-and-tonics.

But it’s different when a man whom you don’t know starts buying shots. Glass of wine? Yes. Shots, even if you are doing them yourself? Eeeewwwww.


Joy McCann/Little Miss Attila February 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I mean, I didn’t make a scene or anything, but I thought, “this is not going to end well,” and kind of felt like I was in a frat house all of a sudden–kind of unsafe, and part of a dynamic I didn’t feel I’d signed up for.

And I left.


Jerry Wilson February 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I’ll hold off on any commentary regarding dress and behavior at CPAC, at least for now. However, I would like to address the Blogger’s Lounge issue.

I was credentialed as a blogger for CPAC, but due to financial considerations wasn’t able to go. I have little doubt that had I been able to go, I would have been one of the bloggers told to find somewhere else to work from other than Blogger’s Lounge. Which makes me wonder where I would have gone – back to my hotel room? Sit out in the lobby? Gee, how welcoming. Speaking of welcoming, I’m still waiting for my invitation to BlogBash. But I digress.

The overwhelming theme I’m reading in posts about CPAC is that as far as bloggers are concerned, the present facility is inadequate. Also, the number of people who were turned away from the main ballroom to hear featured speakers seems to be quite high. If you’re going to have a conference with over 10,000 people in attendance, you need a proper-sized facility, such as a good convention center. Doesn’t Washington DC have one? And if not, there are more than enough cities — preferably ones with better weather than Washington DC in February — who would be more than thrilled to have that many conference-goers descend on it for three days.


Little Miss Attila February 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

They have been talking about moving to the convention center, but their contract with the Marriott has another year or two to run. Keep in mind that the Marriott is larger than the Omni Shoreham, where they were for several years (and a number of years, off-and-on, before that—the convention has moved around).

But we don’t know whether the convention is going to continue to grow, or not. After all, the ACU got rid of the person who had grown CPAC enormously over the five years previous to this—and then it started banning conservative groups and going “purist.” So it’s unclear what’s going to happen.

They could certainly manage in this location by expanding the blogger’s lounge to encompass an “annex” new media room elsewhere (across the hall, perhaps?) and I think that’s what they ought to do. Possibly make one the noisy room—per normal, with the coffee bar therein—and the other the quieter room, for people doing video-blogging and the like. That way it’s organized logically, rather than hierarchically.


godsowncrunk February 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for the compliment and the link!


Little Miss Attila February 16, 2012 at 9:35 am

But of course.


Gunga February 16, 2012 at 8:21 am

A free drink? Why didn’t you call the police?


Little Miss Attila February 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Someone ordered me a form of hard liquor that I don’t like, without asking what I do like, and appeared to be doing so as part of a general campaign to get the ladies at the table drunk.

Red flags went up, since this was clearly neither “buying a round for the table,” nor “buying a lady a drink of her choice.”

It was no big deal, but it was hinky. I’m married. I left.


Zilla February 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I have to agree with you, about the drink thing, Joy. The proper way to buy a round of drinks for people is to buy them a round of whatever it is they choose to be drinking. I can say this with some authority as I am a former bartender. I would not have taken the tequila either, not only because I am married, but also because I can’t stand the stuff. I tend to drink club soda or (more rarely) a beer if I am out socially anyway. Tossing back shots is something long behind me.


datechguy February 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

There was a time when such an action was called, “discretion” and grounds for complements


Zilla February 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Buying a round of drinks is a nice thing to do, but not just having shots lined up in front of people without even asking what they’d like shots of or if they want them (it;s also a potential waste of alcohol to do that). Here is how to buy a round of drinks: alert the bartender that you’d like to buy the next round of drinks for whoever. The bartender then goes to the recipient(s) of the liquid largess and informs the giftee(s) that so and so would like to buy the next round of drinks for the imbiber(s) and the bartender will then either refill whatever the person was drinking or ask what they’d like. If someone buys a round for the whole bar, often a bell is rung and the bartender or the buyer announces it loudly, and a great cheer arise, but again, the drinks are chosen by the person drinking them, not the buyer. The only time the buyer chooses the drink for other people it goes like this “I’m buying (name of drink), who wants some?” or something to that effect. At least that is how it was done back when drunks had more class.


Zilla February 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Great post, you’re right about how a little simple etiquette and being decent to other people can go a long way!


Little Miss Attila February 17, 2012 at 12:52 am



Roxeanne de Luca February 16, 2012 at 5:23 pm

More from Melissa, who mostly has good advice, but seems harsh toward Stacy and a bit indulgent toward Tina—who has—ironically—in the past exhorted “my fellow females to aim for ‘pretty’ and not ‘hot.’”

Do I have to be the one to say it? Some women do the whole “I’m such an innocent angel and more women should be innocent angels like me!” precisely to cover their own non-innocent behaviour. I don’t know Tina, I don’t know if she’s doing that, but there are women who act that way, so as to be both hot and get points from (rather slow) men for being angelic. With those standards, you get in trouble more for being honest about what you are doing than for actually doing things far more scandalous. (Alternatively, it’s a great way to be the only hot woman in the room: “Now, my fellow ladies, let’s all remember to dress modestly. Oh, does that mean that I’m showing more cleavage than all of you and you all look frumpy? Whoopsie!”)

That skirt does NOT hit anywhere near her knees when standing up, unless the thing was designed to retract when sitting down.


Little Miss Attila February 17, 2012 at 12:56 am

Yup. I have nothing against Tina, and she’s not the one who claimed that that was a knee-length skirt–but we ought to defend her from the slime without telling untruths about how body-conscious the outfit was. For, lo–it did play up her legs. No getting around that.


Roxeanne de Luca February 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm

but we ought to defend her from the slime without telling untruths about how body-conscious the outfit was. For, lo–it did play up her legs. No getting around that.

Thank you. It was not simply “playing up her legs”; it was a good nine inches above the knee. That can be appropriate in some instances, but, IMHO, not while interviewing a former Senator who could be President.


smitty February 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm

What a great reference post to the whole kerfuffle.
I want to put in a word for the die-hard, monogamous, heterosexuals out there who, by default, just treat everyone as though in a house of worship.
If they go a little too far, be oblivious!
This keeps my life simple and stress-free.


vanderleun February 18, 2012 at 9:13 am

Next year, instead of having this blatherfest, we should simply designate a room at the hotel as the “Wesson Oil Room” and adopt the principle “What happens at CPAC stays at CPAC.” [Humm, not a bad idea when applied to every current candidate.]

These two simple changes will help insure that everybody at CPAC gets laid, some of them even by their spouses!

P.S. All attending conservative women will be required to dress as Japanese school girls.


TLemmbert February 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

One way to set the tone for CPAC is to have a keynote speaker who is known for dressing modestly instead of a woman like Sarah Palin who often wears sexy outfits and padding her bra.


EBL February 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm
vanderleun February 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

“…to have a keynote speaker who is known for dressing modestly …”

Yes indeed and that way even fewer will want to attend the keynote! Let’s do our level best to make it all duller and more boring and more predictable. That will really rope in the young.


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