Chris Uggen's Blog: November 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

good pie, bad pie

good pie (via contexts)













bad pie (via Jose at thickculture)

Friday, November 27, 2009

BJS report on intimate partner violence in urban counties

Erica Smith and Donald Farole of the Bureau of Justice Statistics just released a new report on domestic or intimate partner violence (IPV). The sample is based on 3,750 cases filed in 16 large urban counties in May 2002.

When I present on IPV in classes, I'm occasionally asked about differences by gender and sexual preference. The chart below shows some characteristics of the 3140 cases (84 percent) with male perpetrators and female targets in blue, the 441 cases (12 percent) with female perpetrators and male targets in orange, and the 146 same-sex cases (4 percent) in green. [I suspect they didn't distinguish male-male from female-female because the numbers were getting small.]

Some of the differences seem large to me. First, about half of all male-on-female dyads involve a prior history of abuse, relative to 34 percent of female-on-male dyads and 32 percent of same-sex dyads. Second, female-on-male and same-sex cases are far more likely to involve a weapon than male-on-female cases. Contrary to the old idea that a man must be stabbed before a woman will be arrested for IPV, however, only 41 percent of female-on-male IPV cases involved a weapon. Third, there are no other witnesses at all in most same-sex IPV cases, but there is a child present in 38 percent of male-on-female cases. Finally, regardless of sex or sexual orientation, the perpetrator was using alcohol or drugs in about one-third of the IPV cases. [Since that last number seems a bit low to me, I'd check how it was measured before citing it].
See the report or the source data for more information.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

in the land of the hideous, the somewhat-less-than-loathsome man is king

OKCupid, an online matchmaking site, offers data on gender and perceived attractiveness that I might use in my spring deviance course (via boing). The figures might help me make a Durkheimian society of (hot) saints point about the relative nature of beauty and a Goffman point on stigma affecting social interaction, while providing another illustration of the taken-for-grantedness of heteronormativity.

In any case, the first figure shows that male OKCupid ratings of female OKCupid users follows something like a normal distribution, with mean=2.5 on a 0-to-5 scale from "least attractive" to "most attractive." Also, women rated as more attractive tend to get more messages. At first, I thought I saw evidence of positive deviance here, since women rated as most attractive get fewer messages than those rated somewhat below them -- the 4.5s garner more attention than the 5.0s. But, as I'll show below with the next chart, that would probably be an incorrect interpretation -- confounding the "persons" in the dashed lines with the "messages" in the solid lines.


The next figure shows that female OKCupid users tend to rate most male OKCupid users as well below "medium" in attractiveness. According to OKCupid, "women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium. Very harsh. On the other hand, when it comes to actual messaging, women shift their expectations only just slightly ahead of the curve, which is a healthier pattern than guys’ pursuing the all-but-unattainable."


Hmm. The latter point isn't wrong, I guess, but it shouldn't obscure the bigger point that more attractive men still get more messages than less attractive men. Again, note that persons (OKCupid members) are the units of analysis for the dashed lines and messages (messages sent by OKCupid members) are the units for the solid lines. On first scan, I read the graph as suggesting that the top "attractiveness quintile" was getting fewer messages than the bottom attractiveness quintile -- that uglier men were actually doing better than more attractive men -- but that's not the case at all. Instead, it just means that in the land of the hideous, the somewhat-less-than-loathsome man is king.

If almost everybody is rated as unattractive, most of the messages will go to those rated as unattractive. Nevertheless, the rate of messages-per-person still rises monotonically with attractiveness. As the "message multiplier" chart below shows, the most attractive men get about 11 times the messages of the least attractive men -- and the most attractive women get about 25 times the messages of the least attractive women.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

never saw it coming

herb alpert's tijuana brass, whipped cream & other delights, april 1965:













soul asylum, clam dip & other delights, april 1989:













contexts magazine, fall issue release pie party & other delights, november 2009








Monday, November 23, 2009

pat's back at the quarter

Good news -- Mr. Mallinger is returning home for a few thanksgiving shows in St. Paul.


Wednesday Nov. 25, 9PM; Friday Nov. 27, 9pm; Saturday Nov. 28, 9pm
Artists' Quarter; 408 St. Peter St. ; St. Paul, MN (651) 292-1359
Kenny Horst- drums; Chris Lomheim- piano; Billy Peterson- bass
Cover charge $8/Wed. $12/Fri.& Sat.

Mr. Mallinger is among the more full-time musicianly beneficiaries of arts education in Minnesota, and he continues to pay it forward:
As an original member of the Ravinia Jazz Mentor program, founded by Ramsey Lewis, Pat has mentored the underserved inner city youth through jazz performance and clinics in Chicago Public High Schools for fifteen years. He also teaches for Columbia College in a similar capacity as a Jazz Mentor at Burley Elementary in a program created by Jon Faddis entitled Louis Armstrong Legacy Project and Celebration. Pat also teaches privately to students enrolled at the American Conservatory of Music. Additionally, he is the director of the Concert Jazz Band at Merit School of Music in Chicago.

here's the resume:
His resume includes performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Harry Connick, Ramsey Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Rosemary Clooney, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Patti Austin, Manhattan Transfer, Gerald Wilson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lalo Schifrin, Cab Calloway, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Reunion Band, Eddie Higgins, Junior Mance, Cedar Walton, Dave Brubeck, Marcus Roberts, Weldon Irving, Renee Rosness, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Jack McDuff, Joey DeFrancesco, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Eric Alexander, Billy Harper, Jimmy Heath, Johnny Griffin, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Paquito D’Rivera, Nick Brignola, Franz Jackson, Von Freeman, Roscoe Mitchell, Buddy Defranco, Alvin Batiste, Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, Steve Turre, Clark Terry, Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Doc Severinsen, Roy Hargrove, Lester Bowie, Jon Faddis, Lou Soloff, Terell Stafford, Jim Rotondi, Marcus Belgrave, Lonnie Brooks, Big Time Sarah, Melvin Seals, Vince Welnick, Umphrey's McGee, and Dark Star Orchestra. Pat has toured with the Charles Earland Band, Artie Shaw Orchestra, and Woody Herman Orchestra.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Irv Piliavin

Back in grad school, my advisor and mentors gave so much and so generously that it sometimes felt like stealing. I stole from everybody at Wisconsin, but especially from the man in those badass plaid pants. So when I heard that Irv Piliavin died this week, my sadness for his loving family was mixed up with my gratitude for his inspiration.

When faced with a risky research project or crazy new venture, I can sometimes steel my nerves by asking, "What Would Irv Do?" For academics who knew Irv, this is a terrifying question. Brilliant and mercurial, he was not one to play it safe. I'll offer a few words about his work as evidence for his creativity and inspiration. Then I'll share a more personal story.

Irv made research sound like a wild weekend in Vegas. He told ripping good stories about field experiments in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, putting fake drunks on trains to study helping behavior. Irv rode with police and published an American Journal of Sociology article showing how "demeanor" swamps other factors in predicting arrest. He offered up a powerful control theory of delinquency in Social Problems, four years before Travis Hirschi's Causes. Irv brought a strong test of rational choice and deterrence theories to American Sociological Review in 1986. And, when they said it couldn't be done, he took to the streets and government centers to conduct systematic longitudinal research on careers in homelessness and foster care.

I've got a few Irv stories, both shareable and non-shareable, but I'll just relate one that brought us together. One day in my first or second year of grad school, Irv noticed that I hadn't slept much the night before. Somewhat reluctantly, because we didn't know each other all that well, I told him about this recurring dream.

In the dream, I was drinking coffee at my kitchen table, feeling drugged or hungover and struggling to piece together the previous night. I'm looking down bleary-eyed at a newspaper and see this front-page story of a gruesome murder. As the letters and words start to come into focus, a realization builds and builds before lodging unshakeably in my mind: I was the killer.

Well, as soon as Irv heard the word "newspaper," he recited the rest of my dream with perfect accuracy. I figured it must've been in a movie or Raymond Chandler story, but instead he says, "Maybe so, but I've had that dream since I was 17." Irv figured we were guilty about unpunished crimes that blew up into murder in the dark of the night, though he covered his bases (You didn't actually kill anyone, did you? Me neither). Then he said it took a little guilt to write good criminology -- to cut through the layers of stigma and moral repugnance and get to the essence of the thing -- and hinted that I might have a little potential along those lines.

So, I've got real gratitude for Irv and a real pang of sadness for his great love (and equally brilliant collaborator on those subway studies). But perhaps I'm repeating myself. Here's what I wrote in 1995:

To the extent that I've stolen from others, I've probably stolen more ideas from Irv than from anyone else. As I leave Wisconsin, I only wish I had committed more of them to paper.

sick as a dog

i don't mind being sick, as long as i've got hopes of getting better. top-5 sick songs:

5. love sick
4. touch me i'm sick
3. "feel like hell so you might as well go out and sell your smart ass door to door"
2. sick as a dog
1. sick of myself

Sunday, November 01, 2009

a sociologist with "scary power"

Look who is featured on Fortune's scary power list of people business hates to see coming -- a scary-smart and highly-respected sociologist fighting the good fight in employment discrimination cases.

Bill Bielby
Sociologist, University of Illinois at Chicago
Bielby has become a key plaintiffs expert in dozens of employment-discrimination class-action suits. Among his targets: Wal-Mart, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, and FedEx.

Knowing Bill, he'd much prefer a mention in Rolling Stone, Spin, or Guitar Player...