NYT: Okay to extrapolate negative characteristics of men from a sample of two

“Honey, I Swept the Floor! Why do so many husbands feel the need to boast about completing simple household chores? With mine, it’s all about branding.” (nytimes) has “so many husbands” in the headline.

How many did the author and the editor find? Two. The husband of the author plus

Another friend said: “After my husband cleans the garage or the pool, he makes each person in the family come for a separate ‘viewing’ so he can solicit praise and bask in his accomplishment.”

Would the Times publish an article in which two women were found who exhibited a negative characteristic and from this there was an extrapolation to “so many women”?


  • Maine family law, should the authoress deliver on her stated commitment “Time to change the narrative.”

5 thoughts on “NYT: Okay to extrapolate negative characteristics of men from a sample of two

  1. A third sample has been found, I repeat, a third sample has been found:

    “One friend told me her husband had branded her “the expert” (because she is a psychologist) to justify deferring to her with decisions involving their children’s education or developmental needs. “I finally realized he was just citing my Ph.D. to get out of the drudgery of dealing with school issues or having to read a parenting book,” she said.”

    I’m afraid the title will need some minor ammending. Not that increasing the sample size to 3 makes that study any more conclusive on this burning question.

  2. Ovi: Are you sure that quote is an example of “so many husbands [boasting] about completing simple household chores”? The third guy is instead building up the woman as an “expert” so that he can exploit her. I think it is still just two examples to support the “so many husbands” of the headline.

  3. Of course, you are right.

    Making people into the “expert” hoping they’ll be manipulated into volunteering for some thankless ask is a classic corporate politics move. Same as communicating results to stakeholders (“look at how those windows shine!”). A bit underhanded to use these tehnoques in one’s own household, but they’re far from the devious horrible things they’re made out to be by the writer. Or maybe that’s just how devious corporate politics are nowadays ?

  4. This is famous, what media critic Jack Shafer called the New York Times fake trend story when he was at Slate. Google it.

  5. @Ovi

    To be fair, sometimes one spouse is indeed the expert in a topic. If the non-expert parent goes to the meeting at the school alone, he is going to get nit-picked to death, so why not just send the expert?

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