Women need to BS more

Yesterday I read NYU’s Clay Shirky’s piece A Rant About Women, where he says men are far more likely to shade the truth, or just plain lie, in order to get access to opportunities, especially if they think they can back up their BS, while women are far more likely to simply state the truth, even if it limits them. He doesn’t so much argue the right and wrong of it as simply state it as a fact, with consequences regarding the relative success of men and women in getting ahead.

Today I read the perfect example of this: Personalized Porn by Hugh Mac Leod, cartoonist and author, about a friend of his who, when no one would give him a break in the movie/TV business, used the equipment he had purchased to make a living by filming personal, professional videos of people having sex. He did all the editing work on site so people could be assured that their, ahem, passion would never play on the internet.

Leaving spoiler space…

More space…

Except that he didn’t. The whole porn thing was made up, just a way of getting his name out there. And it worked: the man makes a good living today directing movies, including corporate videos and made-for-HBO fare.

This reminds me of when I interviewed for a job at E! Entertainment Television in the early 90s. They had a network of about two hundred Macintosh computers. The man who was going to be my boss liked me and claimed to his boss that I had more technical experience than I really did. He told me to go along with his story in my other interviews, so I did, and immediately bought the books necessary to back up the claims. By the time I started several weeks later I had all the book work done, and it was just a matter of settling into the practicalities. It’s not quite the same as claiming to have filmed personalized porn, but it was a significant point in my career, and I don’t know how it would have turned out if I had insisted on going with what I had done rather than what I knew I could do.

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