Those new service sector jobs, once again — stunt nudity experts

by on March 20, 2014 at 12:01 pm in Economics, Film | Permalink

Taub and Smith, stunt nudity experts, wore clothing that could be taken off quickly. “The photographer said, ‘Once people start getting on the bus, get naked and jump in line and pretend like you’re getting on the bus,’” Taub said.

The photo at the link does show nudity from behind, though not obscenity.  Maybe it is not safe for work.  The article has some other interesting angles:

But it was the Google-bound commuters who surprised Taub the most.

“They were quite uptight. Your average San Francisco bus — we would have gotten more of a reaction. People would clap or take pictures,” she said. “These buses, it was more like very uncomfortable.”

Jessica Powell, vice president of product and corporate communications at Google, said that this is not something Google condones.

“No, no nudes on the bus. It might interfere with the Wi-Fi.”

For the pointer I thank Samir Varma.

1 Bill March 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

The buses have been under sporadic siege from angry protestors for months. The folks riding them just want to get to work on time.

2 david March 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Yeah, they might have had a more positive reaction if the routes were not under siege:

“The drivers had mixed reactions,” Taub said. “They were mostly scared.”

If I were the driver of a politicized bus, and someone suddenly stripped naked while boarding, I would suggest watching out for what the nudist is distracting you and the security guards from.

3 Dan Weber March 20, 2014 at 1:06 pm

FWIW, “naked man” is one of the most dangerous things a cop can respond to.

4 Peter March 21, 2014 at 12:13 am

As can be seen in this delightful video. It really should be set to the tune of Yakety Sax.

5 gab March 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I don’t believe the first link works.

6 gunther March 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Attention whores fail to rouse a reaction from their captive audience so they must be a bunch of uptight, pricks.
Sad, pathetic, and irritating.

7 KPres March 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

I don’t know. I’d say it’s a good demonstration that all the really brilliant and exceptional people in California, the kind that work at Google, are social conservatives at heart.

8 Jacob March 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I’d like to point out that your statement is simply untrue, on behalf of all the really brilliant and exceptional social liberals in California, the kind that work at Google.

9 The Anti-Gnostic March 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

Watch what people do, not what people say. As you go up the executive ranks, you will see the folks tend to be heterosexual, married, teach their kids manners and respect for authority, live in quiet neighborhoods, exercise, dress well, avoid drugs and drink in moderation.

Publicly, well-paid people preach all sorts of cultural Marxism and tolerance uber alles. Privately, they live like Methodists.

10 Chris S March 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I think the dichotomy implied here is false. Google workers are more likely to have many of the social-liberal markers, like flexible hours, casual/idiosyncratic dress, be pro- the pros of gay marriage, legalization of pot, maybe abortion. But also be social-conservative: pursue pair mating, child rearing, suburban living after the first child, etc. More libertarian social conservatives.

11 JKB March 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Yes, uncomfortable. These “nudity experts” just created a situation where each of these employees could now be involved in a sexual harassment investigation. The bus is corporate owned, to carry corporate employees. It is a part of the workplace for the reams and reams of workplace rules and regulations in federal and California law. The drivers were scared because it is they who are tasked with ensuring that their area of the workplace does not become an source of sexual harassment or hostile workplace complaints.

Your average SF bus is not a workplace except for the driver. The nudity would not create such a threat to those onboard.

Don’t like the uptightness, stop advocating for more and more risk to employees when something unconventional happens in the workplace.

12 mpowell March 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Not sure whether it is lawsuits that drive the reaction, but it is absolutely the case that I would respond differently to something crazy happening in the workplace. Just because of norms of decency being much stronger in the workplace.

13 Bob March 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Best part:

Google spokesperson:
“No, no nudes on the bus. It might interfere with the Wi-Fi.”

Ha. Priorities and a sense of humor!

14 Mark Thorson March 20, 2014 at 7:05 pm

A couple dozen people trying to send real-time streaming video might indeed interfere with the Wi-Fi. Could very much annoy coders trying to get some work done on the bus.

15 Doug March 20, 2014 at 1:01 pm

When the US was a manufacturing economy leftists complained that those factories were destroying the environment. Then the US transformed into a service economy, and leftists complain that all those financial sector workers didn’t “add real value.” Then the financial sector imploded and many of those workers moved to the tech industry. Now leftists complain that tech companies are filled with chauvinistic “brogrammers” and destroy to many jobs.

In reality leftists and socialists just have an impulse to destroy anything productive. It’s noting but a tribal chimp reflex. By destroying someone else’s life work you demonstrate total power over that person. Being an “activist” requires a lot less intelligence, talent or hard work than being a CEO or hedge fund manager. Yet it gives you the ability to push and cajole those people around and feel superior to them. Some second-rate intellectual sycophant’s always ready to come up with an ex post rationalization for it.

16 Ari March 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Yeah that is exactly the story I was telling long time ago. I always though the “left” was irrational. It made me feel good, and I could associate myself with other similar-minded folks with that. People like Tyler have made me much more wiser than that. Sometimes people are as emotionally attached to their beliefs as their unnaked self.

A lot of arguments coming from the “left” can be bad, and based on emotion rather than logical reasoning. But people should try to find deeper meaning behind those emotions. Maybe things are not that simple.

17 Doug March 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I have no doubt that plenty of leftists are thoughtful, well-meaning truth seekers. But I don’t think you’ll find many fitting that description in the group that decides to mob the Google buses. Humans can be noble intellectual, but they can also be nasty, little primates. There are plenty of people out there who simply want to break stuff. Particularly valuable stuff or the stuff belonging to people they feel are stuck-up and superior. If you don’t realize this you’ve certainly been fortunate enough to live your life mostly around the type of people who like to discuss abstract topics at econblogs.

But there are those who have the irresistible primal desire to smash something just to see the look on some smug bastard’s face. And for those type of people political activism offers an excellent, and socially sanctioned, outlet. Are there people like this on the right? Absolutely. But it’s a lot more sensible to go left if this is your goal. After all Bill Ayers is a highly respected professional “scholar” whereas David Duke is unwelcome in civilized company. You don’t see any Republican “community organizers” getting nominated for president.

Mostly when you find these type of people on the right they tend to be unhinged nut cases. Leftist activism offers the chance to burn stuff down and still retire comfortably. Since most people, even those with a destructive streak, are quite sensibly self-interested the left tends to attract a lot more of them. Which is why when someone’s masquerading this chimp-like behavior under the guise of ideology, nine times out of ten you’ll find that it’s a leftist pet cause.

18 Chris S March 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Doug, I don’t deny there are extremes on both sides and perhaps more irrational ideologues on the left – there is less a penalty for not even attempting to be rational on the left than the right. The right-wing wackos think they have a rational belief system even if they empirically do not; the left wing wackos barely make the attempt.

Think about this, if you can, as culture jamming, a la the Merry Pranksters, especially given where the “event” was located. Setting politics aside, they attempted to “subvert the dominant paradigm” (wow how 90s) and get people to see outside their blinders a little.

However, I don’t think the millenials are wearing near the size blinders the baby boomers were in their youth, so it isn’t as world-rocking to see some naked woman gyrating on your bus. More like an off-color youtube video with amateur production values.

19 Ari March 21, 2014 at 6:36 am

Well I don’t want to defend uncivilized behavior here but I also want to emphasize to look for reasons why such things happen. The job market may well be heading to direction where a lot of workers (white or blue collar) will become zero marginal product. The way market fixes this, is by killing these people off (just like it did for many horses). I know a lot of friends etc. who probably wouldn’t have jobs no matter what they did. Now there are all kinds of clever arguments why government should not do anything about it, but what would *you* do. What if you had family to feed? Would you listen to rich/well-off/academics having discussion of you having to die off? Replace rich with alien elite, and think twice. Having perspective outside yourself can be quite insightful. Goes for human relationships too.

This is why when say in world politics, we see our leaders do something bad we don’t mind that much, but when we see another leader do something very bad, we point it out clearly. Or sports. Or politics. And it isn’t a logical process, it’s an emotional one.

Modern market economy is way more than capable of feeding everybody, providing clothing, providing some health care, providing some essentials etc. If we switched to more standard products, we could probably work a lot less. It is far from obvious our lives have much more meaning or happiness because of all of this stuff.

My suggestion is to empty your beliefs, detach emotionally from your beliefs, take some time out from politics. Maybe start a leftist blog anonymous just for the kicks. We humans are very tribal, and our beliefs are mostly a way to associate ourself with like-minded folks which leads us to never question where our beliefs really come from.

20 Beliavsky March 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I wonder why Tyler Cowen is giving these stupid stunts attention. That’s what they want.

21 Chris S March 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Loyal readers, every one.

22 carolospln March 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm

“The photo at the link does show nudity from behind, though not obscenity” (snip)

Only a bloody Yank could conflate nudity with obscenity.

23 Scott March 22, 2014 at 4:07 am

“The photo at the link does show nudity from behind… The article has some other interesting angles:”


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