Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Friday, January 23, 2004
A Small Chinese Character Isn't the Same as a Six-Inch Skull; Or, the Inanity of Polls
The Chicago Tribune and RedEye* had an article today about the possibilities and pitfalls of showing tattoos at work. The main picture associated with the story is of a shirt-and-tie wearing desk jockey with flames tattooed on his exposed forearm--and on the web site, that's the image that's right above the poll asking, "Should Tattoos Be Displayed At Work?"

They're trying to get everyone to vote "No", aren't they? I mean, of the approximately 1 in 10 Americans who have tattoos, how many of them get really large ones in places that could plausibly be exposed at most white-collar workplaces? And would most of those that did get conspicous tattoos work at stodgy, shirt-and-tie places? Probably not. Besides, at some workplaces--anywhere from auto mechanic shops to graphic design firms--tattoos are almost part of the uniform. But then, at some workplaces, such as a courtroom (the attorneys, although the defendants would probably benefit from similar sartorial guidelines), nursing homes, old-school brokerage firms, and other places with a high concentration of the easily shocked/offended, no visible tattoos are appropriate.

Of course, this is symptomatic of a larger problem--the lack of a "maybe" choice in polls. Would it kill pollsters to put a "Depends on the situation" choice?

*For those of you who don't pay particular attention to Chicago media, the "hip [cough], edgy [cough]" (and more importantly, free at many Hyde Park locations) weekday microedition of the Chicago Tribune.

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