For the past few weeks Time Out New York‘s Dating columnist, Jamie Bufalino, has been fielding letters discussing the ratio of homosexual to heterosexual questions he answers. The readers suggested that disproportionate attention is paid to Gay and Lesbian issues compared to the Gay and Lesbian proportion of the general population.
Jamie rudely called his readers “ass-wipes” and repeatedly told them to “remove your head from your ass.” He also professed to have “no idea what the percentage is of gay/bi versus straight issues that end up in the column.”
One question and response:
Q I see statistics that show NYC to be 6 percent gay, lesbian and bi, and yet in “Get Naked” you feature letters from them almost to the exclusion of heteros. Why the preoccupation with them in your column? It doesn’t seem right or logical. As one of the other 94 percent, I am disappointed and offended weekly.
A All I can say is: You’ve got your head up your butt. Just in the past month or so, I’ve answered letters from a straight guy with a weird fetish that suddenly stopped delivering the jollies it used to, a straight guy who was juggling a woman from the Ukraine and a woman from Jersey, a woman who had an issue with sticking her finger up her boyfriend’s butt, a 19-year-old woman who was getting pressured to have sex with her boyfriend, and on and on. If, for some reason, you happen to be obsessing over the gay and bi questions and not acknowledging the straight ones, that’s your issue, not mine.
Q I always read your column to see if I can learn something and just for shits and giggles. The one thing that has always bothered me is your preoccupation with gay and bi problems. Gays and lesbians get their own special section of three to four pages!
A First of all, dude, you sound like one of those total ass-wipes who believes that gay people somehow have all these special privileges that straight people aren’t entitled to. Honestly, I have no idea what the percentage is of gay/bi versus straight issues that end up in the column, because it doesn’t matter. If you removed your head from your ass, you’d realize that so many sexual issues are universal and that you can learn something from all sorts of people who don’t fit into your specific demographic.
When confronted with the data he once again reffered to a “head lodged up [a] rectum” and suggested the reader was “paranoid.”
Q As a statistician I am disappointed by your response to a question in the November 4 issue [TONY 788]. The reader wrote, “I see statistics that show NYC to be 6 percent gay, lesbian and bi, and yet in ‘Get Naked’ you feature letters from them almost to the exclusion of heteros. Why the preoccupation with them in your column? … As one of the other 94 percent, I am disappointed and offended weekly.” You responded by citing individual examples of heterosexual questions you’ve fielded, which is not a valid form of proof. I went through about ten months’ worth of “Get Naked” columns on the TONY website and found that approximately 19 percent of the questions were from gay (15 percent) or lesbian (4 percent) readers. Whether or not that percentage is representative of the general population is not my concern. I just feel that Jamie should have his data correct and not write, “You’ve got your head up your butt.”
A I seriously cannot believe I am still getting letters about this. Okay, Mr. Disappointed Statistician: If you don’t want to come off as someone who has his head lodged up his rectum, it would be an awesome idea not to leap to the defense of some jackass who claims I cater to homo letters “almost to the exclusion of heteros” and then point out that straight issues actually make up a full 81 percent of the subject matter here in “Get Naked.” What I want to know is, why are you even keeping score? Are you really that insecure about the amount of attention heterosexual sex gets in the media? If so, that’s both laughable and sad. This is the last time I’m addressing this, so here’s my final bit of advice to you (and your like-minded brethren): Stop being so paranoid.
Since Jamie is so rude to his readers and clearly doesn’t have any sense of the data, I thought I’d take a look at the numbers. Results after the break.
As you read this, keep in mind that I am a big supporter and advocate of gay rights and I understand that this can be a sensitive issue. I am in no way suggesting there should be more or less coverage of Gay and Lesbian issues. There should be whatever is necessary to ensure good ad sales. My point is to illustrate Jamie Bufalino’s confrontational relationship with data and his readers.
While 19% of the answered questions were for homosexual readers versus 81% for heterosexual (which is already far from the population percentages of 4-6% homosexual and 94-96% heterosexual), it is important to look at the data broken down by gender.
Amongst all letters, 57% were written by females and 43 % were written by males, which is a little more skewed toward women than the New York popluation in general.
For the questions posed by men, 64% are from heterosexual readers while 36% are form homosexual readers. This is clearly far from the true proportion. For female readers the breakdown was 93% heterosexual and 7% homosexual.
All of this is not really to compare Time Out New York’s question selection to the general population; that doesn’t matter at all to me. It is to illustrate Jamie’s rudeness and ignorance. He clearly doesn’t have respect for data. Many people don’t. And that’s the problem with the world.
Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.