Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.”*

In Sunday’s New York Times, University of Texas economics professor Daniel Hamermesh penned an op-ed entitled, “Ugly? You May Have a Case.” He argues that the law should protect “ugly” the same as race, sex, and disability. Here’s his thesis:
[B]eing attractive … helps you earn more money…. The effects are not small: one study showed that an American worker who was among the bottom one-seventh in looks, as assessed by randomly chosen observers, earned 10 to 15 percent less per year than a similar worker whose looks were assessed in the top one-third—a lifetime difference, in a typical case, of about $230,000.
How could we remedy this injustice? … A more radical solution may be needed: why not offer legal protections to the ugly, as we do with racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and handicapped individuals?
The lawyer in me says, “Ca-ching!” The management advocate in me says, “Wait, what?!” The good-looking-but-won’t-stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks-good-looking-guy says, “This might make sense.” And the realist in me says, “Can you imagine a more subjective, unworkable standard for discrimination litigation?”

In all seriousness, Professor Hamermesh, you got your name in the Sunday Times. Now go back to Austin and never let this silliness see the light of day again. Thank you.

[Hat tip: ABA Journal]

*Robin Williams

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