Trophy wrote:<photos snipped>
Analyzing mere pictures of a party that none of us has attended is not really very reliable, however, now that I take a closer look at the two pictures above, Shermer's body language fits the kind of guy who pushes too hard in flirting and hitting on women.
The first picture: He has his arm wrapped around her but we don't see her other hand and it seems it's dangling by her side, sandwiched between her and him. If true, it means she was not interested in "hugging him" (which would have been an implicit nod from her to escalate the level of intimacy). Also, there's a gap between Shermer and DJ and the picture doesn't look like a group photo.
The second picture: Shermer is now grabbing her very firmly and there is no way for her to get away unless she uses some level of physical force. Again, that's very consistent with a guy who hits heavily on women and who uses some level of "force" (typical examples are guys who don't let their target get away without some level of force; they hold her hand, or hold her in a tight embrace in dancing, etc.). And in this picture there is no group. There is "cover". If you look at this picture you see a couple and another guy who awkwardly stands away.
The combination of these two pictures is damning for Shermer. It shows that he had his arm wrapped around her for some time, at least long enough for two pictures in two different configurations to be taken. This in turn means that the wrapped arm was not done in a moment of "excitement" or "happiness" or any other reading that doesn't have sexual undertones. In other words, you can't say "Maybe he was happy to see her so he hugged her" or "they were just taking pictures and he was being friendly". On the other hand, I don't see any evidence that she reciprocated any of this.
So basically, I'm not rejecting any other reading of these pictures but I'm saying that the reading that is most consistent (at least in my opinion) is the one in which Shermer was heavily hitting on her against her obvious disinterest, and most likely with some level of force.
I think that's reading too much into it. From no place private, just the wild web:
I didn't find many photos of Shermer hugging people, but there are a bunch of him alone, posing or pondering or whatever. Here's Shermer hugging a woman after a lecture he gave in 3/2012, from here
; she refers to herself and another man as having had a wonderful time at the event (so, no hint of concern; the man she was with might have been the person who took the photo, but that's not clear; no sign of alcohol)
Here, Shermer does appear to have a fairly firm grip with his right arm & hand. Maybe that's just the way he hugs. Handshakes can vary from very firm to very limp; why couldn't hugs be like that too? Or maybe he only hugs women and he only does so more firmly than whatever "norm" there might be; can one generalize & say that's inappropriate? (As opposed to, he's hugging someone firmly and they tell him they don't want him to, but he continues - that would
On the other hand, there are quite a few photos of PG hugging people, which probably mostly reflects the circumstances in which photos of her have been taken that have ended up on the internet. Phil Plait has a bunch of them. If you're going to do armchair analysis of snapshots of hugs, might as well include these:
TAM 2012 (in the hallway outside the meeting rooms - not at that party):
2005, labeled "me_Pamela_podcast"
2010 TAM Australia
So maybe she's a person who's more likely than some to engage in a hug with people, and particularly feels comfortable with large areas of contact with someone who's been a friend & colleague (in skeptical-astronomy) for years, and others might observe that (say in a party situation) and interpret it in ways she didn't intend. (Just saying 'maybe'. People being people, and all. And, no, that's not an excuse to grab for someone's breast....or chest...nor to maintain contact when they're trying to pull away, assuming you notice that's what they're doing).