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It's a White Industry

With Britain's history of colonies in both Africa and the Caribbean, it would be interesting if Elba's Bond was given a backstory that included some kind of ruling/elite parentage, so that he would have both an ingrained sense duty and belonging to "the Establishment", but also the burden of historic colonialism on his shoulders. I think the insider/outsider conflict is one that fits well with the bond character.


That's the thing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:11 PM on December 26, 2014
One of the things you could do with a black Bond (if you didn't want, as schroedinger suggests, just to have the "this is a fantasy world where racism does not impact Bond" framing) would be to have Bond do his schtick in settings where being a suave black espionage agent would be a plus - what if he's espioning amongst the elite of Kenya amongst recent social upheaval, for instance? What if he really, really needs to get over with third culture elites at glittering global thingummies... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:09 PM on December 27, 2014

The Hobbit: How the 'clomping foot of nerdism' destroyed Tolkien's dream
Okay, I call contradiction on all this: first, because in the Lord of the Rings, there is no fucking viable economy, there's no mechanism that explains how things get made or distributed (except, partly, in the Shire). What's both irritating and the font of a thousand fanfics is precisely that Lord of the Rings is full of gaping holes, and once you start filling in the holes (ie, where are all the children? Where are all the women? Who does the dishes in Minas Tirith? How do relatively high... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:51 AM on December 13, 2014
"Who does the dishes in Minas Tirith" is important (and if the Orcs are eating dinner in Minas Tirith something has gone either very wrong or very right, depending on your ideas about Orcs....perhaps you're thinking of Minas Morgul? Although upon what plates - and upon what - the Nazgul dine, I am not sure. Take-out seized from the hands of terrified humans, possibly.)

...anyway, it's important because we're shown all kinds of things -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:29 PM on December 13, 2014
I just find it hilarious that everyone goes on about Tolkien's "worldbuilding" - and I mean, I love the Lord of the Rings - when it's one of the most loosely-built fantasy worlds I can think of. This is a strength, of course - you could have anything out there; my theory is that the northwest is barbaric and uncultured and once you get, say, into far Harad where the stars are strange, it's a socialist utopia powered by robots - and that's where all the primitive implements up north... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:39 PM on December 13, 2014
As to this epic business - Tolkien wasn't writing an epic the way the-people-who-were-Homer were, or the Beowulf poet was. He wasn't "documenting" a bunch of legends and quasi history from his own time, with the assumption that the world was already mostly "built" and would be filled in by his audience from their experience. Tolkien was creating a new world loosely modeled on epics. The things he felt he didn't "need" to fill in are very revealing - no... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:43 PM on December 13, 2014
Honestly, though, I would question the idea that Sam is Frodo's "servant."

I just wanted to pop back in - Sam is very clearly Frodo's servant. This is spelled out at the beginning of the first book, IIRC in a conversation at a tavern and one between Sam and his father. Sam hears Gandalf talking to Frodo because Sam is, nominally anyway, doing yard work under the window. Sam does the cooking while they're traveling, and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:35 AM on December 23, 2014
But....and this has to do with what is recognized as trauma....Sam is responsible for Frodo, Sam has to chivvy him along through Mordor when Frodo is virtually dying, Sam has to make all these decisions about how to deal with the ring. Sam has to be the one who is Gollum's guard/captor. Sam has to be this super-caretaker (and has to kill Shelob) and go from being a servant who follows orders to making all these decisions on his own. Frodo's trials are "greater"... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:14 AM on December 23, 2014

Warren G and Nate Dogg, 'Regulate': Oral History
"I still remember Regulate and Warren G...could that have been back in the sweet summer of nineteen ninety three?"

I mean, nostalgia for Regulate dates back to at least 2005, people.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:40 AM on December 23, 2014

Not everyone needs a hug.
In what is surely a sea-change in British mores, people in the UK, according to new research, now average 13 hugs per day, which last an average of 9.5 seconds each. Now on a monthly basis, the formerly reserved inhabitants of that scepter'd isle spend a full hour hugging.

My goodness. Who are they hugging? To average thirteen hugs a day, I would have to hug co-workers even if I also hugged all housemates, stray friends and romantic partners every... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on December 19, 2014
Oh, and the situations where all the obviously-women-people get hugs, the obviously-men-people don't, and the hugger just sort of dithers in front of me. That always makes me feel awesome.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:01 PM on December 19, 2014
Ok, so those of you who don't want hugs - how do you signal this when a hugger approaches? I always have a hard time figuring out whether or not certain friends/family want hugs.

Many people in my social circle - valuing good consent as they do - ask. I find it better to ask "do you do hugs" or some similar formulation rather than "may I hug you" because it's a lot easier to say that no, I do not "do" hugs than to say... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on December 19, 2014
ugh do not hug me, anyone, ever. Just thinking about all this hugging is creeping me out.

I suppose that I could accept a hug from a medical professional who I'd never see again, just like when I'm sick I want everyone I know to leave me alone but have no trouble being a model patient. I suppose if I ever feel that I need a hug, I'll have to hire a trained hugger.

I mean, I don't pretend that this hatred... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on December 19, 2014

This kind of thing could take up your whole day.
Okay, from that Slate Star Codex post:

Race relations are at historic lows not because white people and black people disagree on very much, but because the media absolutely worked its tuchus off to find the single issue that white people and black people disagreed over the most and ensure that it was the only issue anybody would talk about.

I....am not certain that this is actually accurate.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2014
However, I would like to ring in 2015 with some way to feel less outrage. One thing I liked in the Slate piece was the little rage/outrage etymology. I think I'm about outraged out, and I need to find ways to interact with the news and online information generally that push me toward rage/action/commitment/ethics rather than toward outrage/sputtering/line-drawing/all-the-feels.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2014

I'm already tired of the outrage about outrage. Slate and Scott Alexander have beaten this drum over and over.


I mean, I am tired of the whole "oh no the feminists are tearing each other apart!!!" and "when you call me a misogynist you are just dividing us and preventing real social change and unity!!!!" and so on.

At the same time, I look back on the stuff I've spent a lot... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:02 AM on December 18, 2014

2015: Flashpoints Abound
I will be interested to see whether "anti-Euro opposition leader" Alexis Tsipras, who seems to be a perfectly decent moderate Greek leftist with a pretty solid political background can...dun dun dun....bring down the eurozone. He would be delighted and astonished to know he had that much power, I bet. It's a sign of how far right nearly everyone in the media is that SYRIZA is written about in terms that would better suit the KPD in its Spartacist Uprising days.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2014

Inside Beijing's Airpocalypse
I lived in Beijing in 2001 - 2002 and the air quality was...well, I'm sure it wasn't great, but honestly, it beat the hell out of Shanghai in 1996 -97, and the winter winds absolutely scoured the skies. My dominant impression of Beijing in the late nineties/early 2000s was one of blueness...the blue hills outside the city, the dizzyingly bright blue sky and the cold wind, blue ice on the ornamental lakes. That was right before they dramatically loosened controls on cars in the city, so traffic... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:05 AM on December 17, 2014
And Beijing was such a beautiful city in so many of its aspects, too, well located and well laid out on the points of the compass, easy to navigate, temples and ancient stuff that survived the Cultural Revolution (unlike in Shanghai, where there's very little), the hutong district, the parks....I just can't get my head around what it must be like now.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2014

U.S. and Cuba to Start Talks on Normalizing Relations
Is it *really* the right thing? I suppose it's the "right thing" to some degree, but I worry about the implications for Cubans being subject to US Imperial interests now. That said I do think it's the right move, I guess I just distrust US motives in general for everything these days.

That was my first thought, actually - watch out, Cubans, your healthcare system will be marketized inside five years. I know how horribly harmful the embargo... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:28 AM on December 17, 2014
In an unfreezing of relations between the US and Cuba, you distrust the US? Funny.

Why yes, out of two dubious states, I do distrust the greater power more, funnily enough, particularly in the wake of NAFTA. If Obama is doing this because of morality rather than because there's some incredibly dodgy benefit for the US, I will eat my hat - the itchy wool one, too.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:31 AM on December 17, 2014
What a strange framing, as though they are mutually exclusive.

Of course they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but historically, when the US has made "morality-based" interventions in small-state situations, it's almost always been in the service of fucking things up in US interests. (Various interventions in the Phillipines for ever, Central America (in the service of el pulpo!), Haiti, Panama,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:38 AM on December 17, 2014
This is a very good point and actually why the US does not have diplomatic relations with Canada -- if we were to do so, Canada would be crushed under the ideological might of our ramshackle health insurance system and in two years they would have privatized everything.

Okay, and after this I'll stop: Canada is large. Canada is wealthy. US strategic interests in Canada are very different, historically speaking,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:51 AM on December 17, 2014

Sealioning Explained by The Last Psychiatrist and Louie
There's a sense that blacks are violently unpredictable, that's what TV told me, anyway. You know that white kid in the Louie clip isn't going to murder you with the same certainty that you know this black kid might murder you.

My problem with TLP isn't his ideas, per se - what he's trying to say here is "let's be real, [the vast majority of] middle class white people hold [this stereotype] and I will use my tone and phrasing to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2014
Isn't this just a version of Freud's repression hypothesis?

Yes, it is - but TLP is a Freudian, as far as I can tell. Who reads Freud now, though? (I mean, I have, up to a point. At least TLP isn't asserting that women invented weaving because of penis envy.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:11 AM on December 17, 2014
It's not harmful to state what POC already know unless they've never heard it put straightforwardly or wanted to pretend these prejudices don't exist.

See, this isn't what I've heard from friends of color, which is what's shaped my experience. What folks have said to me is that hearing the same old "oh yes of course, I a white person am going to describe white racism in a satiric way" feels really self-satisfied and repulsive, like a way of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:14 AM on December 17, 2014

"Walking around a city will never be the same"
And now we (some of the collective 'we' anyway) are becoming able to pay with our phones at the store, and get discounts on things that non-smartphone owners can't get. With health apps we'll be able to optimize our activities. We'll increasingly be able to navigate through cities and buildings with assistance and advantages that were previously impossible.

Yes, I can't wait to get a smartphone and get my additional... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 AM on December 17, 2014

Running empires requires lots of meetings
(My ambition is to write a fantasy novel about an accountant, and accounting. I actually have a vague, nebulous plot idea around which to organize this, having to do with the folk tale about the sorcerer whose heart is inside a casket inside a duck on a lake full of monsters on the mountain at the end of the world, etc etc, and the ways in which one would manage a full inventory of hearts in caskets, the risks associated therewith and potential irregularities in fairyland cost allotment.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:01 AM on December 15, 2014
"Small people, big world"? You want Melissa Scott's Point of Hopes and its sequels....The queen is very old and must name her heir before the stars change and cast the kingdom into upheaval. The children of Astreint are vanishing under mysterious circumstances. Various swashes are being buckled, city-wide. Will Nicolas Rathe, who is something almost but not entirely unlike a cop, be able to solve the mystery of the missing children through shoeleather work? The... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:30 AM on December 16, 2014

Highway to the danger zone.

A lot of people seem to consider food poisoning to mean anything more serious than mild indigestion. Like, if your food poisoning lasted three hours and then you made a complete recovery, it probably wasn't.


I had food poisoning that lasted...well, I was definitely on the mend three hours in. But jesus, what a three hours they were. There was a point where I was feeling pretty ill, walked toward my room and decided that I would just have... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:22 PM on December 15, 2014

I wasn’t sure if getting laid was worth losing some dignity.
Culture doesn't just arrive from the sky; we're not condemned to "having sex equals letting people be horrible to you if that's their thing". Edison is making the argument that, while various fetishes are okay in various pre-specified and negotiated contexts, "I want to hook up" should not be taken as "therefore you have blanket permission to use language that is widely recognized as degrading and offensive" - an argument that seems pretty basic to me.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on December 12, 2014

From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin -- and now Mike Brown
One thing I wish could happen at these protests, based on having been a white person at a number of them: I think someone (in consultation with the organizers and choosing the best person to say this kind of thing, whoever it is) could say, at the short speeches that begin these things, "I want to talk to the white people who are here tonight" and then just say "we are here for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the black people who have been killed. We're here... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2014
Whites are more confident than ever that their local police treat blacks fairly

There is something really, really wrong with white people - the more I think about my own experiences as a white person and the more I feel like I'm able to separate out and identify about "white culture[s]" the more I think that the process that sort of begins with the crusades but really picks up with colonization/imperialism and slaveholding has permeated how... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:29 PM on December 9, 2014
Frowner, what do you mean by "actively"?

I mean that 50% of white people are confident that their local police treat blacks fairly....after months of police killings in the news. More white people are convinced of this now than before Ferguson. I mean that when white people read about disproportionate sentencing of black people, their confidence in the prison system increases. If actual facts about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on December 10, 2014
I had wondered if there weren't undercovers involved out there. I felt like there wasn't much point arguing about it without any information - and there's always the possibility of anarchists doing fool things, if I may say so as an anarchist - but this has all seemed so amped up even for Berkeley/Oakland protests, and it just sort of felt wrong, like not quite the kind of thing that I would expect even when anarchists do fool things. There have been some things I've read... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:03 PM on December 11, 2014

Beauty is cheap if you point a camera at a grand phenomenon of nature
Okay, leaving aside the "is it art" question, which is obviously dumb, I wonder about how the economy plays into the 6.5 million price tag. Hasn't art in general become - like central London real estate, etc - more of aa place where the global elite park their money? Aren't art prices in general rising well out of proportion to inflation? Maybe this is art, whatever; maybe it's valuable art; but the question of how it came to be, in the age of mechanical... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on December 11, 2014

CIA Torture Report Released
I always figure that a lot of people think torture sounds fun - to perpetrate, not to endure. I think a lot of the people who commit torture enjoy it. I think that's why, at root, it's so difficult to stop people - because the kind of moral thinking that you need to do in order not to get a kick out of hurting others is relatively rare and substantially discouraged. I've been around enough cops as they beat people to be pretty confident that they thought it was fun as long as it wasn't too... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:04 PM on December 9, 2014
What kills me is that all this stuff about the US training torturers and supporting torture regimes was well known in this country in the eighties and nineties. People protested it, people went to jail, the FBI investigated and harassed the organizers of the protests. You could know about this stuff if you paid any attention. But people could not hear what was being said - just like now, I guess. You could show them all kinds of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:30 AM on December 11, 2014

"I was totally detached. I was outside myself."
The article actually says that many women who have pregnancy denial don't put on much weight or get a characteristic belly - per the article, it's possible that there is a mental/endocrine connection sort of the reverse of the hysterical pregnancy. One of the women interviewed also describes how she semi-consciously chose to eat very, very little while pregnant.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:50 PM on December 10, 2014

Oh and the food? “It was delicious.”
I hope he's getting lots of shame. And I have to wonder whether he would have pulled this with a restaurant run by white people.

This is, no lie, my year of realizing that Americans are disgusting, immoral people, especially the white ones. When there's something serious in play, we'll endorse torture and lynch law. When it's a question of four fucking dollars, we'll bully some small business dude who is standing in our way. If there were a god,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:53 PM on December 9, 2014
On another note - a restaurant can raise its prices, right? It's not like they're going to say "oh, well, we put this menu up in 2011 [or whenever] so I guess we'll just charge 2011 prices unto the end of time". No one is going to go back to $3.95 dan dan noodles or whatever it was. And again, it's $4 for one item - that's a pretty poorly thought out systematic rip off since it's not like every customer is going order the one dodgy item, and for the occasional... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 AM on December 10, 2014

"Maybe we’ll find a toy gun that’s been altered by a youngster..."
The chief feels that these inspections by his officers can uncover firearms that the resident may not have even known were there.

Oh, I bet they'll find drug and porn and all kinds of illegal substances that the residents didn't know about. Then they'll have no choice but to seize the house and any cash since those things were obviously used in some kind of crime, etc.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:07 PM on December 9, 2014

Eat your vegs
Oh, yes, I talked to Literature on the phone the other day and it was indeed very hurt that I had not yet finished either Dhalgren OR In Search of Lost Time, and I haven't even started that copy of Lord of the Rings in French that I picked up in 2008. I had to apologize and promise that I would continue with the Pat Barker novel I'd put down after the child rape.

And the publishers! They too publish based on what people finish,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2014
There was one glorious day in about 2009 when I sold all my Derrida. Writing and Difference! Of Grammatology! Specters of Marx! Limited Inc! And that big book of interviews I'd try whenever I had a long bus trip. All, all went down to the shop and I came back with something like ten dollars. Which I assume I spent on science fiction and soda pop.

I expect that some day I'll work back around to wanting to read some Derrida, and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2014
I love pulp of all kind, and I stop and start often, and I read a chapter or a line or a note, as needed, but this idea that one must be immedaitely satisifed, that makes me a little sad. Some reading is enormously hard work that rewards forbearance.

But see, that's not where the whole "finish the book you start" thing is coming from. "Finish the book you start" is about bringing the weird moralizing and the sort of stupid blanket... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:33 PM on December 8, 2014

Cooking isn't fun, but you should do it anyway.
It's interesting that we get trapped, over and over again, in this box of regular old neoliberal assumptions - so it's moralizing and recipes on one side, and "but but but" on the other, because making cooking non-horrible for many people under contemporary conditions is almost impossible.

1. Wages for housework, as per Sylvia Federici. Cooking falls more to women than to men and is undervalued, like most women's work and caring work. Cooking is about the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:30 AM on December 8, 2014
When I was little - and I had two working parents, and a stable home where all but one weekly meal was always home-cooked from scratch - salmon was a luxury. (Now I'm vegan-with-lapses, I don't eat salmon.) Salmon was a treat, and we had it occasionally on Sunday nights. "Ooh, let's grill some salmon, it's so healthy and simple!" would have required easily another $10,000 a year in income, and short of sending me out to the bottle factory like little Charlie Dickens, that wasn't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:34 AM on December 8, 2014
"steering them away from prepackaged food and frozen vegetables"

Unless someone plans to steer me toward an extra $100 a month, I'm going to keep eating frozen vegetables, thanks.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2014

America's Worst College... Or Is It?
I just could not believe that Shimer is the worst college in America under any circumstances, because Adam Kotsko teaches there, and everything he writes about his teaching and his classes sounds simply fantastic. I'm a pretty hard core atheist (not a "New Atheist", just to clarify) but I actually read his theology posts and links. I went to a highly regarded small liberal arts college, and nothing I took was nearly as thoughtfully organized or as complex in argumentation as Kotsko's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:30 AM on December 7, 2014

Everything is Problematic
I just think it's a shame because there are lots of deeply passionate people that care a lot and might be a little more thin-skinned, less actively hostile, generally not as demonstrative, and interested enough to ask lots and lots of questions rather than assuming the other side are a bunch of drooling morons.

And there's this perpetual tension, though. Like, some things have to be the province only of awful people - there is no... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:08 AM on December 5, 2014

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