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A lion told her to walk away, and she did.
But the theme that girls stop being interested in cool/fun/interesting stuff and become "boring" when they start being interested in boys is certainly not a hard one to pick up on, either here or across the board in all kinds of texts aimed at children. Especially those aimed at young girls, which is what makes it especially disheartening.

This isn't even out of line with the rest of Lewis's writing - consider "The Shoddy Lands",... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:14 PM on December 12, 2013
This always bugged the heck out of me - the idea that Narnians know about Christmas. What exactly do they think they're celebrating? Shouldn't they be celebrating "Aslan-mas" or something?

I really feel that this is a problem mostly because of the commercialization and ret-conning of the books. If you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a stand-alone story with a relatively light-hearted and fun kind of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:22 PM on December 12, 2013
You don't have to wonder too much what happened to him, we know most of it. His dog died, his mother died, he had a crazy headmaster, WWI freaked him out and he recommitted to atheism, then became an academic and Tolkien and Dyson dragged him back into Christianity. An intellectual, he couldn't stop thinking about it and writing about it and so you have his many fiction and nonfiction books. Sure that's an oversimplification but if you want to better understand what he thought about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:36 PM on December 12, 2013
In all fairness, that idea of complete "interest in [your] own agency"-- that you exist for yourself, you belong to yourself, you don't owe nothin' to nobody and nobody is the boss of you-- is pretty much the textbook Christian definition of pride, both for men and women. Lewis describes it in Milton's Paradise Lost as "the root of [Satan's] whole predicament-- the doctrine that he is a self-existent being, not a derived being, a creature."... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2013

Throughout the ages, women have led rebellions and revolutions...
Perhaps this is a good place to mention Maria Nikiforova and her armored trains full of anarchists. Nikiforova was a great power in Ukraine in the years around the Russian revolution - apparently eclipsing Mahkno - but has largely been written out of history for her anarchism and her gender.

I was astonished by her biography - and I had absolutely never heard of her. (She's clearly one of the inspirations for the trains in China Mieville's Iron... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on December 10, 2013

iPads and food banks.
There are a lot of food banks in the UK. But, how does one get access to a food bank in the UK? They go to a doctor/nurse/faith leader and say "I am hungry". Then, the official does a survey to assess whether that person is hungry and poor enough to access a food bank, which they can only access three times per year for a grand total of nine days' worth of food per year. So, a lot of people accessing nine days' food per year. Food banks are a stop gap measure meant to empower... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:45 AM on December 10, 2013

People of Color are not an anachronism
This tumblr is one of the best tumblrs out there, IMO. It really uses the medium to the fullest, the writer is extremely smart and has great instincts for relevant scholarship, and the subject is just awesome on many levels, artistically, historically and politically.

I have always wanted to know more about those people of color who are mentioned in passing in historical accounts or novels - I figured that people got around a lot in the ancient world, so there must... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:24 AM on December 8, 2013
I think the thing that's irritating is that the sort of mefite who's going to click on a link to a blog full of medieval (or not) art is also the sort of mefite who's going having enough of a knowledge of European history to realise that the casting of Vampires of Venice or whatever wasn't ridiculous.

I beg to differ!

And this is why I have no trouble accepting the "whitewashing" argument - even though clearly there... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:00 AM on December 9, 2013
Something that's getting overlooked here is that it's not super important whether each individual instance is accurate*; what's important is that the vast majority of the time, in any material not produced for a specialist audience, Europe has been inaccurately portrayed as virtually exclusively white - and this whiteness has been mobilized for all kinds of unsavory political purposes. It's like, if there were lots of historical fantasy shows and movies and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:23 AM on December 9, 2013

you can love me if you want it's not my problem
That Heiko Julien thing reminds me of the Sick Puppy story in Girl With Curious Hair crossed with Generation X with a little bit of Kathy Acker and her general cohort.

That is, I don't think it's new in some kind of revolutionary sense; I think it's the generational recurrence of a certain type of anomie, expressed slightly differently each time in response to the world. But I also thus don't think it's bad or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2013
THAT SAID, I’ve been saying on MeFi for actual years that if you know any young people who’ve grown up with social networks as a way of life it is sort of astonishing how interesting and witty and sharp the a lot of them have turned their local online cultures into. Lots of excellent comic timing and self-reflection and even insight and wisdom that I don’t seem to recall my five-years-older generation having quite so much of. There’s a lot of enabling going on, both good and bad, and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:20 PM on December 6, 2013

Exiting the Vampire Castle
That was not like what I remember of Mark K-Punk's earlier writing. I notice he's writing a book on depression; I wonder if he's been through the mill.

One thing I have noticed - there's a LOT of infighting in a particular couple of marxist internet circles - the Zero Books people, the former SWPers, some others...and Mark K-Punk used to really get into it with a couple of other bloggers in a way that struck me as bizarrely personal and petty on... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 PM on November 25, 2013
This is something I hear people complaining about, but I'll be damned if I've ever actually encountered it in the wild.

I think that it's a left internet gestalt thing - I don't think anyone is all "la la I shall create guilt to gain personal power". I wish this piece had gotten at how certain internet social circles are guilt-driven environments, where the appropriate affect is one of guilt. That's not... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:02 PM on November 25, 2013
I think the guilt thing arises from the discomfort one feels when one's worldview changes. It's generally not a pleasant experience. It requires you to reassess your own behavior, past and future. Those things are also true of guilt, so that's where the experience gets filed.

Sometimes, yes. But honestly, if you grew up in an emotionally abusive situation where you were always-already guilty, or if you grew up in a situation where you were a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 PM on November 25, 2013
Holy crap that Russell Brand prank call thing is gross. I'm amazed that in all the criticisms of Brand I have seen that has not been the top thing on the list, as it certainly does cause one to be like "to hell with him and the horse he rode in on and his supporters down to the last man".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:39 PM on November 25, 2013
The thing is, though, there's so many different lefts (or anarchisms, etc). Failure to talk about that is one of the problems with this piece, I think.

So for instance, a space that was truly aiming at welcoming and protecting sex workers might need rhetorical strategies which would alienate or drive away non-sex-workers, up to and including well-meaning radical non-sex-workers. Hell, a space which was aiming to welcome and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:27 PM on November 25, 2013
It's the constant hunt for a moment, a single moment of sin where you reveal those deeply suppressed thoughts that meant you were really a No Good Oppressor Like The Rest Of Them All Along and everyone can be outraged along with you at the fallen one and, indeed, failure to sufficiently condemn them makes you morally suspect, too.

The funny thing is that I've actually observed this stuff happening in various internet communities that I've been part of.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:02 PM on November 25, 2013
Seriously, I just have to reiterate the absurdity of his outrage machine assessment. A niche segment of bloggers (or even more terrifying, microbloggers) vs. the worldwide Murdoch apparatus? Fundamentalist Christian churches? The Tea Party? Untold -isms and -phobias? For all he's mad at people for working too narrowly - physician, heal thyself.

I'm not totally onboard with this, because when you're an activist* you are in a series of specific... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:36 AM on November 26, 2013
(I add that if you're in radical activist circles, you don't care the same way if the Tea Party hates you as you do if your radical peers decide that you're a shitty person. The state (and its Tea Party members) has enormous and dangerous power over our lives, especially the lives of marginalized people. That exists alongside the fact that when you live in a small community, the opinions and good regard of your radical peers are also enormously important and powerful, and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:42 AM on November 26, 2013
Okay, I'll just lay this out: I feel guilty right now. I feel shame. I have been thinking about and worrying about this thread all day, wondering why the hell I participated when I knew that it would cause me a huge anxiety flare-up.

I say this to illustrate my experience, not to imply in any way that anyone in this thread should have been quiet in order not to cause me anxiety.

Why do I feel this way?

Well, I feel... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:14 PM on November 26, 2013
As for privilege-checking, it is really not an ethos. It is a way to make people who are completely insensitive to the realities of ingrained sexism and racism and homophobia, cis-normativity, &c. aware of how much they take for granted. It is not something good liberals do every morning while they brush their teeth or every evening during their bedside prayers. I don't know why people take it to this absurd extreme, but it's just about awareness and a helpful way of thinking about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:26 AM on December 4, 2013

The New Statesmen Moustache the question.
With large numbers of minority-ethnic men—for instance Kurds, Indians, Mexicans—sporting moustaches as a cultural or religious signifier, Movember reinforces the “othering” of “foreigners” by the generally clean-shaven, white majority. Imagine a charity event that required its participants to wear dreadlocks or a sari for one month to raise funds—it would rightly be seen as unforgivably racist. What is the difference here? We are not simply considering an arbitrary configuration of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on December 3, 2013
Also, in a society which is substantially patriarchal and misogynist, any kind of "let's assert these practices about masculinity - which is very, very different from femininity!!! - and let's dehistoricize them so that we can all bond around masculinity in sort of a jokey way" is going to reinforce crappy gender norms, precisely because it pretends that gender norms are natural and uncomplicated.

As far as the whole race/mustaches thing being "the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on December 3, 2013
(To clarify - I don't mean that all men of color have "family or religious traditions about facial hair", which would be absurd....just that in general white dudes don't. (Although what about the Amish and Mennonites? I suppose that's the nearest majority-white related experience.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2013
Step one: Depose Peter the Great.

That's totally fascinating, the way that being cleanshaven got made part of this narrative of modernity. ("The beard is a superfluous burden".) I know Peter the Great was a big modernizer/Europeanizer, but was this tax targeted at any particular social class or ethnic group?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on December 3, 2013

I don't really understand the weird dig about baristas being "class-mixed" and I certainly am not going to get into one of those arguments about who is a "real worker" but I promise you that beard prohibitions are common in 2013 in many jobs at many levels of shittiness and overall workplace-policing, including white-collar office jobs in certain industries.


Oh, no, what I was trying to convey is that there are some... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2013
The thing is, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the Movember people thought "aha, let's reinforce traditional masculinity and racism under the guise of working on men's health."

What they almost certainly thought was "we have to appeal to the center-right* using language that will resonate with them, and anything is justified [short of, like, kicking puppies] if it is in a good cause, and really "norms" around race and masculinity don't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on December 3, 2013

Divers on Body Retrieval Mission Find a LIVE Nigerian cook who survived
That poor, poor man. Lucky to be alive, of course, but it must have been the worst kind of torture to suffer through - in the dark, in the sea, knowing you're going to die but having to wait, surrounded by the dead.

In nature there is neither good nor evil, but only an abundance of horror - that's about the size of it.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:34 AM on December 3, 2013

The First Time His Body Did Not Feel Wrong
“a very tiny space that exists between being a butch dyke and being a trans man,”

Oh, precisely. That is my tiny space. I'm pretty lucky because I have wide shoulders and flat hips (even as a fat person) and this means that if I buy undarted women's shirts and really simple pants, they fit as I like them to, but even for me, actual men's clothes (except sweaters) don't really work. (Now that I think about it, I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:13 PM on December 1, 2013

Boys and girls come out to play, playing till they're old and grey
Green Gartside is adorbs and has always been adorbs, not least because he seems to be a stand-up human being.

Marc Almond is the prettiest, but then Marc Almond has always been the prettiest.

I would totally ask Kate Bush out, if she were not, like, famous and maybe just a thought too old for me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:25 PM on November 26, 2013

Bread and Circuses are HOT!
The pink nerf bows are dumb, though. Who ever heard of a pink bow?

I was a little confused when the Guardian talks about how parents were saying that now, with pink bows, little girls were finally able to play archery with their brothers. I personally - butch/gender-nonconforming, own nothing pink - would have loved pink sports items when I was four or five, but I was just as happy to play with... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 AM on November 25, 2013
I agree that I don't really see how it says anything about people who want to emulate the Capitol makeup styles (if those people even really exist in any significant numbers) other than that they like the aesthetic. I can see an argument in this way if you're adopting the aesthetic of real life bad people, but fictional characters? I don't think anyone is doing anything other than looking at the screen, thinking "that looks cools," and trying to incorporate it into their own... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:42 AM on November 25, 2013
And I also find it kind of strange that you don't see supplying "new ways to dress, new selves to perform, new things to buy" as the point of a narrative as problematic on its own, since I tend to think of you as a member who's at least generally critical of capitalist narrative.

Oh, in a sense I think it's a problem, yeah. But it's a problem that is so entwined with other problems and with some... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:23 AM on November 25, 2013
It's not merely play; it's play with an implicit message. Regarding it as merely play seems like the same kind of reductive attitude seen in phrases like, "It's just a joke," or "I like what I like, so what?"

What I'm trying to say is that there's layers to the purpose of the narrative, and that the ostensible good purpose of the narrative is actually in service of the same corporate state it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on November 25, 2013
I get it. A lot of people use fashion as a way to try out new identities. That's all cool if you live in the suburbs and don't actually have to be around anyone who might actually have something to say about how you might be misrepresenting them. But don't ever try to defend wearing a culturally identifying symbol or fashion style and then get offended when someone mistakes you for a member of the culture you are "borrowing" from, even if it might be fictional.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2013
Also, seriously, what costume is above reproach? We should all be tiny forest animals for Halloween only, right, because if I dress up as Anna Karenina I am endorsing the serf-owning Russian aristocracy, and if I dress up as a ghost I am endorsing a spiritual view...honestly, you could make a really good case that if I dress up as an elephant, I am making light of the situation of elephants, which is pretty terrible actually, and elephants are really smart and have human-like subjectivity so... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:09 AM on November 26, 2013
I feel like there's some enormous miscommunication going on here, because I cannot believe that what's going on is that people are getting upset because some folks are [we're all assuming for the sake of the argument] dressing up as the bad guys from a Hollywood blockbuster just for fun instead of grappling with the deep meaning of the morality of the Hollywood narrative and accepting that when Hollywood creates a very generic good-versus-evil narrative full of problematic elements, this is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:06 PM on November 26, 2013

Your desert island reading list. Now with affiliate links!
See, I always have a book with which I am obsessed and which is my personal Greatest Book of All Time [of the moment]. Right now, I am obsessed by A Stranger In Olondria, which is just excellent. My default Best Book Evar is Franco Moretti's At Home In The World.

I don't scoff, by the way.

posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:36 PM on November 25, 2013

Wanda Coleman RIP
She was in Angry Women, which I know was much criticized for its labeling of the women included as "angry" but which was revelatory to me reading it at 17. And that was more than twenty years ago now. I did not know that she wrote for Days of Our Lives.

Too young to go, though, much too young.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2013

Unaccountable
There are pretty well-defined practices for non-profit accounting (and thus for government accounting). One of them is auditing, both internal and external. This isn't an accounting issue or a government issue, it's a Pentagon issue. Thousands of Very Large non-profit entities which have confidential programs manage to comply with non-profit accounting standards every year. It's work, yes, which is why you hire enough accountants, and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:20 AM on November 23, 2013

Americans will eat garbage so long as you cover it with ketchup
As usual, the solutions are money, time and workers' rights, so nothing will get fixed. What will happen - if anything! - is that schools will attempt to extract more labor from their underpaid cafeteria staff (incredibly, someone up thread was like "lol so derpy amirite", which just goes to show) through stricter rules and more pressure, there will be stricter rules about what kids can eat but because no one actually hires more staff or buys better food, it won't work. Except in rich... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:27 PM on November 22, 2013

It's like that scene from Amazon Women on The Moon...but less funny
At first I thought this was really creepy - and I still think it's kind of horrible in a broader neoliberalisation-of-everything way! - but then it occurred to me that this is sort of an UMC, we-have-to-move-for-work-every-couple-of-years-and-work-sixty-hour-weeks thing where these young women actually don't have, like, a volunteer network or a political network or any way to meet dudes except OkCupid. And that sort of makes sense - if you have... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2013

I have heard from men for years that it's such an awful shame that women aren't into casual sex the way men are, and why can't heterosexual relationships be more like the kind of ultra-casual ones that a lot of gay dudes have. This is for that. If many straight guys want many straight women to be into really casual hook-ups, the real of it is that there has to be some compensation for the greater dangers that women face when having casual sex... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2013

I am not talking about love on a roof in Brooklyn
How interesting it is that if a friend were to recount the fairly ordinary break-up conversation of some random strangers to you in great and spiteful detail, you'd think your friend was mean-spirited and change the subject, and it would quickly get boring anyway ("and then he said "but I don't like labels" and she said....") but of course if it's tweeted to an audience of hundreds of thousands it becomes entertaining. To some people, anyway.

Human... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:40 AM on November 20, 2013
The only thing that's "new" in this is its instantaneity. The New Yorker has been doing "overheard in..." columns for decades and you could find similar kinds of things in Punch in the nineteenth century. It's interesting, though, how the instantaneous nature of the reporting does, in fact, increase the sense of a violation of privacy.

But an awful lot of the ones in the New Yorker and Punch... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:48 AM on November 20, 2013

Martha Stewart's horrible food tweets.
Honestly, food looks gross. Pretty much all cooked food looks gross. That's the real of food.

I had a truly delicious lunch of fenugreek-chickpea dumplings with coconut chutney and an onion-whole-spice relish thing I'd made, and it smelled divine but looked like it came from a plasticky future dystopia. Or consider congee! Congee topped with delicious things like sauteed peanuts and enoki mushrooms and greens looks like nothing on earth. And yet it is so good.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:08 PM on November 19, 2013
I add that delicious European foods also look gross, just to clarify. Oxtail stew, my childhood favorite! And Tuscan baked beans - a squishy pallid landscape like something from fifties Soviet SF!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:12 PM on November 19, 2013

"So yesterday, we saved him the trouble."
I really do not like reading this kind of thing, although I always read them, because I have come to realize that I have started worrying every day about how I am going to handle it when our little cat dies, even though she is only four and the vet seems to think she's doing all right, and I don't want to spend the next X years [at least ten! please! fifteen or sixteen for preference!] thinking every day about how sad I'll be when she's gone.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:37 PM on November 18, 2013

Hana Williams' Story: How a rescue adoption lead to a preventable death
" At the same time, leaving aside cartoonishly ridiculous racists like the klan, all of the most racist people with actual power that I've met have all been deeply liberal and secular.

To return to this earlier point: the racism [that I have noticed] within evangelical Christianity does not rule out racism among liberal or secular people. (If only it did!) I would argue that the kind of racism that liberal, nominally anti-racist people practice... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2013
What I was trying to express is that if a child is about to die, or will pretty inevitably live a terrible life, then one shouldn't necessarily let own's own self examination get in the way of trying to help that child. In other words, potential hardship faced as the result of adoption should always be weighed against the actual hardship of the child if they are not adopted. And that when a child is in truely bad circumstances, the potential hardships will almost always be quite... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:58 PM on November 15, 2013

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