Activity from Frowner

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A thoroughgoing rejection of science, technology, and reason itself.
Science is not an institution or a belief, it's a method. It is a very successful method of drawing tentative conclusions about the world around us, and then testing those conclusions, removing or replacing the ones that do not hold up to further empirical observations. Dispute the institutional application of the method if you want, but don't confuse the two, because they are not the same.

I dunno, the more scientists I meet socially and at work, the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:08 AM on February 23, 2015

"I sat in the middle of a catastrophe."
I will look for Jenny Diski's books now - I had no idea that she even existed, although I've read most of Doris Lessing's work and some of the work of people associated with her.

Doris Lessing was, I think, not a nice person. That "Doris and Me" essay is a bit of a shock.

I mean, I'd never really thought that Doris Lessing was a nice person - her books are, substantially, about spite, and sometimes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on February 22, 2015
Also, would it have killed her to say "If it turns out that I really don't like you and can't live with you, I'm not sure what we'll do but you won't be homeless"?

I mean, for fuck's sake, characters in The Four Gated City are capable of that much.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:45 AM on February 22, 2015
Did you have a chance to read all of Diski's memoir stuff? There's part where Diski gets all freaked out and anxious and depressed and finally gets it together to ask Lessing, basically, "you've taken me in and my parents don't want me back and what if you don't like me now that you're stuck with me?" And Doris Lessing gets so angry that she can't speak, storms out, goes round to friends, is absolutely furious - comes back and writes the girl a letter about how she has to grow up,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2015

Defensive Architecture Keeping Poverty Unseen
It's worth reading the author's short essay about his own homelessness, which is linked in the article - he was working the whole time. It fills me with rage and hatred and reminds me - funnily enough- of this old nineties comic, The Angriest Dog In The World, about a dog who is so paralyzed with rage that he can neither move nor make noise. I would hit things if there were anything to hit.

During my homelessness, I showered at the public… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:56 AM on February 20, 2015
It interests me that while I've seen a sharp uptick in this type of architecture in Minneapolis, I actually never saw a lot of unhoused people hanging out in the first place. I mean, there are places where people go, but most of this stuff around here seems designed to prevent, say, one homeless dude from - for one single hour! - sitting on a bench somewhere. And as a result, of course, it means that bus shelters and train stations are horribly inhospitable.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:12 PM on February 20, 2015

How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life
The trouble is that the situation is such that there is no middle ground between "la la whatever, say racist bullshit and face no consequences" and "you're fired, you will be shamed everywhere you go and anyone who googles you will see a whole internet's worth of ugly invective".

What's more, privilege will modulate all this stuff - someone who is rich, or who is white, or who is male (especially someone rich) will be able, eventually, to work their… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:56 AM on February 12, 2015

It's not that complicated; if you decide to be nasty in public, other people can publicly point out your nastiness.

But our thresholds for nastiness vary quite a lot, and we don't have a mechanism for sorting this out other than "ignore" or "pile on and try to get someone fired". What happens when I think that someone's remark about genderqueer people is just kind of stupid and some other genderqueer person thinks… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:38 PM on February 12, 2015
I think it's perfectly legit to say "I am uneasy with a crowd-sourced punishment system which varies wildly from day to day and depends tremendously on who is being punished and for what". It's not as if the issue on the table is only "should people who create varying degrees of racist tweet be accountable in some consistent and proportional way for this in other areas of their lives" - that's a question that we might stand a chance of answering with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:49 PM on February 12, 2015
The thing is, when someone gets fired/faces large life consequences for their actions, they're not facing those consequences because their employer/school/etc cares about being anti-racist or feminist, etc - which is why the woman who reported the dongle joke was fired. The employer/etc cares about avoiding DDoS attacks, being shamed on social media and so on. Which is why there are lots of cases like Adria's, or people getting fired for being outed as trans on social media,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:34 AM on February 13, 2015
I'm not. They didn't want someone running their PR who thought it was amusing to make public racist remarks. I think they were entirely right.

And racist remarks - like homophobic and misogynist remarks - call into question whether that person can work with people of color, women, GLBTQ people and those white/male/straight people who have friends/lovers/partners/children who are POC, women, GLBTQ etc. If someone makes racist remarks about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:40 PM on February 13, 2015
That Adria Richards article over at Shakesville is very, very worth reading - for one thing, Richards points out some factual errors in how the story was reported.

It really illustrates how who you are depends on how the internet rage machine treats you, and that the more privilege you have going in - I would argue especially racial privilege - the more recoverable things are for you.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:12 AM on February 20, 2015
Adria Richards also points out that although she does not identify as a feminist and has pointed this out online, her actions were framed as feminist by her attackers (and implicitly, her alleged feminism was used to help whip up the mob into a frenzy). That sheds some interesting light on certain internet discourses around "feminism".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:15 AM on February 20, 2015

The Starlost
Oh my goodness, I remember Ellison's essay "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto" about the Starlost.

I particularly remember the part where he said that - and the action is supposed to take place inside an enormous generation ship with large, enclosed communities - since the camera could not film distances of more than one mile, the director said that the plot had to describe these enclosed societies as no more than one mile in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:33 PM on February 19, 2015

Shoes were worse, table manners were better, and they had dragons

Most of this is super awesome -- but the medievalpoc blog is... problematic in it's own right (the blogger has made some alarmingly racist claims of their own, and has some ties to some really questionable people)

While I would really, really not want to get into the usual set of arguments around medievalpoc (ie, I don't especially want to discuss folks' opinions of her scholarship unless we can bring special expertise of our own to bear,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:28 PM on February 19, 2015
I was also somewhat peeved that basically the only reference it made to any particular time or place was to 14th century England, when "Medieval Europe" could conceivably encompass anything from Visigothic Iberia to the Golden Horde in Russia, Swedish Jarls, or the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. There's a natural bias in the Anglophone world to assume that what happened in England is typical of the whole continent and that whatever we imagined went on in the Hundred Years… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:06 PM on February 19, 2015

You need housing to achieve stability, not the other way around.
I've actually known a couple of homeless people - now housed, though both precariously - pretty well. I also shared housing with a guy who had been in and out of homelessness and who was dropped into homelessness again after we could no longer handle living with him and the alternative housing he found did not work out. (That was a decision that I regret, actually - I was a lot younger and I think I should have worked stuff out instead of bailing.) I'd say that I have known a reasonable… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:01 PM on February 19, 2015

"If you can move at a slow shamble, we can use you."
David Cameron is the worst and the UK sounds more and more like V for Vendetta every day. I cannot get used to the UK sounding worse than the US - that just absolutely does not compute to me. I mean, how can all these people be so awful? How, how? They're awful and stupid and they're supposed to be well-educated - it's not just that they're evil, it's that the don't even fucking read the research. This is a country… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2015
I have grown up constantly and miserably aware of how much space I take up. I cringe inwardly to this day when I pass a group of teenage boys because I am expecting them to yell an insult at me.

Oh, dude, I hear that - the hypervigilance, the anxiety. It was really, really fucking hard for me to go to the gym because I freak out in locker rooms. I feel really proud of myself, in fact, that I can usually get changed (quickly, in a corner) now without… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:51 AM on February 17, 2015
I think it might be useful to distinguish between "I like doing this" and "this is a morally good thing to do, just like creating a social safety net or giving your homeless friend a place to crash". It might even be useful to distinguish between "I notice that my health is better because I do this" and "improving your health is a moral act, like creating a social safety net or giving a homeless friend a place to crash". Particularly, it is useful to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2015
The moral cost to obesity is the homeless veteran that was denied housing, the food bank that has to close, and the government that can't fund public education because the government is budget-restricted. Those are all real costs.

Really? Really? That's the actual trade-off? Services to fat people - who are fat because they are bad, or else they would make themselves thin - are what is driving cuts to the VA and the schools?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2015

We are way past joking.
Living in Minnesota, we probably would be hard pressed to keep up too.

I've lived in Minnesota since the early nineties and I have not seen anything like what folks are dealing with in Boston. Last year was bad, yeah, but we didn't get six feet of snow in a couple of weeks.

When I was a kid in Illinois, our garage collapsed from the weight of the snow, but then it was an old garage.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2015
Okay, I have the world's most selfish question, here:

I will be in Boston for work (admin support for a ginormous conference) in mid-March. I'm also spending a couple of days just, you know, hanging out in Boston. I'll be pretty much in the city center, lodging-wise. I think that one day I'll probably go to Cambridge to do nothing but visit bookstores. The other day will be for museums and food.

First, just how difficult are things likely to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:25 AM on February 17, 2015

“We clamor for our own stories, to see ourselves in narratives..."
That feeling that white people should not be writing work that centers people of color - I really kind of get that. Whenever I encounter a novel by a man that is supposed to be this deep and profound portrait of a woman character, or when I encounter queer characters written by straight writers, I feel anxious and uncomfortable - partly because I feel like people writing from a position of privilege always get to tell those stories, and partly because I feel like I'm just… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:41 AM on February 17, 2015

If "50 Shades" had been written by a man.
I mean, some of these are pretty funny. (The duvet one, but perhaps that's just because my house is so cold.)

But the framing device is just the usual "whatever women's sexual desires can be imagined to be is wrong". If women don't want sex, or want a relationship rather than a hook-up or aren't nubile nymphets, then it's important to allege that all men everywhere are total horndogs who think about sex, on average, every seven seconds and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:07 PM on February 15, 2015
Fifty Shades of Socialist Feminism is funny. Also really cold and ruthless in a way that even left-wing women journalists are not encouraged to write characters.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on February 16, 2015

No Pain, No Gain
One thing that bothers me about the Fifty Shades of Grey lolling/critique: the way the audience is always characterized as "housewives", with genial tolerance or genial contempt depending on the writer. (Admittedly, I have only read the Pervocracy recap and not the actual books, and they sound pretty ghastly.)

Part of this is a class thing - like, I have not known anyone who is actually a "housewife" in many years, because I don't… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 AM on February 13, 2015
With regard to today's lolling, you are the only person who's mentioned housewives thus far

Actually there are several references to housewives in the reviews that have been linked in this thread, the mamamia one in particular, and it's a trope in several celebrated internet recaps - the Jenny Trout one in particular. I've also seen it in reviews in the past few days (Salon, I think.). I should have made that clearer, though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:27 AM on February 13, 2015
So, references to housewives are a thing that you've seen, but not "always" at all. It just seems weird to pretend that it is more of a running theme than it is, especially when people are clearly finding a million other reasons to have problems with 50SOG.

But I feel like it is a running theme - okay, it isn't literally true that every single review on the internet calls the book porn for housewives, but… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:42 AM on February 13, 2015

The musicians you don’t know will bore you to death
I personally love arguing about things like whether live music sucks - it's something upon which almost everyone has an opinion backed up by something legit (personal experience is legit for this purpose; plus lots of people have been in bands, have friends in bands, book shows, run sound, etc), it's very low-stakes and it has relatively little political dimension.

(Because "these venues are inaccessible" and "marginalized people get harassed" are… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:05 AM on February 12, 2015
Or was I there to see Versus? Maybe it was Versus. It was in the early nineties, well before Stereolab would be expected to fill a large venue or to headline.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:07 AM on February 12, 2015
In the early days, that's how the band Low's shows always were. People would literally sit cross-legged on the floor in complete silence leaning in to catch every last note. It was really a beautiful experience for me, but I wouldn't criticize anyone else for finding it creepy or boring

Oh, ha ha, I think I saw a couple of those early Low shows. I had a friend who was super into them.

I was not mature enough to appreciate the experience, although I found the shows pleasant.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2015

Nothing about me was ever gross, come to think of it
also, do women think that being involved in saintly humanitarian endeavors make you more attractive to potential partners? that's not something i've ever thought about before.

Saintly humanitarian endeavors - certain kinds of saintly humanitarian endeavors, not being part of ISM, for instance, or getting arrested while distributing food with Food Not Bombs, or protesting as part of ACT-UP - are a way of performing an idealized [white] femininity. The… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:54 PM on February 11, 2015
Surely you know that there are more than a few dudes excited by any of those things - also that this does not reliably indicate that they aren't dirtbags.

Well, yes, but not as performances of successful, appropriate femininity. The ins and outs of misogyny on the radical left are a bit different from the "building my resume for OKCupid" straight-women thing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:12 PM on February 11, 2015
I also feel the need to call out the people who are implying that (white?) women doing good things is some kind of feminity thing or whatever. Um. I don't know how much irony was in those comments, but fuck off? Kindness and compassion are pretty important to healthy relationships, and seeing someone genuinely care about these things can be a sign for that. And people doing good things is good. Whether you're a (white!?!? wtf?) women or not.

Okay, I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:31 AM on February 12, 2015
(There's a book whose title I can't recall which came out about three years ago which was about something like "women, purity and morality" and which described the historical roots of women in the West as enforcers of "civilized" behavior - it was a pop-scholarly work and the excerpt I read was quite good. Maybe someone here can think of the title as it made a bit of a splash?

I have on my very shelves at home three or four books about the origins… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2015
Frowner, before I digest what you've written, I just want to say, that I read your first comment as very flippant, and I reacted rudely. However you meant it, I apologize.

That's okay. I could definitely have been a bit clearer about the difference between "how I feel about people I know and what I value in them" and "how we all deal with weird socially constructed understandings of how we ought to feel", especially because… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:03 PM on February 12, 2015

Do they...squeeze ducks to get it?
I never had Beijing duck (I just can't call it Peking duck) in Shanghai - I'm sure you can get it and at pretty good quality too, but there's so much delicious Shanghai food to eat that...I mean...why not just eat All The Shanghai Food? You can get good pressed duck in the US, but good Shanghai food is really hard to find. (There was a good Shanghai restaurant in Chicago, but it closed years ago; if I ever win the lottery, I am going to offer big bucks to some Shanghai… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2015
Frowner, there are some Shanghai-style restaurants in NYC that seem great to me, as a person who has admittedly never been to Shanghai. Mostly in Chinatown and Flushing.

But in New York! That might as well be on the moon. When I win the lottery, I will build a Shanghai-style restaurant next to my house*.

*And create jobs in my neighborhood and pay generous wages to both the locals and the Chinese talent. And eat at the restaurant every day.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2015

My Gay Uncles
Something I happened across from what I did not know existed, David Wojnarowicz's autobiographical comic:

Words can strip the power from a memory or an event. Words can cut the ropes of an experience. Breaking silence about an experience can break the chains of the code of silence. Describing the once indescribable can dismantle the power of taboo. To speak about the once unspeakable can make the INVISIBLE familiar if repeated often enough in clear and loud… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2015

"more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever"
but in my experience "performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, training meetings, and post-mortems" have made many of my workplaces happier and more productive places.

It would probably be worth investigating what makes these things work in some places while they operate primarily as instruments of covert social violence in others. I surmise that this is what Graeber is - sort of - doing, since he seems to be interested in the unspoken… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on February 10, 2015

Brutalism isn't ugly, it's utopian. It's beautiful. (There are certainly individual ugly brutalist buildings, and I am a bit skeptical of all buildings shaped like tall tin cans.)

I used to hate it and make fun of it, but I pass by a number of brutalist buildings on my way to work - and indeed, work in one - and seeing them in different light over time really changed my perspective. I love how they look like… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:11 PM on February 4, 2015

How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps
The funny thing is that I started going to the gym and stopped caring about dating - not friendships or doing stuff, just about dating. I mean, really stopped caring. It makes me question what I was doing dating people in the first place, since there doesn't seem to have been anything involved except insecurity and the need for something to think about, now all replaced by wondering what the hell kind of exercises that one guy was doing last night and where can I learn to do… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:06 AM on February 3, 2015
The anti-humanist mix tape (or really, playlist; I'm old, it's always a mix tape to me even though I haven't had a cassette player since 2007) in its present iteration is basically a lot of acid house and the very coldest-sounding untz-untz dance music I could possibly find. Plus lots of Gang of Four, Meat Beat Manifesto's "I Got The Fear" and "Asbestos Lead Asbestos", a particularly depressing song called "Coup" and Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:47 AM on February 3, 2015
The horrible ex-girlfriend "fucking around with gross and terrible people"

Yeah, I did not care for that. I am willing to write a certain amount of it off as "at the time I felt like my "horrible" ex-girlfriend was fucking around with gross and terrible people, which is part of my whole description of feeling angry and miserable and like eating only skinless chicken breast".

I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:12 AM on February 3, 2015
They're very difficult.

Oh my god yes, of course they are. They're like if you took a split squat and made it even harder. And it's not like I'm some kind of split-squat-doing champion; I still wobble a lot.

What's amazing about going to the gym - you realize that many ways that you assumed that you could bend or stretch, you actually cannot.

The saddest moment… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:00 PM on February 3, 2015
I do admit that I envy people who just basically step up their exercise and knock off the potato chips and lose weight. I have a friend, for example, who started going to the gym and biking everywhere and changed nothing about her diet at all (she eats a bunch of meals out every week, including an extra post-going-out diner meal full of fried carbs at about 4am in the small hours of Saturday morning) and has lost about 100 pounds over the past year.

Meanwhile, I -… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 AM on February 4, 2015

Animals getting high, drunk and tripping
I read this as "animals getting high, getting drunk and tipping", and started wondering what gratuity-like process existed in nature. "Animals are amazing!" I thought. "First with the tool-using, now it turns out that they...tip each other?" But they don't. I suppose no one likes to work Sunday brunch down at the bird feeder.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 3, 2015

"I know because I vaccinated both of them"
Okay, but if we didn't vaccinate most people for tetanus in advance, could we give them a rabies-like post-exposure vaccine? (That would have its own drawbacks, right, since probably a lot more people get unexpected punctures than get bat exposure.)

I would rather have the vaccine, just so I don't have the surprise-stray-nail-in-the-backyard and have to sit there wondering if I'm going to get lockjaw.

And how does this all play out with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on February 3, 2015
(I take remote risks very seriously, for the record. My doctor knows this only too well.

But on the other hand, I was the one who said "hm, I bet that faint thumping noise means something really bad about the engine" and everyone else said nonsense and we just barely made it home and the engine was basically a brick. And it wasn't even my car.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2015

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