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Africans in space? Ridiculous!
This book about Afrofuturism in science fiction seems to have just come out.

I really like this essay, Further considerations on Afrofuturism. It has a sort of SF story metaphor as its organizing principle - future archaeologists.

Weirdly, it seems like the term (though not the thing at all) was consolidated by a white writer in this short essay Black To the Future.

A couple other Afrofuturist things I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:52 AM on October 4, 2013

More wreck than Wrecking Ball?
In a weird way, this makes me think of the lack of care given to young women of color in the music industry whose personae are based on exaggerated sexuality. Miley Cyrus is named in this letter as a vulnerable young woman and this is, I suspect, largely on account of her whiteness. Not because anyone shouldn't be considered and treated with care - it's not that she shouldn't be treated with care because young women of color are not, but that some people... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:13 AM on October 3, 2013

You are what you read
I'd say that the more you talk about what you read, the more likely you are to remember it. Of course, what you "remember" ossifies a bit - you develop "talking points" that detach a little from the experience of the book itself, there's a danger in putting things into precise words.

Now that I know I'll never have an academic career, I've been able to stop caring about mastery of a large body of books. Honestly, what if I read a book and there's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on October 3, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chain Restaurants
Just idly, on the burger front - we had homemade hamburgers probably three times a month when I was growing up because they were pretty cheap and I can't get over this idea that the Frowner family burger is identical to that at McDonald's. They sure don't taste the same - a thicker burger cooked as the eater requested it and a totally different, more robust texture along with a much more individual and deeper sear. Plus regular cheddar - just cheap... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2013

Don't Be That Dude
(If I may add - I would like it very much if those of us who actually are secretaries were not treated in crappy, sexist ways either. This conversation very often has a strong undercurrent of "it's so sad that women who are smart and accomplished get treated like secretaries, when only secretaries should be treated like stupid fluff-for-brains who made the Wrong Career Choices, because after all... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2013

The Coming Eucatastrophe
There was that made-for-TV zombie movie a few years ago where the dead all came back...to vote the Republicans out of power. I feel like the movie had European funding.

I think the whole "it's easier to envision the end of the world than the end of capitalism" thing that gets attributed to Zizek originated with Frederic Jameson.

Honestly, I don't find it "utopian" when people are all "zombie-ridden hellscape is the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:01 AM on October 1, 2013
And I should add that the next step knows no party lines, either, which is that the indulgence of the fantasy is (to crib a term from Zizek) always-already part of the system, always-already coopted by the reality from which we wish to escape. Watching a zombie movie is participating in capitalism and arguably even pacifying oneself against one's realities through escapist entertainment. Buying a bunch of mail-order tactical shit in the deluded belief that YOU will be the one who makes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:16 AM on October 1, 2013
Also, I think zombies are popular because they encompass a lot of concerns rather than because there is one primary explanation for their appeal. (Om nom, encompassing!)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2013

For Safer Food, Just Add Viruses
For a bit more on phages, here is Pub Med link to a short history/review of phage therapy. Phages are actually pretty neat (I work with/for someone who works on phages, although I'm a secretary and not a scientist) and my impression is that were they only profitable, they'd be a lot more widely used. They have potential as anti-bacterial treatment in humans, for instance.

When we ship bacteriophages, we have a whole page of "this is just a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:20 AM on October 1, 2013

"I’m not interested in teaching books by women."
That Toast piece is vaguely reminiscent of Donald Barthelme, only a Barthelme story would have had more wolves and been a little less depressing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on September 25, 2013

Baa baa black sheep / have you any wool / yes sir yes sir / kill all men
The thing is, a LOT of humor by an oppressed group about the oppressors is pretty rough-and-tumble. If you're an oppressor-class person who isn't awful, you may well feel bad. I mean, all those "white women are such ugly mayo-faces who think they can dance" humor on tumblr makes me feel bad. It does. It's intended to - that's not its primary intent, but it's not intended to be something that gives me a happy little chortle. It would be pretty bizarre, in fact, if I responded to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:03 PM on September 24, 2013
But why? I mean, I can see how it's fun to make fun of the people who you regard as your oppressors, but it seems like the benefits are low, and the risk of collateral damage is high. And just saying "Close the browser and walk away" seems dangerously close to deciding "Nothing those people say matters."

But you're implying that all messages are intended for all people. Many messages are... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:20 PM on September 24, 2013
That maybe this whole thing isn't as cutesy-harmless as it's being made out to be, because it serves to shame, mock, silence and erase real victims of real problems?

I think there's an assumption in this whole conversation that feeling good and comfortable has a moral value. So if there's humor that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, that's a moral problem; if there's humor that does not tread very softly around painful topics, that's also a moral... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on September 24, 2013

Proud Hipster
I literally remember the ’90s.

Me too, man, me too. Freaky-deaky.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2013

Orange is the New Black is the new Alabama?
In my short time there I was elbow to elbow with women of every age, race and religion. Our differences were myriad, but what we had in common was obvious — prison khakis, steel-toed shoes and an eight-digit inmate registration number. What was universally important to all of us were our lifelines to the outside world — our spouses and partners, our friends and family, and for many women, their children.

The thing that is so weird to me about this is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:27 AM on September 24, 2013

Have you seen the show? This isn't really what it's like at all.


I have, actually - I mean, just a couple of episodes. It's a pretty good show. But it's from a reform angle, and it's intended as an argument for better prisons and a recognition that "prisoners are people too and don't think you're better because you're middle class and white". There's also, IMO, some power/knowledge problems in how this kind of show is situated... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2013

0. Don't have children. Or pets.
(About pegboards: you can make your own with pegboard from the hardware store and some hooks. We have two - one for pots and pans and one for cooking stuff. We found some metal cylinder containers at Ikea that could be attached and keep all our silverware on the pegboard as well. We just used screws to attach two long pieces of wood vertically at the studs then attached the pegboard on top. Honestly, if my room were configured a little differently, I'd make a pegboard for... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2013

You know nothing, Jon Snow
I was actually just in an Apple store since I bought one of those buggy 2013 Macbook Airs. It was a horrible, repulsive, fascist environment, but it wasn't just full of kids and old people - the age mix was really wide.

I found the chipper servility of the staff really unpleasant to experience. And it should embarrass both customer and staffer that anyone should have the job title "genius". (I mean, the whole thing belonged in some kind of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:22 AM on September 23, 2013
I have been fairly satisfied with my "genius experiences," for what it's worth

See, I don't ever want to blame the worker for what is a corporate problem - and, I assume, a social problem as well, since most people really like making staff grovel because, whoa, the customer is about to unchain a few dollars. The other day I saw a guy dump his entire hundred dollars' worth of groceries on the sliding thing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on September 23, 2013
Fascist?

I found it fascist. For these reasons: the shape of the space, the monumental contours of the furniture, the block-y architecture without details reminded me of the kind of architecture held up as ideal by Mussolini - everything is just slightly too big or too thick; the outsized images of products and idealized users were reminiscent of Soviet art and the various places I've been where portraits of the leaders... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on September 23, 2013

We should do lunch. I know this great place with surly waiters.


I know that no one believes this in America, but it is possible for both customer and client to behave with courtesy toward each other - it's possible to be a polite diner and an efficient waiter without the one indulging fantasies of control and entitlement or the other being surly and inefficient. We don't need a society where when you're working you're... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:34 AM on September 23, 2013

Comments made upthread demonstrate the same derisive attitudes that were aimed towards me and my coworkers in the store every day, and calling the store fascist can be construed to mean that its contents and its employees are fascist, too. I take umbrage at the collective assumption that Apple employees are purposefully not being serviceful, and that is what I am responding to.


But hardly anyone has said this! In my own comments, I tried... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2013
(There is a fascist aesthetic - this isn't even controversial. Mussolini and the Italian futurists went to some trouble to detail one and to outline their ideas about modernity, the future and the state (for which one can sub global corporations, IMO). The Italian fascist state was really into working all this shit out. As to whether there is a communist aesthetic - there's certainly a state communist aesthetic. You can see the remains... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2013
As much as I'm enjoying this derail, which is truly hallucinatory in following its chain of free association wherever it may lead — it makes me feel like Metafilter is being free-written by a magical realist this morning — you realize that even your fellow anticapitalists might find this a very weird standard to hold a chain retail store to, right? Like, should we also be writing screeds about how we should reject JC Penney's because their cash registers aren't a potlach? Why does it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on September 23, 2013
I mean, I can complain about Occupy, if that would help.

Also, this whole business of "lol wut there are no intentional aesthetics in late capitalism especially not the kind where a highly theorized college educated person would draw on the aesthetic resources of the twentieth century, it's all just marketing" line that seems to run through some of the comments....well, I doubt very much that the extremely expensive marketeering at Apple is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:02 PM on September 23, 2013
(Also, people, the Italian state was the paradigm of aetheticized fascism!! The futurists! Marinetti! The Nazis certainly had an aesthetic and an engagement with modernism, but it was Mussolini who sprang to mind while I waited for the Genius with whom I was scheduled. Perhaps "genius" in the Apple Store just means "spirit of place". That would be okay, actually.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:02 PM on September 23, 2013
That said, even if Apple did incorporate specifically Fascist imagery or design elements into their stores, it wouldn't make them Fascist, necessarily, just, as you said, gross.

I think it really depends on what you consider fascism to be. Maybe that's the problem in this conversation.

If folks are reading it and saying "Frowner alleges that because of certain architectural peculiarities, we can tell... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on September 23, 2013

No, this is not an Admiralty Court.
(Hakim Bey is that special kind of "anarchist" who doesn't give a fuck about anything but ensuring that nobody is ever allowed to tell him what to do. Specifically, in Bey's case, he's into "anarchism" because the authorities won't let him molest children.

I did not know this. The linked essay is quite good, it's by the guy who used to publish Guinea Pig Zero a long-running and rather well-known zine by and about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2013

All schoolwork and no play makes Jack more likely to be depressed
To totally skip (momentarily) all the comments that have been written so far: when I read this article, it really illustrated for me that "enclosure" is the best way to understand capitalism.

What happens is that there is a realm uncontrolled by the market. This can be a physical space, such as indigenous land or a relatively unregulated public space in a city. It can be an intellectual space, like a discourse or a field of study where the barriers to entry... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2013
And yet there are so many other ways to provide safe spaces for poor kids. But before I want to get into that, I want to say that this is just the same old ass backwards American problem-solving in action:

We don't have a social safety net, so poor folks have to patch together relief via food stamps, disability and getting whatever benefit they can from one-size-fits-all programs, all of which are constantly under right-wing assault. So basically, what we have is a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2013
I spent hours at the library in my youth too, but the librarians weren't babysitting me - I was reading, or looking at library stuff. In general, because we had an adequately staffed and funded library, we had a level of okay behavior. I am not sure that "kids are here" means "adults are babysitting".

And honestly, if the other choice is, as described up thread "give the schools money so they can keep kids in class being restless and miserable... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:19 PM on September 20, 2013

My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me
When people have asked "what is she doing until 8pm", my guess would be "school lets out around 4pm, she has a sport or an extracurricular until ~5:30, transit home, dinner" with an extra half hour or forty-five minutes in there to decompress.

I'm in school again right now and I do my homework (one class at the moment) right after work, at work, because it's the quietest place available. By the time I've put in a couple of hours of homework, traveled... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:12 AM on September 20, 2013
I add too that the business about "rich kids get enrichment at home so poor kids need a lot of homework to catch up" is....well, that's rich. I don't know a lot of actually poor kids who get a lot of homework that is actually expected to be done, because their schools are chaos, they don't have enough books and there aren't enough teachers. No, it's "everyone whose home environment is somewhat stable and whose schools are somewhat staffed - and who thus has some hope of getting... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:17 AM on September 20, 2013
While I agree with you, it is not the teacher's fault that this family had 16 children.

Leaving aside questions of why people have a certain number of children (sixteen wasn't mentioned, right?) which is a very complex question and IMO more trouble to try to "regulate" than it can possibly be worth....

...those kids didn't choose to be born into a family with many siblings and not... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:14 AM on September 20, 2013

Samuel R. Delany's "The Orchid"
Oh wow cool! Thanks for posting this, although my Delany-sense tells me that I should not watch it at work.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:21 PM on September 19, 2013
Hey, did you know that I just taught a community ed class about Samuel Delany? I mean, it was sort of a "lab class" for me and I learned a lot about both Delany's work and the best ways to approach it. However!

There's a lot of ways to approach Delany. I don't think I'd start with Dhalgren or Stars unless I already enjoyed experimental writing and had a lot of SF background or just liked jumping into the deep end of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on September 20, 2013

I'm not your Tiger Mom
I guess what I'd say is that parents - in China and elsewhere - sometimes try strategies to help their kids that are not actually that great. My father, who is of German and English descent, said a couple of things to me as a kid that really fucked with me. He meant well. They weren't good choices, but he also provided a lot more to me in other ways and I am thus not a broken person. You could read this through the lens of "lower middle class farmer town men whose families originally... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:54 AM on September 19, 2013
Also, of course, the Shenyang News thinks this is a weird enough story to report on it and quotes a bunch of people expressing their skepticism. This sounds like one of those "a parent, who is Chinese, does something extreme and other people who are also Chinese are skeptical" and gets spun as "a Chinese parent did something extreme!!!!"
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2013

The Internet Hates Me
I wear thick plastic frames because I like having trendy glasses. There, I said it. I like having trendy glasses. I even switched from square ones to round ones because the square/fifties ones were getting played out. (I mean, I switched when I needed a new prescription.)

I like having trendy glasses because I like following fashion, sort of. I read fashion tumblrs, and I mean the ones where people are all "I'm wearing this nineties floral silk shirt and neon... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:25 AM on September 19, 2013
Man, nothing i love more than people who think a specific exception/possibility negates an entire class of lifestyle. Christ, what an epic exercise in missing the point/lacking empathy.

I think the issue is that we're talking about a bunch of different things:

1. Aesthetic morality - like, is it immoral to wear showy or trendy things, regardless of how you got them? Some people have expensive trendy things for a variety of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on September 19, 2013
You chose those glasses for a reason. You chose that outfit for a reason. Was that reason anything other than "this is the only option/class of options I can afford"? For much of my youth, that was it. We bought what we could afford, which was basically "cheap t-shirt and jeans, and the free frames that came with our shitty insurance." I, personally, am not that poor anymore, but that doesn't mean there aren't still kids like me growing up all over.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:10 AM on September 19, 2013

Racism, Ridicule, Righteousness and Reactions
I don't know. I think the article makes a pretty good argument. I also think it's an argument that does not apply to all social circles on the internet, and so it describes one thing really well but maybe suggests that this one thing is the only thing. Here's my thoughts:

1. Most of the reposts of racist tweets that I see are posted by people of color whose audience is substantially POC also. I think that a conversation about the whys and hows of posting these can... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:11 AM on September 19, 2013
Wow. That sort of self-loathing is, as they say, problematic. Although I suspect this may be a feature, not a bug.

No, it's not! I don't loathe myself. Honestly, I think I'm pretty great in many respects - I'm funny, I'm a great cook, I have an in-depth knowledge of science fiction theory, I write very solid business letters, I have fantastic taste in shoes. Also, for a fat person in early middle age, I am a really terrific... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:43 AM on September 19, 2013
"Not perfect" != "shitty person til the day I die". Holding yourself up to the "unquantifiable and the unhackable" as you put it, and judging yourself "not perfect" on that basis, well if it's not self-loathing, it seems to be some type of catholic-guilt-style self-flagellation. Being born into your own skin is not a sin.

But you didn't notice that I wrote "On some level, because of this and because we live... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:32 AM on September 19, 2013

Richmond's-out-of-his-room-he's-not-in-his-room
Honestly, looking for a "settlement" after nothing terrible or inconveniencing happened seems pretty grabby to me.

Also, I know some homeless people, so I'm not nearly as much on the "ooooh, a homeless person was living here, we were all in danger" side of the equation. Honestly, I'd probably have left well enough alone and not ratted on him given that he'd been living there quietly for months, but that's just me. One of the people I have a very,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:48 AM on September 18, 2013

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy
I think that working people should have high expectations. Why the hell not? What, we should all just say okay, the 1% captured 68% of all gains between 1990 and the present, but I am happy in my career of mindless and underpaid drudgery? Hell, all those people who wanted an eight hour day and a weekend were just a bunch of whiners whose parents worked harder than them, amirite? Stop thinking you're so fucking special, you peasant!... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2013

"I didn't love my wife before we got married."
I don't know about this - it sure seems like a great narrative if you want women not to develop any sexual subjectivity. "Oh, love isn't instant! It comes through work! It's expressed through work! It's not about 'emotional fire' (or presumably sexual desire) but about supporting each other every day". So your partner is supposed to be a combination of a parent and a really great roommate.

That might work really well if everyone involved... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:54 PM on September 16, 2013

Possibly the end of The Big Bang Theory? (Not the TV show)
I know there are some science-y types who will probably read this, so:

I did read the linked article, but could someone explain "four dimensional star" to me in simple language suitable for the childlike? I have just barely gotten my head around "and in this universe the fourth dimension is time" and this whole other-universe-with-more-dimensions thing is failing to work for me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on September 16, 2013

One of the saddest situations that I've seen
I've mentioned before in other threads that, yes, I was pretty horrifically bullied (my 'best friends' told me the summer before middle school that they couldn't be my friends anymore, because now we were going to go to a real school, where things mattered. Later, they became, of course, ringleaders in making me miserable). It's scarred me for life, and I have pretty severe trust issues because of it.

My best friend did that too. And the worst part was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:39 PM on September 12, 2013

Sorry, but this is bullshit. There is always conflict, but in my entire adult life I have never experienced the kind of torture I endured as a child. I have never been spit on by other adults, I have never been told that I'm ugly and a worthless loser by adults, I have never been driven to suicidal thoughts just to make the pain stop by adults. I've never been forced to keep interacting with people who hated me day after day, year after year.
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2013

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