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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

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

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

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 think about this kind of thing and I know I'd be dead if we'd had social media when I was in school. I remember very clearly thinking many times between the ages of about ten and fifteen that my classmates would be happy if I died, and that they'd probably think it was funny to kill me if they could get away with it. I don't think that's precisely true, but I think my classmates would have thought trying to get me to die was a lot of fun. And it was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:29 PM on September 12, 2013
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

The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man.

"Don't feed the troll" is a tried and true internet adage. It works. There are trolls, they want attention, they want people to disagree with them. It's been proven time and time again that if you don't engage with them, they go away.

So basically in addition to Schroedinger's rapist we now have Schroedinger's troll, I guess - women don't know which guy is all mouth and which guy is going to go on Craigslist... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2013
...aaaand I anticipated precisely this kind of reaction, which is why I qualified the statement as carefully as possible

But you didn't qualify it as carefully as possible. You phrased it in a relatively patronizing way - the phrase "delicate sensibilities" was a poor choice, since it's a catch phrase used to suggest that people are being pearl-clutching and too sensitive. And "I don't say this to patronize anyone..." is strongly... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2013

Thatcher wouldn't Adam'n'Eve it
Surely it would be fruitful to consider how "internal markets" and privatization have worked for the NHS.

Oh, this should go about as well as the Chicago parking meters being privatized. A one time influx of cash goes away pretty quickly, even billions of dollars. In Chicago, we've watched rates rise on the meters steadily and the company that took them over rake in the profits, increasing with each year - the city is out any potential profit and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:12 AM on September 12, 2013

Charter of Quebec values to ban religious symbols for public workers
Oh, fuck a bunch of that. Pretending that there are lots of Christians running around wearing giant crosses solely so that you can claim that your ban on Muslim and Sikh religious garb isn't racist - oh, fuck that. This isn't going to actually become law, right?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:04 PM on September 10, 2013

The Kommandant's Daughter
I think "should we blame or exonerate this woman" is the wrong kind of question. If there's ever some thing that's just....blank, horrible testimony to the limitations in being human and the overdetermining nature of history, surely this woman is it. How can one expect her to process her father's public hanging, her childhood poverty and desperation, her rational fear of violent reprisal if she becomes known, the need to narrate a self despite growing up next to one of the evil... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on September 10, 2013
Not at all, though I also (separately) think it's deeply dubious how you're trying to establish this realm of "feelings" as private and sacrosanct and totally apolitical. If there's anything this story ought to teach us it's that the family is politics. But I was talking about facts and ethical conclusions from those facts, not feelings, in any case: the facts that Höss's parents kept from her and that she, as a consequence, still won't fully acknowledge now. The children of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2013

Acceptance for Dummies
I think one of the problems here is that there's a pervasive cultural narrative made up of 1000 tiny things that basically goes "Hip-hop is a universal musical language and no one race deserves the credit! But when black people do hip-hop, it's always tacky and homophobic and about strippers and money! There's this cerebral hip-hop by non-black people with Important Messages, if only regular hip-hop could be more like that! But meanwhile, let me name-check some black artists for credibility... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:37 PM on September 5, 2013
I get the sense that there's some underlying stuff happening here:

There are already-existing splits among GLBT people along lines of race and gender expression; white people and masculine-presenting people, especially white men, not only get treated a lot better but can actively perpetuate oppression by refusing to date/socialize with people of color or by fetishizing them and by creating a discourse that puts down femme-presenting and gender-non-conforming queer men... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on September 6, 2013
Yeah, I hear that a lot, but it's not actually true. Marriage benefits a ton of people on the lower end of the socio-economic scale, mainly through insurance, but through all sorts of other things too. It's true that the middle-class white gay was the main image for marriage, but getting all queer theory on marriage in general is not a winning argument. RTHA has gone through this before, and she's super better at it than I am, so hopefully she'll come along and give more info.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:54 PM on September 6, 2013
(Okay, people who have not yet listened to "Wut" totally should. Perhaps I am just dazzled because I am no hip-hop expert and because it has sort of a jerky choppy free jazz sound and because I listened to it covertly on my computer at work while doing a spreadsheet, but I really like it.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:52 AM on September 10, 2013

Dumpsters Full of Books
I feel like it's not just about culling, though - I think there's been a change in the theory of how books should be shelved. Between when I left for college (and thus was using academic libraries, which are quite different) and when I returned to using the public library (maybe eight years due to travel and some grad work), I felt like there'd been a shift from "let's put lots of books on the shelves for browsing even though the shelves will be full" and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on September 10, 2013
They tend to be one of the few public places that allow the homeless or otherwise marginal to stay inside during the day. Also, when they're big and underfunded (like the main Washington, DC library was until very recently), they have a really decrepit feel--buckets on the floors under strange (non-rain) leaks, etc. As a middle-class library user, I got stares from my friends when I talked about going there.

The truth is, I rarely go to the public... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:16 AM on September 10, 2013

Regret your international adoption? There's an app for that!
Honestly, despite the fact that I know someone who is a good parent to a girl adopted from abroad, I think international adoptions in general should be halted. We know that they create a "market" for babies and that as a result, children are stolen from their parents or their parents are so misled that it's pretty much the same as theft; we know that children are adopted frivolously by unqualified people and that the children often don't get stable situations; now we know that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:43 AM on September 9, 2013

eBay Menswear Power Search

I guess I just don't understand the market for $300 shoes (even used). If you're walking around on sidewalks at all, aren't you going to scuff them and get them ruined in about a week? I guess boots make sense, because they're expected to wear, but dress shoes?

High quality shoes are [potentially] far more comfortable than low quality ones. There are some terrible and expensive shoes out there, but in general a shoe that is made of good... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2013
I want to add that buying expensive shoes (even "expensive" used shoes) is absolutely a privilege, not an aesthetic or moral imperative.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:15 PM on September 6, 2013

Costs me exactly $107 to get leather soles with the rubber strips and rubber back bottom of the heel. Slightly more expensive than straight leather soles but I'm not slipping all over the place.

I probably get shoes re-soled a couple times a year so it isn't exactly an almost never occurrence for me. Never heard of topy before and I have no idea why the cobbler never mentioned it.

Wait, what? You're paying... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2013
Topys can be added to any kind of shoe with a flat sole - so if you have a kind of cheap shoes that you like, you can extend their life a LOT by having topys added. If you know a girl who really likes target flats, for instance, but hates how the soles wear out - she can take those to the cobbler and double or triple their wearable life.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on September 6, 2013

No Free Lunch
It sounds like the biggest problem here is that the paying-for-lunch system is bad. Especially because there's a line in there about how some students who qualify for free or reduced cost lunches are not enrolled in the program for whatever reason.

Of course, what they want is an ultra cheap pay-for-lunch system that they don't have to administer- they could always bill the parents, but that would require staff time to coordinate, for instance, even... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:33 PM on September 6, 2013
Oh, and why not have some way for the school to handle the free/reduced enrollment to make sure that everyone qualified gets in? Having it done by families who may be confused, busy or have language or cultural barriers - that's a recipe for things going wrong. Offer it up front when parents enroll their kids. And have a staff person dedicated to follow-up if needed.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on September 6, 2013

Wikipedia on Chelsea Manning
Far as I can tell, she was only known for her actions as "Bradley" because we live in a transphobic society where she could not transition to "Chelsea" before/during those actions.

Surely this could be resolved with some kind of section that basically says "A lot of Chelsea Manning's legal documents refer to her as Bradley and this [has these implications]".

The thing is, trans people (because they/we are... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:59 AM on September 4, 2013

but don't some people not follow that sort of narrative path? (Particularly with people who are more genderfluid or who are not very strongly associated with one gender in the first place?) If so, doesn't this mean that the discussion of the past may not always be a hard and fast rule? I apologize to generalize from the specific to the broad, but I have one trans friend that, for example, frequently makes reference to "That was when I was a man" as a clear
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:04 PM on September 5, 2013

An Open Letter to Bigot Diners
"Bigot" is the right word not because it's bigoted against white people but because the assumption that Asian cooks are somehow more naturally suited to make food from their home country than other people is a ignorant stereotype that confuses racial characteristics with authenticity.

And yet there's a whole set of concerns around white folks who learn to cook an "exotic" cuisine and make a lot of money and publicity off of it -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on September 5, 2013
I'm not sure where the award-winning Japanese pizza chefs cook, but all the pizza I had in Japan was not great. Corn, seaweed, and a sausage that looks like hot dogs were not uncommon toppings. And the cheese...the cheese was wrong so often. Never really figured out what kind was being used, but it didn't even have the edge of a mild cheese like mozzarella.

When I lived in Beijing, I had several local reinterpretations of US-style pizza and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on September 5, 2013

How Two Newspaper Reporters Helped Free an Innocent Man
And yet, where's the compensation for twenty years? Where's the punishment for the cops? It is wonderful that he's exonerated, but people acted with malice in order to convict him and they took two decades of his life, permanently altered his employment prospects, caused him great suffering - when will they be accountable? We'd have a damn sight fewer coerced confessions and false convictions if the people responsible for them faced some real consequences.

And of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:24 AM on September 3, 2013

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