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she risked everything to be kind
Surely there has to be some other way to deal with these things than just leaving the families to raise the money. That seems really wrong to me - private citizens should not be helpless and forced to negotiate as individuals with kidnappers. I mean, what if they hadn't been able to raise the money?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 PM on September 2, 2013

I am an intruder; I am a stranger; I am a woman in public spaces
As a “lady adventurer,” a female traveler, I have never had that particular privilege. I am an intruder; I am a stranger; I am a woman in public spaces – tea houses, street corners – often deemed the exclusive provenance of men. I do not have the luxury of sauntering into a basement chaikhana in Tbilisi or Istanbul, spreading my legs apart on the cushions, leaning back, loudly quoting Homer and demanding pots of tea, secure in the conviction that the world will shape itself to my will.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:00 PM on August 29, 2013
And, btw, women don't just need to worry about 'locals' I've heard multiple reports of women being assaulted in hostels by fellow backpackers.

Aw, dude, when I lived in China it was the white people I worried about, and the white people with whom I had bad interactions. I've written elsewhere about the older guy who was studying Mandarin and thus staying in the student dorm who hit on and pressured virtually every young woman and who kicked... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:45 AM on August 30, 2013

Swashbuckling or Swishbuckling?
And this suggests to me the death knell of dapper queer fashion. I mean, the last one with the suspenders? That's, like, what every masculine-spectrum young queer woman wears out on the town, right down to the floppy haircut. Oh well, I never got around to getting a bow tie and now I suppose I won't even bother.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on August 30, 2013

"The charmingly naive American student is in fact a cash cow"
Vis-a-vis administration: administrative costs are significantly driven by reporting requirements.

Schools have to do a great deal of reporting about grant and contract funds for research, much of which is appropriate and some of which is overkill; as schools get less state funding, more grant funding and contract funding is needed. Schools have to fund-raise. When you get 20% of your operating costs from the state legislature, you need to spend far less time and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:17 PM on August 28, 2013

Just take money from elsewhere in the budget, like administrator salaries or new construction.


New construction, sadly, often comes from earmarked funds - the legislature, a foundation, alumni, the city, corporate funders - which can't be used for anything but new construction. Quite a few other things also come from restricted budgets - you can have a situation where you have a surplus of funds for X at the same time... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:06 PM on August 28, 2013
Also, this MOOA business - won't that render the university even more undemocratic? At least at the moment, I can trot on down to the president's office with my union buddies to deliver a petition, or I can attend an important committee meeting - but if we have, like, twelve senior technocrat administrators for All The Colleges, how do we do that?

I add that universities should be job engines in their communities - now,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:15 PM on August 28, 2013
And the simple fact is that if you're trying to get Billionaire X to give the campus a gaudy gift you're going to get a lot further if you can put them in the room with Famous Important Person Y rather than with Super Competent but Basically Anonymous Administrator Z.

Which, again, is why when the university has to do a lot of fund-raising, you have to participate in a pernicious system. You can participate well,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on August 28, 2013
That's a huge cop out. I mean by all means cash your paycheck but you're working for a big exploitative business; don't make excuses for yourself. Some day you're going to have to choose between your paycheck and solidarity with someone getting "shafted" by your employer.

Gee, yeah, like when I was on fucking strike with my union a couple of years ago. I have pointed out several times in this thread that I am a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:40 PM on August 28, 2013
To further clarify: I don't think it's some kind of failure of radicalism to say if there's declining resources, the problem of declining resources is not going to be solved by arguing that everyone should get tinier and tinier but equal slices of the pie. Not only does this line of thinking literally not solve the problem of shrinking resources since without external change the budget is only going to keep shrinking, but it isn't an accurate description of how people act in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:16 PM on August 28, 2013
As far as STEM post-docs and grad students being conservative - as I understand it, they were the ones who were strongly against a grad student union here and as a result, two campaigns failed. Now, that's a bigger issue - at least here, they're much better paid than the humanities ones (humanities stipends are pretty much $13,000/year, or they were a couple of years ago the last time I asked someone) while STEM stipends start at $24,000 and go to mid-thirties. So the pressures that drive... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:11 AM on August 29, 2013

New, from the Soylent Corporation...
In Timmi Duchamp's interesting Marq'ssan series*, the proles of the future live on tube food, which is basically this in different flavors with enough vegetables, fruit or cheese mixed in to give it a bit of texture. Honestly, I'd expect to see at least some of the profit on something like this come from prisons, detention centers and maybe even Amazon-style warehouse jobs where it could be spun as a "choice" made by harried and desperate employees.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:05 AM on August 28, 2013

Twerking kills... or does it?
I was once at a labor event back when all this Syria stuff started and a derailing debate broke out about whether US intervention ever does more good than harm. Someone raised their hand and asked us whether our debate would actually make any difference in what would happen in Syria, whether we had any meaningful way to influence US policy on this point. And that pretty much killed that particular debate.

Now, I'm not saying that folks should be... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2013

Except people's at lives are at stake in Syria, and no one dies when Cyrus twerks.


Except that - as far as I can tell - there isn't a fucking thing we can do about Syria. You might as well have an opinion about twerking instead, since that could conceivably affect something in your life. If we did/do have some actual way to influence events, that's more important, of course - but if all that's in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on August 27, 2013
You mean the white minstrelry of Cyrus' act? Yeah, I'm with you.

Yes, exactly - that having an opinion about that is a political thing, and it's not inconsequential, and the idea that it's embarrassing or trivial or boring is just the usual line. ("Goodbye Politics, hello politics!" as Joanna Russ wrote of the feminist movement.)

Note that I am not saying that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:22 AM on August 27, 2013
(And let's not forget that US intervention has been fucked up, destructive and self-interested pretty much always, and that at least since Haiti, it's been conducted under the guise of liberal humanism but that hasn't stopped it being fucked up and destructive. If the choice turns out to be "lots of people die horribly" or "lots of people die horribly, many now and many later, in the service of US foreign policy interests", I'm going with option one. Both... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:28 AM on August 27, 2013
If I recall my eighties and early nineties correctly, Madonna's sex photo book was hugely controversial both amongst feminists and [much more so] in the broader culture. And has everyone forgotten the whole late eighties/nineties culture war thing with the National Endowment for the Arts and the giant moral panic about sexually explicit music ranging from "I Want Your Sex" and its ilk through various rap songs? Good Lord, back in the eighties people couldn't even deal with "She... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 PM on August 27, 2013
What kind of definitive proof is there at all that this isn't a cleverly constructed media persona by someone whose been raised since birth with the toolset to game the system and get lots of media attention? She's literally getting completely top to bottom media and social network coverage to the freaking extent something like the president dying would just for shaking her ass on camera.

That's why I was trying to emphasize the difference between... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:18 PM on August 27, 2013

The Craigslist Killer
The thing about the kid, Brogan, is that he was brought into the crimes by suddenly seeing the older guy shoot the first victim - imagine seeing your father or some other father-equivalent commit some horrible crime right out of the blue in front of you. How would you process that? Particularly if you were young and had a traumatic upbringing. Could you see yourself getting drawn into covering it up?

I also wonder about how this group of people customarily relate to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:21 PM on August 27, 2013

A short but sweet story
(I've had so many, many bikes stolen, ranging from fairly decent to thrift shop. I had a bike that had two flat tires and destroyed wheels and was a really, really cheap bike to begin withstolen off my glassed in front porch. (Admittedly, it wasn't locked because I was going to junk most of it, but the thief had to actually walk up on my porch to see if there was anything worth stealing up there, as it wasn't visible from the sidewalk. We routinely find signs that people have been on our... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on August 26, 2013

The best movie ever made about Facebook
Unless "there's nothing anti-human about technology" was supposed to be just restating the tautology that things made by humans are human things, with all the positives and negatives.

I think the idea here is to respond to, rather than make, a particular argument about technology - that's why he namechecks Donna Harroway. He's not saying "look, it's really profound to observe that technology is made... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2013

Cheating on you, he could live with. Hurting me, he couldn't bear.
Christ, what an asshole.

I mean, seriously, to write (metaphorically) to the wife, "he didn't break up with me because he loves you, he broke up with me because he didn't want to hurt me [so suck it, you deluded b****]". And then, after that, to be all crushed because "he loves us both". I mean, the only possible non-horrible outcome is that the dude loves/loved both of you, because otherwise... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on August 24, 2013
I mean, of course people have affairs, and relationships are troubled and children cause stress, and I imagine that if we all knew the truth we'd realize that there was a lot more cheating going on than we thought. And of course monogamy is difficult and there are alternatives to it, even though they are also a lot of effort (funny how there's just no way to sustain sexual and emotional intimacy alongside raising a family without sometimes making sacrifices and not getting... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2013

You see a lot of people doing whatever they can
(How does one go about choosing their name once they have decided to live as the gender that they identify as? What kind of factors go into a choice like that? I've seen a few different models (the opposite-gendered version of their birth name, the completely new name, and others) and was curious if there were some commonalities or trends, as much as there are commonalties and trends within a very personal choice such as ones name.

I don't know anyone... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:45 AM on August 23, 2013

We're all waiting for the other kids' moms to throw theirs out first
On the other hand, this probably means I can afford to replace all my old Love and Rockets that my parents threw away. (In fairness, this was the result of a miscommunication while I was getting settled into a new place, not malfeasance.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:09 AM on August 23, 2013

"I feel like I'm in a GIF."

So I went to a Taylor Swift concert and was transformed.
So I went to a One Direction concert and was transformed.
So I went to a Phish concert and was transformed.
So I went to an Insane Clown Posse concert and was transformed.
So I went to a thing that isn't for me, or so I thought, and then I learned to stop hating on things that weren't for me and found in the process they could be for me and then I was transformed.
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2013

putting the "dude" in updo

Dudes with longhair? Why? There are plenty of ways to say to the world "I'm a kick ass bro and do not care for your societal conventions" without being uncomfortable the whole time. Holy shit, I cannot think a single way to voluntarily make your life worse/more inconvenient/uncomfortable than the male pony tail. Oh, and we are all kinda laughing at you behind your back. If not actually laughing slightly sniggering.


Indeed we are... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:18 PM on August 21, 2013
Oh my God, the Sass Bun is completely wrong for that one dude's face shape! His updo is stacked right on top of his head, elongating his oval face and drawing attention to his forehead, when he should be emphasizing his beautiful eyes and cheekbones. He'd look so much better with the Junior Prom, which features a flattering side part and much less height. Don't these dudes know anything? Gahhhd.

The "Sass Bun" [grah do not want to type... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:25 PM on August 21, 2013
Seems like the emerging consensus is "Bald men are hot. Young non-bald men with long hair are at least a topic where reasonable people can disagree. Balding men with long hair are pathetic try-hards no matter what they do or how nicely they cut and style it."

Well, I am alone in thinking that some balding dudes with long hair look just fine. It depends a lot on the face shape, extent of baldness and nature of the hair... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2013

I paint my maps with a broad brush.
So it appears that people get most of their information from vague media stereotypes, right? Minnesota is the nicest, our accent is weird and...that's about it, because people have listened to an episode of Lake Wobegon Days and that's all they know about Minnesota (when actually we're kind of mean). Similarly, everyone knows that California girls are hot, New Yorkers are rude, and it's fun to vacation in the mountains. Also, California, New York and Texas have substantial symbolic political... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2013

Dorito Powder
When I worked in China and friends taught me home-style cooking, we'd always use MSG.

I've often wondered why, if MSG is in fact such a dietary trigger, we don't see tons and tons of MSG syndrome in Asia.

I find all this cook tough-talk hilarious - the "and people would eat the shit out of it" quote in particular was spectacularly infelicitous in reference to food. It's as though there's some pressure to prove that cooking is in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:27 AM on August 19, 2013

"I'm done"
There's a huge blowup on twitter again about Hugo, mostly under the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen, complaining about how a lot of the sympathy for Hugo ignores the history of harm he has caused to women of colour (and his students, and other women), and secondarily how "oh, he couldn't help himself, he has [whatever]" stigmatizes people with mental health issues.

For me, I have had some trouble finding the set of interactions with women... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:01 PM on August 12, 2013
Those BFP posts are really very, very damning.

I don't know how I missed all of this, because I know I was reading her blog for a while before 2008 (and I think she's great, and did not know she had a current blog since she had taken a break after her past one and I'm really excited about this) , and I remember how terrible the Amanda Marcotte/Seal Press thing was, but I don't remember the Hugo Schwyzer piece of it. I think I hadn't read him at all then because I think... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2013

Hugo Schwyzer? I think of him like this. Let's say that being a fairly good feminist ally, hoorary, is called "Being At Ten". Let's say that your average straight white dude who has not considered any feminist things at all is "At Zero". Hugo Schwyer, IMO, started out "At Minus Ten", what with the various personal struggles, and has worked pretty hard to get to zero. I think he's sincere. I also think he's pretty fucked up. He shouldn't be any
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:23 AM on August 13, 2013
It just goes to show that I was, frankly, completely fooled. I read the occasional short piece by HS (and I still think that some of them are actually pretty insightful), but it seems pretty clear to me that if I'd been reading him regularly his creepiness would have been much more apparent, and I should have realized right away when this broke that a chorus of "he is creepy, no really, he is creepy" from tons of people could not be dismissed.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:20 AM on August 16, 2013

George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’
I think Orwell gets read too broadly. He was writing in response to specific trends he saw (inaccurately, to my mind - he had a real paranoia about the Rest Of The Left, and really needed to see himself as the only real socialist in Britain) as threatening the post-war social democratic/English-style-socialist project. He was always complaining about how everyone else was a bunch of Stalinists, or pansies, or vegetarians, or how no one had yet pointed out that virtually all feminists are ugly,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:01 PM on August 15, 2013

I think he was justified, for reasons I outlined above. The Soviet bloc didn't just happen because the Russians occupied eastern Europe. Take a look at the history of Hungary after the war, for example, to see how those bastards rolled. Why risk something similar happening in Britain?


Yes, but they were people like Paul Robeson and Charlie Chaplin, who were not threats to Britain. And he kept a little list of people who should be watched... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:33 PM on August 15, 2013
And I add that if you stood in London in 1946 and thought for one minute that the UK was going to go the way of Hungary after the war, then you were fucking delusional. You might as well have said that the US was going to go over to Stalin. Orwell himself wrote in, I think, 1943, that he could already see the old status quo being restablished and the elites returning to power, which at the time he thought was a bad thing.

Even in France, for example,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:40 PM on August 15, 2013
I read most of his Collected Letters about 10 years ago, but I don't think I got to this part of his life. I will have to check them out.

I don't think these are in the collected letters (or at least not the old four volume set, with As I Please and so on). I read them online a few years ago when that Hitchens book came out. It was all pretty short stuff just basically attributing people's dodginess to their race or religion.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:44 PM on August 15, 2013
One of the things that occurs to me: there are things that would strike us today as insanely paternalistic or far-right that even a lot of anti-fascist people in the forties would have been at home with - the arrest of homosexuals, for instance, and all kinds of things about sexual behavior. And an awful lot of people at the time thought that it was just fine for a man to hit his wife (see Orwell's essay on beach postcards for a glancing and uncritical reference to this).... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:09 PM on August 15, 2013

Strangers feeding strangers
I found the “No lazy, crazy or selfish people are allowed,” line pretty hilarious, because the only reason I can think of to give away my leftovers, especially if I'm cooking with fancy expensive ingredients (which seem to be required here) is to give them to a friend who is broke and hungry. And I strongly suspect that my broke, working class, ill and messed up friends - the ones who actually might need a goddamn meal - would read as... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:11 AM on August 14, 2013

Must every kids' movie reinforce the cult of self-esteem?
The article points to some interesting stuff. I think, though, that painting these movies as a response to an entitled generation is pretty silly (and the essay does skew towards blaming a bunch of little kids).

If anything, I notice that as real possibilities for good jobs, financial security and general fulfillment decline, we're getting these movies that assure us that anyone who wants enough can be,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:05 AM on August 13, 2013

"Some things...can only happen once."
Shit, I am a USian and this statement seems ridiculous to me too. Saying that nothing that happened before 1750 "mattered" rules out not only the founding of all the worlds' major religions, but also nearly all the scientific achievement up through the Renaissance, the writing of much of the "Western Canon" of literature...

What it suggests to me is that we are supposed to believe that life was de facto miserable... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:07 AM on August 12, 2013

It's tempting, but there was plenty of misery to go around. Wars in China (Ming, Qing, Taiping rebellion) were brutal, as were the Mongol conquests or the conquest of the Americas. Lack of food and medicine could be disastrous.


Well, yes, of course. The point I wish I'd articulated (but the migraine meds - hooray modern technology! - were making me foggy) was that the ability to live a decent life varies hugely over time and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:11 PM on August 12, 2013

We’re lucky enough to be living in that moment
So they give away a free pair in the developing world for every pair sold? Isn't that just driving what local opticians exist out of business and creating a weird, creepy, foreign-aid dominated model, as Toms is critcized for doing? If they want to help people so much, why not found some eye clinics and train some opticians and create some jobs in poor places, instead of just airlifting in glasses? I mean, why be the Toms of glasses when you could help create the SAWA or Oliberte of glasses?... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:10 AM on August 12, 2013
My last dozen pairs have all cost me less than $30, lenses included. The focus on Warby has also struck me as strange, since it's not the first with the business model and not even close to the cheapest. Just goes to show what a little PR can do for a company.

Your last dozen pairs? I think this points to a big shift in how glasses are perceived. When I was little and my vision changed constantly, I got new glasses once a year, but... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:29 AM on August 12, 2013

This is leaving aside those of us, however, who can't afford to buy a pair for $300 all at once, have no vision plan, and if those break, we can't drive or carry out basic daily functioning. I buy several pairs at once from Zenni and have the peace of mind that I have spares, I have prescription sunglasses (!!!), and being able to have different styles is just bonus.


Yeah, sort of. And yet I feel the rhetoric around "but what about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2013
If I could get pairs at the local shop for less than $600/each lens ($1200 a pair!)

We must have evil mirror universe prescriptions - yours is too expensive to buy local and mine is too weird to buy online. (Although mine run in the ~$500 range, mercifully.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:49 AM on August 12, 2013

Achilles sat on the shore and looked out to the wine-dark sea
This is a great post!

It reminds me of a hilarious misinterpretation that some friends and I made when we were working in Shanghai and none of us had much mandarin. We all arrived via Hongqiao airport, of course, and one of us (armed with a mandarin dictionary, a very dangerous tool in the hands of the novice) looked up "hong" and "qiao" separately, and somehow decided that the name of the airport was "Red [which is correct for this particular... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:11 AM on August 12, 2013

Say, do you have those in a size 7?
See, I have Saphir renovateur. I have renovateur-ed a variety of items. And I still wouldn't buy fifty year old shoes without handling them first, no matter how goodyear welted they were - especially fifty year old shoes that hadn't been worn or cared for in that time. Show me a pair of Peals from 1955 that have been kept up even if they've also been worn, and I'll think about it.

I used to have some vintage women's army shoes -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:18 AM on August 10, 2013

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