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Escalating Tensions in Ferguson, Missouri
Here in Minneapolis, a fleet of 7 enormous black helicopters is buzzing downtown buildings a few hundred feet from the ground from dusk until past midnight. I was directly under one last night, it was terrifying. The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:26 AM on August 19, 2014
I just also fucking wish that all this media coverage with the warzone pictures could somehow be a little more about how people, real people, are actually living in the middle of that. It's not a movie.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:30 AM on August 19, 2014
If you haven't been watching the Twitters - someone whose tumblr I look at (she's a great comics artist and zine writer) linked to this round-upy thing here.

Some of this feels so familiar, because it's just the same stuff they do at hippie protests but accelerated - more tear gas, a lot more; undercovers; and I know a couple of people who have had cops threaten to kill them when they were behaving non-violently and appropriately at protests. Part of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:45 AM on August 19, 2014
That film with the police marching with guns drawn - frankly that scares the hell out of me. I just...that is just so non-standard for police repression in this country in the last twenty years. The rest of it is an intensification of stuff I've seen or friends have seen - I mean, I have seen people throw tear gas canisters back at police, I've seen lines of riot police; I've had friends who've gotten badly hurt by rubber bullets; I've... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:36 AM on August 19, 2014

"See you next year at the halloween parade" - Lou Reed's New York at 25
I still know virtually all the words to virtually all these. This was one of the albums that - and I don't even like it, or Lou Reed except the Velvets, because everyone likes the Velvets - made me who I am today. In my early teens, it made the world seem both knowable and a place where you had to think in political terms. Also, it made the world seem big, which is funny since it's just about New York.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:11 PM on August 18, 2014

occasionally, she wears flannel.
It's funny - I thought this piece was pretty good, and frankly, not to put too fine a point on it, I'm a queer person who came out late and had a lot of problems identifying what I wanted. I could easily see myself having drifted into an engagement.

I'd be interested to have a gender-and-sexuality breakdown of commenters who just hated this piece and thought it reflected poor character, because I suspect that most will be straight and/or dudes. And... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:33 AM on August 18, 2014

"Don’t shoot me"
Dude, it wears me out that people feel they need to defend "black rage". What this country could use a little more of is black rage, if you ask me.

This whole country's motto ought to be "a boot stamping on a human face forever", because that seems to be what everyone does the minute they get a bit of power.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2014
They are. They are building a highly armed force to protect them and giving that force the freedom of action to suppress the poor.

This is really important.

I think it's easy to fall into a sort of Hunger-Games mentality, like "when the revolution happens" it will be really obvious and schematic, and the eeeeevil elites will be cackling away in a very obvious manner.

And I think in the US... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:45 AM on August 13, 2014
(I don't mean that we all need to "fight the class war" and "be colorblind", to clarify...I mean that racism makes people of color, especially black people, the ones who are the most vulnerable to state and corporate violence, and that working class white people are deeply mistaken if we think we can buy our own safety with the lives and security of people of color.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:54 AM on August 13, 2014
The thing that worries me in all this is that it just seems to get worse and worse. Things are really broken right now. You would have thought, for instance, that after Oscar Grant was killed, the fact that there was so much evidence would have forced a serious reevaluation of policing.

I mean, I have been to many protests about police brutality and police shootings, and I've known two people who witnessed fatal... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2014
There won't be any mob justice. The minute that name comes out, they'll cordon off his house, they'll take him and his family right out of there - there's no fucking way that cops won't protect one of there own, no matter if he's a murderer and a racist. The entire might of the goddamn state will protect that guy if he's outed.

For me, Anonymous are Robin Hood and Emma Goldman and Zapata and superheroes all rolled up into one package some days.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:49 PM on August 13, 2014
The thing is, this has to be punished, and pretty severely, because if not - then we know that you can shoot a kid in broad daylight and take over a town like you're an invading army and hold perfectly ordinary people at gunpoint and be only one stupid cop away from a massacre, and there are no consequences. All you have to do is look at how people have been emboldened by Zimmerman getting away with it. The thing is, in the past much of this stuff has been at least partly... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:08 PM on August 13, 2014
The thing is, if people know who the guy is, it's harder for the state to cover up. The point isn't "oh, there should be mob justice", the point is that when the people categorically cannot act, we have no bargaining chip. What it always comes down to is whether the people in power think we can threaten them or not. If we're lucky, they're just afraid of the voting booth. In bad times, and these are bad times, they don't give a shit about the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:21 PM on August 13, 2014
As this all shakes out - the people who are getting arrested now are going to need money for bail and lawyers and maybe medical expenses too (because I've been in plenty of situations where white middle class kids were badly hurt by cops during or after arrest, and if they'll do that to some white kid in a liberal city, they'll for sure do it to people in Ferguson). Possibly a lot of money, possibly a lot of lawyers, depending on what they're charged with. You may think "oh, they'll be... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:33 PM on August 13, 2014
Rubber bullets, per Twitter.

If you've never encountered them - they're not soft, they're hard enough to go into the body.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:53 PM on August 13, 2014
What happens is that they kettle people and then beat them down. I think that's what is happening now, the cops apparently issued a "final warning", which is what they do before they go in - but of course, by that point there's nowhere they'll let you run.

Please please please don't let anyone be killed or crippled.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 PM on August 13, 2014
That live feed - it looks like those kids are all boxed in - there's cops on at least two sides that I can see. And they're all in their summer clothes, too, everything is going to hurt. The cops like to wait until there's just a smallish group remaining and then box those people in and beat and arrest them (If you're ever in a serious protest, try to keep everyone together and then disperse all at once - don't just keep marching with some people trailing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:41 PM on August 13, 2014
The anti-WTO protests and subsequent were also key parts of the militarization of the cops, as was the end of the Cold War - not as much market abroad, time to manufacture products to sell at home.

"Hippie protests" and Ferguson-protests are both part of a....a logic circuit about how to delegitimize protest. "Hippie protests" (majority white, about something relatively abstract) aren't legitimate because we're all spoiled rich kids; it's okay to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:58 AM on August 14, 2014
It is so depressing that probably the biggest reason that Obama can't say too much about Ferguson is that he's black. This is just what I mean about damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't framing on protests. We actually live in a country where we expect the very people whose race subjects them to all kinds of social and literal violence to pretend that no, it's just some kind of abstract problem in civics, like whether we should hand out "I Voted" stickers or not.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2014
Oh, sure, of course Mike Brown was a robbery suspect, and no one said anything about it until the day they identify the cop who shot him. No one happened to mention it even when smearing the kid's name would have been an important part of their media strategy. Yes, I believe that, all right. Especially since the Ferguson PD has displayed so much good judgment and probity, so I know they'd never scramble around to fake something like this.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:50 AM on August 15, 2014
I have had trouble believing cops ever since I was at my first protest-with-arrests and I saw a cop "disappear" someone's ID and then lie and say she hadn't given it to him, as far as I could tell because he was pissed that she was one of the organizers and giving him lip. (Being arrested without ID meant that you'd have a much longer processing time, likely be held overnight.) I was arrested accidentally (I mean, I hadn't planned it and wasn't part of the usual crowd - people were... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:25 AM on August 15, 2014
I think there's a little bit of failure of empathy in second guessing Dorian Johnson. The poor kid just saw his friend get shot to death right in front of him. I was in a weird state for a day after seeing someone I really didn't like that much get dragged into a police station by a couple of cops during a protest (I kept seeing the big steel doors shut) and no one got hurt there - I don't know how I'd be doing if I'd seen a friend killed. If it was me, I'd have access to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:39 AM on August 15, 2014
It was definitely a space where I wanted to be an ally without being an intruder, which is a feeling I have a lot, and one that probably prevents me from being a good/visible ally sometimes. Not sure I have a point to the story. I hope there are more vigils/meetings where I can swell the ranks of the crowd. That does at least feel like helping.

The thing is, when I was at the event, I felt super awkward, and I know for a fact that I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2014
Like, I mean that I don't think it's possible to be a Well-Meaning White Person and not be kind of a millstone sometimes. I think we need to do our best to be the most useful and the least nuisance that is possible. But I also realized that the black activists at this event, well, this isn't their first time at the rodeo - they are perfectly well aware that naive white people are going to be naive white people, and I think as long as I am doing my best to step back/step up as needed, it's okay... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:53 AM on August 15, 2014
I think it is SO SO important to point out that WHITE PEOPLE STEAL AND DO NOT GET SHOT. I know tons and tons of white kids who have stolen stuff, and sometimes they've been a bit stroppy with it. I know people who went through a "I shoplift to stick it to the man" phase and actively stole stuff just to steal stuff. I used to know a guy who broke a Starbucks window in a protest in 1999 - I mean, just stepped right up and broke it in front of God and everyone, on... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:44 AM on August 15, 2014
I was just casting my mind back over some violence that happened here in Minneapolis about ten years ago:

rioters destroyed a TV news car, set trash bins on fire, and there was some liquor store looting. Twenty-one people were prosecuted

Of course, those were college student hockey fans - jocks and frat bros - rioting after a hockey game. Somehow, the police managed to subdue a big crowd of violent drunks who were... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:35 AM on August 15, 2014

Aaaand the winner is...
Those engineers have some placid cats. You wouldn't get very far with those adorable tinfoil headpieces with The Best Cat In The World Or At Least In Frowner's House.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:29 AM on August 15, 2014

Nobody says "Menzoberranzan" like Ice-T
Oh my god, I remember those books. I loved The Crystal Shard when I was, like, eleven or so. Drizzt's life - so tragic! So moving! I think I outgrew them before Drizzt became, apparently, a cottage industry, but how well I remember that first book. The dream of my pre-teen years was to grow up to write for TSR.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:22 AM on August 15, 2014

What Can a White Man Say About a Black Woman’s Hair?
I think the "consider the context" part is especially good. I might even expand it, based on my own interrogation of my compliment-motives, to "would you compliment a white person on their hair in this setting". Like, there are lots of times when I see a fellow white person who is a stranger to me, and I wouldn't compliment their hair no matter how nice it was because the moment is wrong or the mood is wrong. I get the sense that sometimes there are so many motives [for... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on August 14, 2014
What would you do?

I would consider my relationship to the student. Do you feel comfortable talking to her about her appearance? Do you have a structure in place - either formal or informal - to mentor her? Do you regularly mentor her about stuff that's not how she looks, or would this just be dropping in to talk about her hair?

I would consider whether I had a history of talking about appearance with student workers - if... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:12 AM on August 14, 2014

Controlling the genetics of wild populations, a next step in GM research
Actually, there's a couple of paragraphs in that article which suggest that without any mosquitoes there are plants and animals which might be in trouble (pollination issues for the plants) but humans don't eat those plants, so whatevs, basically.

But I assume that eradicating the malaria mosquito isn't the same as eradicating every kind of mosquito, right?

I'm made much less anxious about getting rid of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:40 AM on August 14, 2014
That was an excellent novel, the mosquito people were creepy, gross and tragic, and I resent that comment very much.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:45 AM on August 14, 2014
In the US, we managed our mosquito problems by outright destroying, through drainage efforts, about half of the wetlands in the continental US.

That is an excellent point.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:50 AM on August 14, 2014

Flat and happy
My goodness, some of those Grensons are loud. Admittedly, we're entering a louder/mod-er phase in men's clothes (I thought of this, actually, when considering the 2012 Xmen movie versus the 2014 one - the 2012 one came out at the start of a preppier cardigan-er moment, but the 2014 one clearly presages yet another visit to the seventies) and admittedly, Grenson is definitely the loudest of the large traddy British makers, but even so.

I surmise that people wearing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:08 AM on August 13, 2014
but this trip to the well is all the artsy European crazy-pattern 70s! All the crazy thrift store sport jackets will be fashionable again!

I dunno, I experienced the nineties' long seventies firsthand, and I feel like we've pretty much worked through all of it. This time around there's a touch of nineties-version-of-the-seventies, but the seventies (like the fifties) seems to me the most-mined fashion decade. (Maybe because both were times of rapid... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:29 AM on August 13, 2014
Alden's in-house recrafting service is different from what your usual cobbler will do. Your usual cobbler will replace a layer of the sole by stripping off the worn part and gluing on a new layer of leather or rubber or just gluing on a new layer, depending on the composition of the shoe. This will run you anywhere from $20 - $60, depending on location, cobbler, etc. Soles have layers - there's the part that is actually sewn onto the shoe and then additional parts glued or sewn on to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:08 PM on August 13, 2014
Wolverine 1000 mile boots are made in the US (I believe by Allen Edmonds, actually) and come in women's sizes. Wolverine is doing this very fucking dodgy thing where only some of the 1000-mile boots and shoes are US-made, so unless they specify that the particular model is US-made, it's not. So the boots are, the shoes aren't.

Ped Shoes stocks some wonderful women's shoes from Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal and the US - they're very reliable in terms of shipping and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2014

Tamale Recipes, Sweet and Savory
It's a good thing that I don't have three wishes, because otherwise I'd wish I had some tamales right now and either the goblins would come and take me away or I'd start some horrible monkey's paw cascade of awful, because I really wish I had some tamales right now.

Although maybe the goblins have tamales.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:14 AM on August 12, 2014
Happily, not three blocks from my house are not one, not two but three places where I can procure tamales if I so desire. Perhaps tonight will be tamale night.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:28 PM on August 12, 2014

Like Ouroboros
So okay, I don't Facebook and have never really looked at it - but I always thought that the point of Facebook was to keep up with friends and get invited to things, at least that's the way people explain it to me. But this guy is describing it as...more of a replacement for interacting with the regular internet? So he's just getting, like, a Facebook curated selection of news and commercial content instead of visiting news websites or reading blogs or something? Is that how it works now?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:06 PM on August 11, 2014

Beyond menswear and womenswear
I assume that the actual woman tailor in the doc is interested in making gender-neutral clothes that do fit bodies with large breasts and hips - that's what her quotes sounded like. But it's certainly true that the ideal gender-neutral body is white/thin/young and sort of transgressively sexualized, like, sexy in a "cutting edge" way, not just an ordinary body that is gender neutral.

There already exist many ways to wear... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:38 PM on August 11, 2014
In fact, actually, I think the current media focus on "gender neutral" clothing isn't really about "gender neutral" clothes at all - it's about recuperating non-cis/gender-non-conforming bodies into a fucked up discourse about sexuality and sexual availability. There are lots of ways to be gender non-conforming, but if Chad and Madison don't find you sexy, then you're doing something wrong.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:40 PM on August 11, 2014
I mean, I think there's all kinds of stuff to parse out here:

1. Fad - we're having kind of a nineties moment, and it's the nineties moment of that Calvin Klein gender-neutral perfume and bowl haircuts, plus "androgyny" becomes fashionable every so often, and the fashion system needs novelty. The fashion system always claims that there has been some kind of permanent significant change underpinning whatever is currently fashionable.

2.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:33 PM on August 11, 2014

Fair Feast.
The whole point of the fair is that you go to the fair and do fair things. What, next you're going to complain that the butter sculpture is a waste of time because it's not a Donatello bronze? That you could be doing pilates instead of riding the ferris wheel? That you'd be better off settling down with some Lacan instead of visiting the university extension pavilion to look at the fruit varietals?

One goes to the fair and rides... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 PM on August 10, 2014

duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun...
I am choosing to believe that this is a shark with significant privacy concerns and that this is the shark equivalent of punching someone when they break out google glass.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2014

Catalogs of the Old Republic
I think the BR transition happened in the 1990s, late 1990s maybe... When they realized that people wanted the gap for work.

No, there was BR in more or less its contemporary form in 1992, and it wasn't new then. I remember because I spent part of my Christmas money on a very nice, simple black crepe skirt.

What I've noticed is that BR has become more mid-market in its aesthetics - the stuff I got there (on clearance) when... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on August 8, 2014
On a related note, what I really remember from the early/mid-nineties was all the post-Cold War gear flooding the military surplus and caters-to-college-kids-with-vintage-and-secondhand type stores. Tons and tons of heavy wool coats from Eastern Europe, tons of combat boots, all these military bags. Because I was young and had never even been in a military surplus shop before, I thought that was just the way of the world, and was devastated, some years on, to realize that the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:23 PM on August 8, 2014

"Offender-funded" Justice
This is exactly what you'd expect. Exactly. The minute - the fucking minute - that there's any movement against throwing people in jail, these assholes move right on to "how can we keep making our money". It's like moving a factory the minute there's a union - it's just the powerful using their power to keep on screwing the weak, no matter what the weak do.

And it's obviously pulling more people into... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:02 AM on August 8, 2014
Or like the Detroit Water Project.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:03 AM on August 8, 2014

A Thing That Exists
I think it's worth reading the "Foucault's Freedom" interview. The book discussed therein - Foucault, Politics and Violence - sounds like it would be of interest to many mefites. Also, I find her argument about state violence as governmentality really intriguing. This sounds like a slight oversimplification of her thesis:

Practices of state violence are not just instruments for upholding sovereignty and for enforcing the law. They have increasingly... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:18 AM on August 5, 2014

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