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The Thomas Kinkade of high fantasy
I kind of want to reread these now. I loved them when I remember leaving one in my desk over the weekend by mistake, realizing this at Girl Scouts and being absolutely gutted since I'd been looking forward so much to finishing it on the I must have been nine, because I was only in Girl Scouts that one year.

The funny thing is that my dad - who hated those Shannara books, he'd read me… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:12 AM on June 30, 2014

'Fashionable bigotry' creeps into Twin Cities theatre scene
Also, I don't know, yoink -- does the play have a stage full of white people dressed up in cartoonish "Indian" costumes? I don't really see how any description of that could be tone-deaf -- who cares about tone, that shit just isn't okay.

The thing is, I'm sure that the play is intended as a left-leaning satire - that's the only reading that makes sense of the sections I've read. But you can't use other… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on June 28, 2014
I feel like an ass for asking this, but I need some context for this. Is anti-Native bigotry a bigger issue in the Twin Cities than it is elsewhere? Boston has a reputation for being a very liberal city (as does NYC, where the show premiered), but the productions of BBAJ staged here haven't gotten protested.

There's a lot more native people here, right in Minneapolis, than in other cities. We have Little Earth here, mere blocks from my house. AIM… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2014

"Everybody gets it. This is a singular voice."
I am really looking forward to reading this book - about fifty million great new things came out this past year (two new Hal Duncans, Sarah Tolmie's Stone Boatmen, A Stranger In Olondria and on and on) so I haven't had a chance to get it yet. But I'd be totally stoked if it won lots of awards - I love books that do stuff with pronouns. Also, it's exciting to see someone start strong later in life - it's interesting to get a first novel written by someone with life experience, having had kids,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:28 AM on June 28, 2014
The Hal Duncans are a highly-praised book of SF theory/criticism and a book of short stories, Scruffians. I've just blown all my book allowance on used books at the Goodwill, so I don't think I'll be getting either this month, but they're on my long, long list alongside Ancillary Justice. Stranger in Olondria and Stone Boatmen I've read, and both are dazzling and wonderful and assuredly classics.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:07 AM on June 28, 2014

Sometimes We Wobble, Sometimes We're Strong
I had a Shriekback album on cassette, but I don't remember which one. I think it was the one with "My Spine Is the Bassline". I didn't like it at the time, but that doesn't prove much - almost the only survivals from my College Listening Experience are Mekons, the Clash, the Rezillos and Nothing Painted Blue, everything else I actually liked was pretty forgettable and I only liked it because I was a frosty little snob.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:39 AM on June 26, 2014

The animals that attract crowds pay dearly for our affection.
Would any of these justifications be acceptable for keeping humans in zoos? I mean, we've had human zoos, and you could trot out the same rationales - conservation dollars, city dwellers seeing "nature", the thrill experienced by children when they see "real" people of [X group]. Now, I'm not saying that an otter is the same as a person (although I don't want to keep the otters either) but dolphins and elephants and gorillas (and probably parrots and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:29 AM on June 25, 2014
Wow, Frowner, that analogy is so ridiculous that I'm out. Enjoy the discussion everyone.

Well, I'm sorry to hear that.

Just a week or two ago, someone posted that essay about the woman who took part in the dolphin experiment (and I can't seem to find the link), spent all her time with the dolphin, built a really strong bond with it...and the experiment got defunded and then the dolphin got shipped somewhere else and, as far as… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on June 25, 2014
. Captive breeding has saved a not-insignificant number of species from extinction. Given a choice between "zoos" and "vast wildlife sanctuaries where the animals roam free, unmolested by humans" yeah, it's a no-brainer, no matter how much I might like city kids (or even city adults) to get to experience the animals. But that's not the choice; for most of these animals, the choice is literally life in a zoo, or death. That's not so easy. If you posit that an animal… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:31 AM on June 25, 2014

Risky Business
Actually, what I remember of the peak oil conversations I was hearing was basically "really bad things like fracking will become economically reasonable, there will be giant awful pipelines and lots more pollution", not "we will suddenly have no oil". I know there was a sector of the peak oil conversation that was focused on the "we will have no oil and very soon" thing, but there was quite a lot of talk about all the really awful, polluting things that were going… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:33 PM on June 24, 2014

Celery: from silver vases and glass bowls, to tonics, malts and soda
We used to have celery sticks with peanut butter in them, as a snack.

People don't do this any more? It was Most Depressing Snack at our house in the eighties. (Most depressing dessert? Butterscotch brownies.)

Celery is gross because the strings get caught in your teeth. It's good in pot roast when it's cooked soft.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:30 PM on June 24, 2014
BTW, you can peel celery to get rid of the strings.

But then you have to peel the celery. I can't even bring myself to bother peeling carrots, and carrots are good.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2014

everyone was aware of the fact that tuesday was the deadline
Harrowing and extremely brave. I hope I never get Alzheimer's, but if I do, I hope I can go like she did.

A close relative is in the grip of a rare early-onset condition related to Alzheimer's, although not, mercifully, as cruel. My family's health history on that side is extremely weird and there really isn't a good way to tell whether we're looking at a coincidental collection of sporadic illnesses or some kind of underlying issue - so I'm not sure… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:18 AM on June 24, 2014
What I think about is ruining my partner's life by destroying their career (since we couldn't afford full time care so they'd have to quit and try to live on disability and savings, and the condition that my near relative has requires full time care - and it's early-onset, so many of the retirement-age options aren't available) and draining their savings (such as we have) so that I could be supported in a state of increasing confusion, depression and fear. I certainly fear… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:05 AM on June 24, 2014
I wonder if high-achieving people deal with Alzheimer's differently than others? Like if they can't be their usual brilliant selves they don't want to be at all? I have very mixed feelings about assisted suicide.

The issue with dementing illness isn't that you're "not your usual brilliant self" - it's that you're depressed, afraid, confused, sometimes subject to fits of rage, wonder why your [dead for many years] parents aren't coming to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on June 24, 2014
The thing is, my relative has good days, and good hours. She chose to live out this illness, and we were unbelievably fortunate to be able to care for her. But this isn't even one of the really brutal dementias - this is an Alzheimer's-related dementia, molecularly-speaking, which spares a lot more of the memory and personality a lot longer than pretty much any other. But what about the fronto-temoral-lobe… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:56 AM on June 24, 2014

I don’t remember the last time I messaged someone to say that I was thinking about them, or the last time that I received a message of that nature, but I think about people all day. Nice thoughts. From now on, I’ll just Yo them.

I don't even know how

It's okay to think about people without telling them about it. Even nice thoughts.

When they said that generation Z would… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:58 PM on June 23, 2014
And you could just text someone "yo". I believe I have received this very text, and knew it to indicate that, like, my friend had arrived and was waiting for me to unlock the door since our doorbell was broken.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on June 23, 2014

Service with a Swipe
What I wonder about is what happens when the underclass can no longer afford to consume. Right now we're in a sort of sweet spot, where there are still working class jobs that pay enough for people to buy non-essentials, even if they're shitty Target/McDonalds/etc non-essentials, and even if they're pretty limited. But what happens when that stops? The 1% will want more robots than servants, rich people can only consume so much sex work and massage and wages on that stuff will drop anyway,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:34 AM on June 21, 2014
esp. if they're low wage cooks who are basically imperfect food robots rather than actual chefs with cooking skills.

And this is why we will never have nice things - unless you're some kind of google-ista, you're just an imperfect robot and we, the almighty consumers (who are never considered as workers, just in our status as petty tyrants with credit cards) are just waiting for you to be replaced so that we can have an "optimal" experience.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:43 AM on June 21, 2014

Are you a fascist?

For almost every question you can see a mile away what your answers should be to make sure no one thinks you're a fascist, and of course no one wants to be thought a fascist, so I'm sure there's a lot of conscious or subconscious adjustment of answers going on. Yes, it says I'm a liberal airhead, but that's probably to the right of the majority of people taking this test here.

But the thing is, Adorno et al were working on this stuff in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:16 PM on June 20, 2014
In fact, you could have a pretty good time trying to imagine what modern fascist-symp questions would be.

I suspect "marginalized people are all whiners who need to shut up and grow a pair" would be one of them. Things like that.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:24 PM on June 20, 2014

They use social media as a research tool
Yes, I remember when I was the scary/ubermensch-ish generation - described in whatever terms best served capitalism at the moment.

I did have an old-person moment last night when explaining to someone in their early twenties why it had mattered that Chumbawamba was briefly on a major label.

Generation Z, though, is clearly for zombies, right?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:49 AM on June 20, 2014
Mostly, it's not that the future is scary to us; it's that marketeers and various forces of evil benefit when we think that the youth are both better than us and somehow deficient - they all know how to swipe and are ready to marketize themselves at the drop of a hat, but they are also less literate or more selfish or whatever this year's message is...they're alien and they'll… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:56 AM on June 20, 2014

Immigrant invasion!
It must have been like living in a horror movie in the years of first contact. You would go from everything being normal, like it had been for as long as anyone could remember - with historical events and migrations and great leaders or artists and maybe some low-casualty war - and then all of the sudden terrible diseases and everyone dies, and then real war, and people being hunted for the bounty on their scalps, and people starving, and being rounded up… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:48 AM on June 20, 2014
Like when you see the winter count records and there's years where it's just basically "catastrophe, everyone died". It would have been bad enough if it were just plague, but at least that would have been an accident - De Soto and those guys, bad as they were, just didn't know at first.

When I was reading that 1491 Americas Before Columbus book, there was a section about how when De Soto (I think it was De Soto) was exploring, they were traveling along a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 AM on June 20, 2014

I think I heard this on Backstory a few months back -- that when the whites started landing en masse on American soil, they were amazed at the lushness of the land, where edible crops seemed to be everywhere, and the lands teemed with game. They didn't realize that this was not a natural wonderland, but a land that had been transformed into this verdant treasury by tens of thousands of years of native stewardship. It seemed like this just happened naturally because the
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on June 20, 2014
The reason I argue that it's orientalist is that it basically turns them into magic indians, because it uses them to sell this unrealizable ideal of holistic engagement with the ecosystem. It makes them tools, not peoples.

I really didn't get that impression from 1491 - and perhaps I used "orchard" loosely. The impression I took from the book was more "here are these people living in a place and planting things in a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:00 AM on June 20, 2014

How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry
It sounds like at least part of the problem is that it's tremendously difficult to access non-hospice at-home care for elderly or gravely ill but not dying people - the allure of these for-profit hospices must be in part that they claim to be able to offer this. I mean, it's not just that they are lying, it's that their lies are plausible because there is a real, unmet need. No one would put their frail parent in hospice care on a "maybe sorta kinda qualifies"… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on June 20, 2014

It's last call to do your shopping at the last mall

Forget shopping malls, think bigger. Except for high end stores, retail is dead. First Barnes & Noble will shutter, then the jewelry stores, then the electronics stores, then the rest. All that will be left will be restaurants, groceries (temporarily hi peapod!), and clothing stores. A good refund system and consistent sizing standards will eventually kill off the clothing stores, too. Good riddance. Let's level them all, tear up the roads that feed them, and put in
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:16 PM on June 19, 2014
Listen, there's going to need to be a massive realignment of our country's tax and governance structures regardless. Advancing technology coupled with laissez-faire capitalism is going to be a bad ride for almost everyone but the 1%. Between better robotics and expert systems, many many people's jobs are just going to get obsolete. The death of retail is just a symptom of the deeper underlying cause.

I've been hearing this same line of reasoning about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:28 PM on June 19, 2014

No one who ever died of anything lived to tell what it was like (with a few debatable exceptions). That doesn't mean it's either wrong, cruel or illegitimate to hold opinions about which of the many possible deaths we may face we would prefer and which we might choose to avoid if at all possible. People should talk far more often and more openly about end-of-life choices than they do and those choices can only be informed by the opinions of the living.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on June 18, 2014
How can one offer opinions about which is better without offering opinions about which is worse? How can one make informed decisi ons about, say, whether or not one should opt for heroic measures in an end-of-life scenario unless you listen to opinions about whether dying at home surrounded by loved ones is "better" or "worse" than dying in a hospital bed drugged out of your mind and hooked up to a bunch of machines?

Precisely… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on June 18, 2014

Its prison, dude. There’s nothing to cheer about.
(Just on the reductio "if you don't like that OitNB is about prison, that must mean that you don't want there to be art about bad things ever": To me, the tricky bit is that prison isn't just a bad thing like a typhoon (or an alien invasion, etc); it's totally human-created, violent, unjust and destructive, and it's only gotten more so since the eighties. What's more, with any work of art there's all kinds of questions about viewpoint and audience - who makes the show, who makes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on June 18, 2014

Have you watched this show yet at all since you were hilariously misinformed about it in the first season's thread?

I was driven to watch it from very shame, actually, although I only got midway through season one. I'm just not into it, but mostly I've been kind of creeped out by a lot of comments from white progressives on tumblr about it.

The intellectually honest thing for me to do would probably be to watch… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:52 PM on June 18, 2014

The Great Old Ones, Petrarch and Diderot
This is great, thanks for posting - it matches up nicely with that comics post from yesterday.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:21 AM on June 18, 2014

About That Hate Crime I Committed at University of Chicago
Following this harassment of being singled out in the crowd and hurled slurs at, Cox took over. She told my sibling that she “[felt] sexuality is a lot deeper than gender because you can’t tell a person’s sexuality from just looking at them.” (These quotation marks do not symbolise an exact quote from Cox, but a quote from my sibling, paraphrasing what it had been told in the crowd that Thursday.) My sibling told me on the phone that it tried to explain to Cox you cannot tell someone’s… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:52 PM on June 16, 2014
In the cases of Dan Savage and RuPaul, I see a combined five or six decades of improving our lot being thrown entirely out of the window. That merits some questioning and soul-searching.

But the thing is, folks are not writing a biography of Dan Savage, we're responding to a specific and rather unpleasant recent incident. If we were writing a serious biography, I don't see how we couldn't grapple with the question of who has… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:23 PM on June 17, 2014

“I played with them, I fought with them, I shared their locker rooms”
There's a reason that DeLillo hasn't put this book back into print, and that's because, honestly, it's embarrassing & misogynist. It's hard to get around that.

I remember seeing a copy of this kicking around and it did have that gross, post-sexual-revolution funny-funny misogynist tone...hard to describe, but certainly puts one right off. This whole business of "I am going to write a woman character who is really, really sexual and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:18 PM on June 17, 2014

On quitting superhero comics
And an utterly unremarkable one at that.

Well, it's obviously a big deal to his particular community, and presumably his reasons stand out to those people - just like quitting being an election judge, or buying white flour, or leaving the IWW.

Actually, I wish he'd explained why he gave up superhero comics. Clearly, this is obvious to people who follow him or are a part of a particular aesthetic community - I could write a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:07 AM on June 17, 2014
That American Captain that narain references upthread, that is so great, or at least, like, the first five or six of them are. It also looks (and kind of feels) like old Doonesbury crossed with old Peanuts. I have only the most nebulous idea who any of these people are (I mean, I know who Captain America is generally, and I read a satirical Iron Man fanfic once) so I am also enjoying guessing the backstory.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2014

The Skunk - A Riot Control Hover-Drone

This seems fake or just some silly prototype without real-world application. Shooting paintballs (or other compressed air projectiles) at rioters from a drone is idiotic and couldn't reasonably be expected to disperse a crowd of enraged miners. Also, umbrellas. Whatever kind of pepper spray it can do can already be done much easier by a person launching a canister. Maybe this thing makes sense as "eyes in the sky" but I'll believe the crowd-dispersing capability
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:45 AM on June 16, 2014
(No government can survive pyrrhic victories like that. Ultimately, no government rules without consent. Even the North Korean government depends on the effectiveness of its mass brainwashing. Similarly, there's a reason why the Chinese government brought troops in from the far side of the country for the Tienanmen Massacre; there comes a tipping point in peaceful mass protests where the soldiers turn their tanks around, and the Chinese democracy protests had passed the point where… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:41 PM on June 16, 2014

Give it 30 years and the overstuffed chair becomes hip and high brow...
I've seen this chart before - I believe it's from a book called The Tastemakers and it was in the context of trying to figure out how "taste" itself came to be a big deal in US culture and how this intersected with class. It's not a radical book, but it's a bit more sophisticated and interesting than the mere republication of the chart makes it out to be. Sadly, my vintage copy totally fell apart a couple of years ago, so I don't have it to hand.

I think… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:02 AM on June 14, 2014
(To wit, saying "highbrow people tend to like these things and claim that's Natural and Right" is a way of taking apart the notion that "what's actually highbrow is not giving a damn what other people think because you know you're better than they are, possibly because of something your ancestors did. Actually caring about charts like this is about the least highbrow thing you can do" is actually how people think. Everyone's all about the cultural capital - gaining,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:06 AM on June 14, 2014
And to triple post: you wipe the salad bowl (which is a hard wood like olive) completely after eating the salad. If you're just using vinegar and oil, it doesn't seem to go rancid, or at least ours did not. If you start adding dairy to the salad dressing, then you have more of a problem. I was shocked - shocked! - to meet people who washed their wooden salad bowls. (Which then absorb soap and get all raggedy!) I now make my salad in a glass bowl. My parents switched to using a little bit… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:09 AM on June 14, 2014
The thing about the unwashed salad bowl - you're using a vinegar and oil dressing, and vinegar kills bacteria. You're also using (if you're doing the "classy" salad as described in the high brow section) only vegetables, salt, pepper and dressing - you're not covering it with cheese or Green Goddess or whatever. (Remember, too, that bottled and extremely rich salad dressings were not common until at least the eighties, by which point although my family was still using the wooden salad… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 PM on June 14, 2014
What? Bottled/pourable salad dressings (as opposed to things like Miracle Whip, which used to be explicitly labeled as a salad dressing) are solidly mid-century middlebrow. By the '80s they'd been around long enough for some previously-common flavors, like Kraft Casino, to have fallen out of fashion.

They sure weren't where I was growing up. They may have been available, but they weren't an everyday thing by any means.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:58 PM on June 14, 2014

It was great to have the energy ... without actually having to be punk.
I had not one but two Close Lobsters cassettes around 1989, both bought at a mall record store in the midwestern US - I think that contra the article, quite a few of those bands had some success.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:47 PM on June 14, 2014

I am the eye in the sky, looking at you, I can read your mind
I mean seriously, people, this stuff is getting more and more powerful and pervasive. Each change is relatively small - just a faster, more precise way to access what was previously sorta-kinda accessible with effort - but there are a lot of them. Right now, Google is just a creepy corporation with too much power and no morals, but what I find myself wondering is if, in ten or fifteen years, it won't be easier for them just to bring government in-house, as it were, by… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2014

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