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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

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

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