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Fifty Shades of Orange
So, okay, is anyone else kind of creeped out by RPF? (I mean, creeped out in a different way than so many - including me - are totally creeped out by mpreg.) I recognize that this is a somewhat inconsistent argument but it seems like a story about a totally fictional character, even one played by an actual human actor, is somewhat less, I dunno, pushy and intimate than a story about actual humans who are really alive. It just seems weirdly intrusive to spend a lot of time… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:15 AM on October 10, 2013
RPF feels squicky and creepy, I thought this was just taken as a given.

Okay, maybe I'll rephrase my question in stronger form if that's the case. Or even make it not a question. I think RPF is kind of a bad thing and that people should not write it. I am more than a little squicked by it; I actively think it's a bad thing, even though it's also sort of a decadent-future-culture thing that would fit neatly into a John Brunner novel.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:20 AM on October 10, 2013

In 1492 Christopher Columbus Destroyed Our History
Columbus may have been an awful person (sounds like it), but him being less awful wouldn't have saved 90%+ of the Native Americans, who died of disease.

Well, of course. And if it were merely a series of accidental pandemics like the Black Plague, it would be a huge global tragedy and we would look at it as we do the plague. It would be horrible and sad and we would all mourn how much had been lost of lives and cultures. And it… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2013

Why I Stopped Writing Recommendation Letters for Teach for America
The thing is TFA happened because the teacher-training system isn't very good. I went through it at a fancy private school that boasted about how special and rigorous its program was, and it was one of the worst mistakes of my life*.

The argument always goes "TFA does a bad job and feeds union-busting and privatization" "Well, yeah, regular teacher training programs are full of stupid people and they don't prepare you to teach either,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 AM on October 10, 2013

Elvis Costello and the Roots: 'There's no such thing as too funky'
The River In Reverse is really good. Of course, that's because it's about something other than internal romantic bullshit.

It's funny, Elvis Costello's juvenile vaguely misogynist romantic bullshit is so good - normally I don't bother with that whole ressentiment/rotating-cast-of-girlfriends genre, but I love pretty much every album up through Spike. And then it's all bleah, with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:14 PM on October 9, 2013
And also because of the excellent contributions of Allen Toussaint

Oh, yes, of course - I didn't mean to slight Toussaint at all! He's such a remarkable guy, and I guess really the album is "about" something at least 50% because Toussaint himself has always been about something.

I have to say, Elvis Costello has always been pretty smart about who to collaborate with.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 PM on October 9, 2013

Even a rising tide can't raise a sinking ship...
So, uh, should I be buying a lot of canned food and gallon tanks of water or something? What the hell is your average citizen supposed to do in the event of economic collapse?

I'd expect the problems to be more people-being-broke-and-homeless than Thunderdome - basically, the recession squared. Plan to do whatever you would do if you lost your job and were suddenly utterly broke and so were many of your friends. Would you squat your house until the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:00 PM on October 9, 2013
It's tempting to fear that we really are wading into a Guns of August (perhaps Guns of November) scenario

Honestly, what this reminds me of is France before WWII. If you read Janet Flanner's coverage of the various political and financial crises and scandal (in Paris Was Yesterday, which starts out being all about Josephine Baker and surrealist poets and flowers and ends up being about disaster, corruption and the run-up to war) the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:09 PM on October 9, 2013

Administrators Ate My Tuition

My sense is that a lot of the faculty don't think that most of what I do has a lot of value, mostly because they think that students either should be able to figure things out themselves or don't belong in college. It's not that they want to do it themselves. It's that they want to go back ot the days when students didn't receive a lot of advising and they either sank or swam on their own. And I guess that's kind of a philosophical question.
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on October 8, 2013
Upthread, someone was talking about how an administrator of equipment should be under the "shared authority" of research faculty. I would be interested to know how this could work, since a few scenarios come to mind:

1. The best one, where faculty authority is clearly defined, does not extend to day-to-day decision-making and is renewed via annual meetings (or biannual, whatever). So faculty would have authority to decide about equipment purchases and broad… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on October 9, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Chain Restaurants
Just idly, on the burger front - we had homemade hamburgers probably three times a month when I was growing up because they were pretty cheap and I can't get over this idea that the Frowner family burger is identical to that at McDonald's. They sure don't taste the same - a thicker burger cooked as the eater requested it and a totally different, more robust texture along with a much more individual and deeper sear. Plus regular cheddar - just cheap… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2013
A thing that I wish we could stop having in metafilter threads: the part where people who due to highly unusual circumstances, skills or preferences can do something that is difficult/complex/messy/time-consuming try to convince people not in unusual circumstances that they could do it if only they tried harder, and what is more, they should do it. It is certainly one of the most seductive types of comments to write because writing about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:28 AM on October 7, 2013

The 100 top things you honestly don't need to do before you die
I also feel like the hundreds of hours I spent watching Stargate have been wasted. Someone put it on a list so I can feel justified.

Shows I Have Never Seen But Have Opinions About Anyway Because Of Their Ubiquity In Fandom

Shows For Which I Could Compare "Fanon" and "Canon" At Length Despite Never Having Seen An Episode
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:18 AM on October 7, 2013

I believe that the Mexican drug war is a lie. But that doesn't make it a capitalist adventure. You're conflating capitalism with greed and exploitation, but they're not equivalent. In any case, although VikingSword chose that pullquote to put above the fold, this is probably a derail.

The situation in Mexico is absolutely a capitalist adventure. Why do I say this?

This isn't just about drugs - it's about making money by theft… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 AM on October 7, 2013

The Big Chill
Will this be another thread where we all humble-brag about how we don't really care much for refrigeration and would be happy with a dorm fridge did circumstances permit?

I like having a decent sized refrigerator. I do not like working a long day and stopping at the store every day, or cooking from dried ingredients every time I haven't just been to the store.

MFK Fisher has this absolutely harrowing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:19 PM on October 6, 2013
Perhaps, too, as an anarchist I can say this: capitalism is popular because, in part, it makes life better and easier. It also makes life worse and crueler and in the main I do not care for it, but the anti-technology strain in this kind of article is really irritating - as if it were sheer selfish laziness that prompted people to want to be able to refrigerate food to begin with, and as if there's something morally wrong with wanting a varied diet. What is next? Perhaps the idea that the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:48 PM on October 6, 2013
The American, without really being able to explain it, insisted on an entirely massive double-door thing, and would not allow it to be covered to look like the rest of the kitchen.

I've seen pictures of really nice, fancy kitchens where the fridge is hidden, and it just looks really weird to me. I like wood paneling, I like all that Shaker and Japanese design where Stuff Is Not Out All The Time, but I don't like… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:59 AM on October 7, 2013

Africans in space? Ridiculous!
This book about Afrofuturism in science fiction seems to have just come out.

I really like this essay, Further considerations on Afrofuturism. It has a sort of SF story metaphor as its organizing principle - future archaeologists.

Weirdly, it seems like the term (though not the thing at all) was consolidated by a white writer in this short essay Black To the Future.

A couple other Afrofuturist things I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:52 AM on October 4, 2013
(Or rather, totally pwned and exceeded by symbioid)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:54 AM on October 4, 2013

More wreck than Wrecking Ball?
In a weird way, this makes me think of the lack of care given to young women of color in the music industry whose personae are based on exaggerated sexuality. Miley Cyrus is named in this letter as a vulnerable young woman and this is, I suspect, largely on account of her whiteness. Not because anyone shouldn't be considered and treated with care - it's not that she shouldn't be treated with care because young women of color are not, but that some people… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:13 AM on October 3, 2013

You are what you read
I'd say that the more you talk about what you read, the more likely you are to remember it. Of course, what you "remember" ossifies a bit - you develop "talking points" that detach a little from the experience of the book itself, there's a danger in putting things into precise words.

Now that I know I'll never have an academic career, I've been able to stop caring about mastery of a large body of books. Honestly, what if I read a book and there's… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on October 3, 2013

Don't Be That Dude
(If I may add - I would like it very much if those of us who actually are secretaries were not treated in crappy, sexist ways either. This conversation very often has a strong undercurrent of "it's so sad that women who are smart and accomplished get treated like secretaries, when only secretaries should be treated like stupid fluff-for-brains who made the Wrong Career Choices, because after all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:44 PM on October 1, 2013

The Coming Eucatastrophe
There was that made-for-TV zombie movie a few years ago where the dead all came vote the Republicans out of power. I feel like the movie had European funding.

I think the whole "it's easier to envision the end of the world than the end of capitalism" thing that gets attributed to Zizek originated with Frederic Jameson.

Honestly, I don't find it "utopian" when people are all "zombie-ridden hellscape is the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:01 AM on October 1, 2013
And I should add that the next step knows no party lines, either, which is that the indulgence of the fantasy is (to crib a term from Zizek) always-already part of the system, always-already coopted by the reality from which we wish to escape. Watching a zombie movie is participating in capitalism and arguably even pacifying oneself against one's realities through escapist entertainment. Buying a bunch of mail-order tactical shit in the deluded belief that YOU will be the one who makes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:16 AM on October 1, 2013
Also, I think zombies are popular because they encompass a lot of concerns rather than because there is one primary explanation for their appeal. (Om nom, encompassing!)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2013

For Safer Food, Just Add Viruses
For a bit more on phages, here is Pub Med link to a short history/review of phage therapy. Phages are actually pretty neat (I work with/for someone who works on phages, although I'm a secretary and not a scientist) and my impression is that were they only profitable, they'd be a lot more widely used. They have potential as anti-bacterial treatment in humans, for instance.

When we ship bacteriophages, we have a whole page of "this is just a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:20 AM on October 1, 2013

"I’m not interested in teaching books by women."
That Toast piece is vaguely reminiscent of Donald Barthelme, only a Barthelme story would have had more wolves and been a little less depressing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on September 25, 2013

Baa baa black sheep / have you any wool / yes sir yes sir / kill all men
The thing is, a LOT of humor by an oppressed group about the oppressors is pretty rough-and-tumble. If you're an oppressor-class person who isn't awful, you may well feel bad. I mean, all those "white women are such ugly mayo-faces who think they can dance" humor on tumblr makes me feel bad. It does. It's intended to - that's not its primary intent, but it's not intended to be something that gives me a happy little chortle. It would be pretty bizarre, in fact, if I responded to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:03 PM on September 24, 2013
But why? I mean, I can see how it's fun to make fun of the people who you regard as your oppressors, but it seems like the benefits are low, and the risk of collateral damage is high. And just saying "Close the browser and walk away" seems dangerously close to deciding "Nothing those people say matters."

But you're implying that all messages are intended for all people. Many messages are… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:20 PM on September 24, 2013
That maybe this whole thing isn't as cutesy-harmless as it's being made out to be, because it serves to shame, mock, silence and erase real victims of real problems?

I think there's an assumption in this whole conversation that feeling good and comfortable has a moral value. So if there's humor that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, that's a moral problem; if there's humor that does not tread very softly around painful topics, that's also a moral… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on September 24, 2013

Proud Hipster
I literally remember the ’90s.

Me too, man, me too. Freaky-deaky.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2013

Orange is the New Black is the new Alabama?
In my short time there I was elbow to elbow with women of every age, race and religion. Our differences were myriad, but what we had in common was obvious — prison khakis, steel-toed shoes and an eight-digit inmate registration number. What was universally important to all of us were our lifelines to the outside world — our spouses and partners, our friends and family, and for many women, their children.

The thing that is so weird to me about this is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:27 AM on September 24, 2013

Have you seen the show? This isn't really what it's like at all.

I have, actually - I mean, just a couple of episodes. It's a pretty good show. But it's from a reform angle, and it's intended as an argument for better prisons and a recognition that "prisoners are people too and don't think you're better because you're middle class and white". There's also, IMO, some power/knowledge problems in how this kind of show is situated… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2013

0. Don't have children. Or pets.
(About pegboards: you can make your own with pegboard from the hardware store and some hooks. We have two - one for pots and pans and one for cooking stuff. We found some metal cylinder containers at Ikea that could be attached and keep all our silverware on the pegboard as well. We just used screws to attach two long pieces of wood vertically at the studs then attached the pegboard on top. Honestly, if my room were configured a little differently, I'd make a pegboard for… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on September 24, 2013

You know nothing, Jon Snow
I was actually just in an Apple store since I bought one of those buggy 2013 Macbook Airs. It was a horrible, repulsive, fascist environment, but it wasn't just full of kids and old people - the age mix was really wide.

I found the chipper servility of the staff really unpleasant to experience. And it should embarrass both customer and staffer that anyone should have the job title "genius". (I mean, the whole thing belonged in some kind of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:22 AM on September 23, 2013
I have been fairly satisfied with my "genius experiences," for what it's worth

See, I don't ever want to blame the worker for what is a corporate problem - and, I assume, a social problem as well, since most people really like making staff grovel because, whoa, the customer is about to unchain a few dollars. The other day I saw a guy dump his entire hundred dollars' worth of groceries on the sliding thing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on September 23, 2013

I found it fascist. For these reasons: the shape of the space, the monumental contours of the furniture, the block-y architecture without details reminded me of the kind of architecture held up as ideal by Mussolini - everything is just slightly too big or too thick; the outsized images of products and idealized users were reminiscent of Soviet art and the various places I've been where portraits of the leaders… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on September 23, 2013

We should do lunch. I know this great place with surly waiters.

I know that no one believes this in America, but it is possible for both customer and client to behave with courtesy toward each other - it's possible to be a polite diner and an efficient waiter without the one indulging fantasies of control and entitlement or the other being surly and inefficient. We don't need a society where when you're working you're… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:34 AM on September 23, 2013

Comments made upthread demonstrate the same derisive attitudes that were aimed towards me and my coworkers in the store every day, and calling the store fascist can be construed to mean that its contents and its employees are fascist, too. I take umbrage at the collective assumption that Apple employees are purposefully not being serviceful, and that is what I am responding to.

But hardly anyone has said this! In my own comments, I tried… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2013
(There is a fascist aesthetic - this isn't even controversial. Mussolini and the Italian futurists went to some trouble to detail one and to outline their ideas about modernity, the future and the state (for which one can sub global corporations, IMO). The Italian fascist state was really into working all this shit out. As to whether there is a communist aesthetic - there's certainly a state communist aesthetic. You can see the remains… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2013
As much as I'm enjoying this derail, which is truly hallucinatory in following its chain of free association wherever it may lead — it makes me feel like Metafilter is being free-written by a magical realist this morning — you realize that even your fellow anticapitalists might find this a very weird standard to hold a chain retail store to, right? Like, should we also be writing screeds about how we should reject JC Penney's because their cash registers aren't a potlach? Why does it… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on September 23, 2013
I mean, I can complain about Occupy, if that would help.

Also, this whole business of "lol wut there are no intentional aesthetics in late capitalism especially not the kind where a highly theorized college educated person would draw on the aesthetic resources of the twentieth century, it's all just marketing" line that seems to run through some of the comments....well, I doubt very much that the extremely expensive marketeering at Apple is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:02 PM on September 23, 2013
(Also, people, the Italian state was the paradigm of aetheticized fascism!! The futurists! Marinetti! The Nazis certainly had an aesthetic and an engagement with modernism, but it was Mussolini who sprang to mind while I waited for the Genius with whom I was scheduled. Perhaps "genius" in the Apple Store just means "spirit of place". That would be okay, actually.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:02 PM on September 23, 2013
That said, even if Apple did incorporate specifically Fascist imagery or design elements into their stores, it wouldn't make them Fascist, necessarily, just, as you said, gross.

I think it really depends on what you consider fascism to be. Maybe that's the problem in this conversation.

If folks are reading it and saying "Frowner alleges that because of certain architectural peculiarities, we can tell… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on September 23, 2013

No, this is not an Admiralty Court.
(Hakim Bey is that special kind of "anarchist" who doesn't give a fuck about anything but ensuring that nobody is ever allowed to tell him what to do. Specifically, in Bey's case, he's into "anarchism" because the authorities won't let him molest children.

I did not know this. The linked essay is quite good, it's by the guy who used to publish Guinea Pig Zero a long-running and rather well-known zine by and about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2013

All schoolwork and no play makes Jack more likely to be depressed
To totally skip (momentarily) all the comments that have been written so far: when I read this article, it really illustrated for me that "enclosure" is the best way to understand capitalism.

What happens is that there is a realm uncontrolled by the market. This can be a physical space, such as indigenous land or a relatively unregulated public space in a city. It can be an intellectual space, like a discourse or a field of study where the barriers to entry… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:08 AM on September 20, 2013
And yet there are so many other ways to provide safe spaces for poor kids. But before I want to get into that, I want to say that this is just the same old ass backwards American problem-solving in action:

We don't have a social safety net, so poor folks have to patch together relief via food stamps, disability and getting whatever benefit they can from one-size-fits-all programs, all of which are constantly under right-wing assault. So basically, what we have is a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2013
I spent hours at the library in my youth too, but the librarians weren't babysitting me - I was reading, or looking at library stuff. In general, because we had an adequately staffed and funded library, we had a level of okay behavior. I am not sure that "kids are here" means "adults are babysitting".

And honestly, if the other choice is, as described up thread "give the schools money so they can keep kids in class being restless and miserable… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:19 PM on September 20, 2013

My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me
While I agree with you, it is not the teacher's fault that this family had 16 children.

Leaving aside questions of why people have a certain number of children (sixteen wasn't mentioned, right?) which is a very complex question and IMO more trouble to try to "regulate" than it can possibly be worth....

...those kids didn't choose to be born into a family with many siblings and not… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:14 AM on September 20, 2013

Samuel R. Delany's "The Orchid"
Hey, did you know that I just taught a community ed class about Samuel Delany? I mean, it was sort of a "lab class" for me and I learned a lot about both Delany's work and the best ways to approach it. However!

There's a lot of ways to approach Delany. I don't think I'd start with Dhalgren or Stars unless I already enjoyed experimental writing and had a lot of SF background or just liked jumping into the deep end of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on September 20, 2013

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