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Watson tv tonight
I also love that we are not pretending that dabbling with drug addiction is fun and that we are acknowledging that recovering from addiction is hard work. I love that Ms. Hudson is trans* and no one gives a fuck. I love that Watson calls Sherlock on his shit, using words like misogyny and privilege on national television (words that I will note are frequently controversial right here on this webpage). I love even more that Sherlock listens to Watson and actually admits when he has... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:07 PM on May 21, 2013

In reality, the headband antenna was a sham
Clear and patient explanations never have any success, because then you're accused of being patronizing and condescending, or you're just ignored by people who think they know better no matter what, or you're dismissed simply due to the fact that you're an advocate of science. How do you react to that, when you can't explain scientific evidence to someone because science is the signal that triggers the mind to close? I think bitterly sneering is a completely understandable reaction when... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:37 AM on May 21, 2013
And I don't like Smart Meters because I think when someone is turning off the electricity in the winter for a family with 3 young children, they should have to do it to the family's face instead of from a cozy office hundreds of miles away.

Now this is interesting. I had not actually been following the Smart Meter thing - is it that it makes it super easy to cut off people's power? I would definitely disapprove of them, actually, since that seems... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:41 AM on May 21, 2013

Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform
I don't have a passport, because I don't have a chunk of money to spend on getting it renewed and it is vanishingly unlikely that I will have enough money to travel outside the US in the next five or ten years, if ever.

This whole "oh, USians are so parochial and never go abroad like the Europeans do" routine - well hell, put me in a social democracy where I live a couple of hours by train from "abroad" and I'll be happy to travel... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:17 PM on May 15, 2013
To return to the passport thing: Australians get a minimum of four weeks of vacation per year, plus public holidays. The last time I had a week off work was 2008. My "vacation"? Well, I am fortunate enough to be allowed to take two days off at a time twice a year, so that I can have two four day weekends during which I can fly to visit my parents, my mother being in poor health and thus no longer, realistically, able to visit me. Fly? Why yes, when I have money to spend on flying,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:31 PM on May 15, 2013
I may be wrong, but I would expect an even more angry response from the average American to the idea "Americans don't get passports because their country is so fucked they can't even afford to leave" than I would for the current "Americans don't get passports because they don't want to leave".

Well, I'm not angry that people make this observation - nor would I expect most mefites to be, since it's so patently,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 AM on May 16, 2013
Do a lot of Australians travel abroad for work? I've met tons and tons of Australians working in Asia, and it seemed like a much more casual thing than it was for me (I too was working in Asia.) Like, on one job, I met a number of Australians who popped over to Shanghai several times a year to give multi-week trainings. In 1996, it was a huge production to come to Shanghai from the US; regular middle class people did not just casually fly over to Shanghai for work.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:45 AM on May 20, 2013

Men will never...clean without being asked “because it sucks"
Women are brought up to clean. Women - and I was brought up as a woman - tend to be taught more about how to clean things, and we see our mothers and grandmothers doing much of the work, being expected to do much of the work, and articulating most of the values around cleaning. Men do not. It's no wonder that many men don't really notice or care about certain kinds of dirt, or know how to clean it effectively if they do see it, or feel intuitively that it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:38 PM on May 16, 2013
It's certainly possible to be a more organized guy or a less organized girl, but if you are traditionally femme (regardless of your gender identity or orientation) then you will find there are more tools out there that seem to empathize with your plight. It's easy to get the mental picture of the guy with the nearly OCD need to sanitize everything, but harder to picture the guy (or less-femme girl) who just routinely washes the dishes after every meal even when alone, say.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:45 PM on May 16, 2013
So here is a thing: I would not be able to afford a cleaner even if I wanted one, but aren't many, many cleaners just undercompensated, socially vulnerable working class women, often women of color and often immigrants? I do know a guy who works as a cleaner, but he does fancy rich-people cleaning with organic products and is hired pretty much exclusively by well-off progressives. If all the mefites who recommend hiring cleaners are in fact pro-actively paying a genuine living wage (one where... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:32 PM on May 16, 2013
While there are problematic aspects to hiring a socially vulnerable working-class woman to clean, if it's any consolation, you're probably participating in worse institutions pretty much any time you buy clothes, electronics, or food, for three.

Yes, but I don't need a cleaner the way I need food or clothes or certain electronics (I can do without lots of electronics but I would not be able to hold down a job or do most basic life... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:15 PM on May 17, 2013

"The Neighbors don’t know they are being photographed"
Dear anyone upset about the idea of being photographed through the window of your home: close your blinds.

Where does this stop, though? Do I need to close my curtains during the day (I don't have blinds per se) because someone with a telephoto lens and the right equipment could photograph me when I'm far from the window? So I need to live without daylight in order not to be photographed inside my home?

Get some kind of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:06 AM on May 17, 2013
And hey, if I have no expectation of privacy in my home, that means that someone with a telephoto lens could lurk around and wait until he spotted me, like, trying on a pair of pants or getting out of the shower or something and publish it, right? My bathroom window is opaque glass, but I occasionally open it a few inches at the bottom - is someone entitled to use a telephoto lens and take pictures of me in the shower?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:09 AM on May 17, 2013
And where does it stop? My bathroom window is on the second floor and out of obvious lines of sight - but what if my neighbor decided to put up a ladder in the middle of his backyard and sit on it with a telephoto lens? Could he then publish the theoretical naked-Frowner pictures because I have no expectation of privacy if someone can put up a ladder, use a weird angle and a fancy lens and see into my shower?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2013
Would we all feel differently if these didn't have the excuse of being "art" and were instead straight up YouTube joke videos being all like "look at the old guy with back fat!!! gross!!!!" or "haha that girl needs to wax more completely"? I mean, why not do that? Get some kind of fancy camera, spy on people until you find someone doing something shameful, get the internet to meme-ify them and then say that they have no expectation of privacy because, well, they... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:30 AM on May 17, 2013
Right, but for some of us, we've had to deal with intrusive and unwanted behavior all our lives, so this isn't really groundbreaking, thought-provoking art so much as it is just another entitled asshole.

This. I am gender non-conforming and have a couple of physical oddities, plus I'm no oil painting anyway. I grew up bullied in some pretty severe ways. I am always hyper-aware of my privacy and who can see me, because I have experienced some really... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2013

Let me ask -- if the context of the photos were that they were taken in the street, rather than through a window, and otherwise they were identical in every single way, including the lack of consent, would they still be problematic? Would they be equally problematic? Why?


This seems to be the wrong question to ask, because the fact that one is vulnerable on the street means that being safe at home is extra important.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:34 PM on May 17, 2013

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20
it's a dangerous world out there, filled with terrorism, outsourcing, unemployment, student debt, and for God's sake don't get sick. It's a winner-take-all game, and dissent will not be tolerated, unless it's in the sandbox of identity politics, so you'd better CUT THAT HAIR, TAKE YOUR MEDS, AND GET WITH THE PROGRAM*.

This, precisely! And if you don't/can't, it is your fault - especially if you were trying to do something else... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:26 AM on May 17, 2013

Enough With The Hipster Stuff, Alright?!?
They try really, really hard not to do anything ironically, they actually fetishise earnestness in a sort of sad, longing-for-innocence kind of way

Note to people younger than about 35: Back in the day - by which I mean my day, the early/mid nineties - all the young punks were horribly earnest. Riot grrrl? Earnest to the max! Grunge was earnest! It wasn't ironic. Kurt Cobain (who my set all despised with sincere fury, but who... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:19 AM on May 13, 2013
A hipster is a single or partnered white person with disposable income who came from a lower middle class or greater familial circumstance, who is not in immediate survival mode and has no belief or fear of ever having to be in survival mode.

I'd love to be someone who had no fear of being in survival mode. That would be fucking awesome.

But again, we're returning to this whole "subcultures have nothing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:56 AM on May 13, 2013
TL;DR: The Hipster is not an identity; it's a problematic value judgment arising from the expectation that intellectual class and race should equate to economic class.

See, this whole thing almost has it - but basically, it seems like you're saying that the problem is that We As A Society need to accept that some people will have shitty jobs and precarious lives, but we also need to accept that this shouldn't be based on race.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:09 AM on May 13, 2013
You know, I had this funny thought.

Okay, I was reading some Samuel Delany short stories from the sixties - "Time Considered As A Helix of Semi-Precious Stones" and "Corona" in particular. I had also been looking at a couple of his pieces of memoir/criticism from The Jewel-Hinged Jaw about his experiences as a young writer/traveler/musician in the sixties. (I'm preparing for a little class/discussion group I'm hoping to lead.)... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:52 AM on May 14, 2013

A life in letters
I know of Bess of Hardwick only from a short story by Susanna Clarke, "Antickes and Frets", in The Ladies of Grace Adieu. So this is really exciting! Thanks for posting it.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2013

Disney Isn't "Brave" Enough To Leave Princess Merida As Is

fwiw, a lot of the princesses have been getting makeovers (this tumblr post I just found has before and after lineups) and updated costumes that are generally not for the better


Is it just my/my computer or did every princess who was not already luminously white get her skin lightened a shade in the makeover? It really looks like that on my screen.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2013

Star Wars Kid breaks 10-year silence
Okay, the key part here is not the initial cruelty, it's the trajectory, the way it always works. What happens? Some kid (some kid I probably would have liked, some kid where as an utterly, literally friendless nerd child I would have climbed mountains and gnawed off a forearm to have one such friend) does something mockable, they get epically mocked to whatever extent technology... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on May 10, 2013

"Let Wisconsin be the test case. Let us lead the way."
It is all about pushing back because of the massive increases in SNAP since 2008

Yep. What they want is a large body of people who are very, very poor - barely able to feed themselves - and they also want these people to have as little access to any form of state benefit as possible. Emotionally, it's because it's fun and reassuring to hate and punish the poor; strategically, it's about producing a beaten-down, disenfranchised lumpenproletariat who... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2013
And they want the poor to be subject to as much social discipline as possible - as many things should be illegal as possible, as this provides a mechanism for interfering with any poor person at any time, plus feeds people into the prisons and gets them kicked off of such benefits as there are. These are people who make the capitalists of the gilded age look like mere amateurs, because they have all the resources of a modern state at their disposal.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:20 PM on May 8, 2013
Honestly, I'm about as liberal as a person can get, but when I see items being purchased like this with funds that are meant to be feeding people who actually need assistance, it boils my blood a little.

As if poor folks - and how many of us will be/have been poor at some point? - should not get to celebrate anything, because god forbid you should live like a normal human being when you're poor. Yes, we should use the figure of the "deserving... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:24 PM on May 8, 2013
Every dollar of SNAP results in $1.70 of economic activity.

I would favorite this a million times if I could.

Of course, "economic activity" and "trickle up" aren't important if your main interest is creating a large reserve labor army of the desperate and immiserated. This obviously isn't the intent of average conservative voters, and probably isn't even the intent of the hicks in the state legislature,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:29 PM on May 8, 2013
I never received government assistance or asked for it.

I want to point out that it would not exactly have been the world's greatest tragedy if you'd gotten some food stamps and bought some groceries here, nor would this have turned you into history's greatest proletarian monster. If you don't want foodstamps, fine, but that doesn't give you a special moral perspective.

If I choose to be cold all night... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on May 8, 2013
I'm a little surprised by the hostility expressed over my opinion.

People are hostile because you sound like a right-wing talking point, and because the monstrous poor person who doesn't use their food stamps right is a propaganda stereotype for the right.

Remember welfare queens? The women who were allegedly popping out babies so they could use their lavish welfare benefits to ride around in cadillacs? It's the same thing -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:47 PM on May 8, 2013
And this is what happens when people make assumptions about other people. I'm about as far from right-wing as you can get. I'm a leftist, gay man in my 40s. I was bringing up a talking point, but something that I witnessed with my own eyes. I didn't manufacture some scenario to prove my righteous indignation, nor do I HAVE righteous indignation about this issue. In my original comment I referenced people that NEED assistance. I don't begrudge anyone the benefit of government assistance.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2013
Alfred Doolittle says that in Pygmalion. Written by George Bernard Shaw, a dedicated socialist. They made a toothless musical version of which you may have heard but the play is really worth reading for the critique of class structure.

I had forgotten that I read that play - and a bunch of other Shaw - when I was in my early teens. I loved that play! (And strangely, it was something we read initially for school in junior high, that was what turned me... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:18 AM on May 9, 2013

On Misogyny in Industrial Music
"Isn't that pretty much what happened to the Seattle grunge scene when Nirvana hit it big in the 1990s as well?"

But it's not just a matter of "and then the jocks showed up en masse" (and it is en masse; everyone from any kind of art scene knows that you always get a few jock-types who are okay and turn up as individuals just like anyone else would in the early days).

It's the fact that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 AM on May 9, 2013

“THERE ARE NO WINDOWS. the room has great lighting. it’s beautiful.”
So these rooms, are they all you get? Like, you literally pay $1200 for one room with no windows? Or is there a lurking kitchen attached?

You may sign me "my entire mortgage is less than that even after the huge jump in property taxes this year".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:54 AM on May 8, 2013

Why I Despise The Great Gatsby
1. I found it fascinating that the book's ubiquity stems - in part - from its distribution to servicemen during WWII. What led to that particular decision, I wonder? Classy enough not to offend, yet debauched enough to interest? Upholding standard American values but still containing sex? Or was it just short and fairly simply written?

2. There are a lot of short, simple-ish books that get given to high school students on the theory that if something is short and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:47 AM on May 7, 2013
There are a lot of short, simple-ish books that get given to high school students on the theory that if something is short and simple-ish, high school students can experience it fully (in class, no less!) and get the best out of it.

By which I was trying to say that plenty of short, simple-seeming books actually require some life and literary experience to read and really get the best out of, and they're not best approached in a high school classroom anyway.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on May 7, 2013
I actually think that this is exactly the reason that the book should be taught to every high schooler.

I don't. I mean, I remember quite clearly being in high school - I was a good kid, tell me to contemplate the futility of ambition and I would go right ahead and do it. I read all the assignments, I wrote papers that I ran by my dad the English PhD, I did my very best to like and understand the stuff we read.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:08 AM on May 7, 2013
Oh yeah, and people automatically assume that I had to read TGG in high school and they'll go off at length on how high schoolers can't appreciate classics. I read TGG because I wanted to, when I was 21.

See, I don't think it is - or at least, that it should be - a question of "high schoolers can't appreciate the classics". It's much more that, on average, certain books speak more strongly to people at certain times or when they've had... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2013

the modern man
In the sense that affluent Americans love pretending to be "hard working joes" I can maybe grant they are classic. But they are also pretentious.

Wait, in what way are regular boring jeans (we're not talking some kind of ringspun selvidge denim here) pretentious? I am pretentious, and until I happened across my recent pair of consciously retro eighties/nineties floral ones, I have not even owned a pair... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:39 PM on May 5, 2013
'Round here, Carhartts are what the smelly kind of slightly older green anarchist is wearing out, since they were trendy up through a few years ago and they never really die - inasumuch as anything is trendy when worn by green anarchists. I mean, they're great pants, but I associate them with maybe the late nineties, early 2000s, wiry-skinny bearded guys who don't bathe and spend a lot of time on their bikes and in the woods, wintery-feeling punk houses where nothing is that clean but they have... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:13 PM on May 5, 2013

Oh, Frowner, I am so not the right person to be wearing these jeans, then.


Well, I mean, anyone can wear them! Although if you grind enough dirt into them and yourself, you could perhaps pass as a green anarchist...Honestly, Carhartts are classic because they are cultural/subcultural in so many ways. Lots of people wear Carhartts to do actual physical work in, for instance.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:38 PM on May 5, 2013
It's the middle class folks that have to care about that sort of thing.

And then everyone comes down on us/them for it - "you're too conformist!" "no, wait, you think you're special, stop wearing that hairstyle, it's pretentious!" "no, actually you are conforming by pretending to be individualistic, stop that too!" Et patati et patata.

As a broad generality, people's clothes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:48 AM on May 6, 2013

Saving the planet, one bag of Doritos at a time.
I don't know. I have some concerns about how this would really play out.

We're a carless household of single/childless people who live near several (admittedly inner city and thus high prices, bad produce) grocery stores, so we wouldn't use a delivery service if one was available anyway. I add that while I could probably do a week of shopping for a family using a bike cart, that would add a level of difficulty even for someone who bikes a lot and lives close to the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:04 AM on May 4, 2013

We will create and destroy ten art movements in ten years
I love all y'all. I do. But can we please stop with the vaguely anti-R&B, anti-hip-hop qualifiers? Because as much as you're saying "I dig this and I wouldn't usually," that kind of statement has a tinge of "this genre is beneath me" to it.

I will say that because I personally grew up in a very white town during the "moral panic" about rap music (anyone even remember that? Mid-nineties?) and thus... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:45 AM on May 3, 2013
She's really good at deflecting the queer question in interviews "I'm not gay, I'm an android."

And that's so exciting! I mean, heck, I would feel very sad if it's really "I can't come out because I will lose audience, family, etc" but at the same time, speaking as someone whose sexuality and gender are both a bit weird and hard to really explain even for a queer person, it's cool to be able to depict non-standard genders and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:49 AM on May 3, 2013
How did I miss the George Clinton post? I totally did not see it!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2013
She is such a good dancer. It's like she's actually floating on, like, 3mm of air above the floor. I mean, everyone in that video is a really good dancer....It's so amazing the way she is doing different but related things with her arms/shoulders and legs/feet.

Also, someone could sell me a hell of expensive pair of those black and white shoes from the video - I would break out the credit card in a red hot minute.

Okay,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:13 PM on May 3, 2013
But inasmuch as it becomes --- "I know you don't enjoy her actual artistic output, but you should, because you'd admire and agree with her avant-garde politics!"

I think that in Janelle Monae's case it's strange to think that you can separate her aesthetic politics from her performance - I mean, you can't take someone who is working constructivism, afrofuturism, mod and about ten zillion different other things and just say "well, I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:27 PM on May 3, 2013
(I pulled a Beyonce! But it was more of a "let's talk about how I used to dismiss Beyonce because I was too ignorant to appreciate what she was doing while assuming that Janelle Monae, by virtue of her particular way of engaging with the avant garde, was all, like "smart"" - honestly, I kind of went on this tumblr-fueled "I Frowner do not value the world of black women musicians who produce dance music enough because I am ignorant" kick a couple of years ago, so I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2013

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