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The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals By Adolph Reed Jr.
If this thread gets distracted into a general conversation about whether or not Communism failed - i.e. the same conversation that conservatives and idiots always attempt to start every time someone discusses improving progressive organisation - then it will be a great shame.

I was just thinking that this is one of the big reasons that the left gets messed up - we actually think it's worth our time to respond to red-baiting from the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on February 26, 2014

"the tide-turner, the shiny hinge"
I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, but there's nothing in them that, to my eye, suggests that Rowling had the kind of meticulous, detailed world-building in mind when she wrote them that many of the books' fans want to speculate about. That is, I just can't see the books as fruitful for this kind of analysis and argument (which, of course, is no reason that others shouldn't engage in it and enjoy it--I'm not kvetching about people doing this, just remarking on my own sense of their being… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:21 AM on February 24, 2014
general cruelty and all-around inefficient weirdness that Hogwarts has

It's not just cruelty and inefficient weirdness, it's the way those are normalized. Like, if you read Orwell's essay on his private school experience, "Such, Such Were the Joys", or Connolly's "Enemies of Promise" or really any of the loads and loads of horrible-school-experience essays similar to them (or if you read Young… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:03 AM on February 24, 2014
Complaining that it's a poorly designed game when that's pretty much explicitly what she was setting out to do seems weird to me, as I don't see what making Quidditch a well-designed game would add to the experience of the books.

Maybe a problem with Quidditch is that its nonsense nature doesn't really suit the rest of the books? I can imagine a book where there's a ludicrous and incoherent game as a key piece, either because the author wants the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:34 AM on February 25, 2014

Nobody needs to see "Interiors" anyway....
Okay, I am very excited about this list, because it appears to be a list of Movies Where Frowner Would Like Every Single One Of Them (except the Woody Allen, of course). I am simultaneously ignorant and picky about film (I know, what an attractive combination) and all the movies on the list that I've actually seen are ones I like a lot (the Fassbinder, the Varda and Car Wash, pretty much). And these are also the kinds of movies my friends will like, I think,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:13 AM on February 22, 2014

Wall Street Debutants' Big Party
Other spoiler: it's just like Doonesbury cartoons from, like, the seventies. As nice as it is to have my prejudices gratified (that, at the highest level, capitalism - meaning actual capitalists, a small group of actually-existing people - organizes itself openly around racism, misogyny and homophobia), it's still somehow depressing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:25 AM on February 18, 2014

No triggers afaik
What exactly are you advocating? Instead of printing this report, should the Nobel Women’s Initiative have compelled Sudanese rape victims to do a speaking tour in which they repeatedly recount the horrors they've gone through?

I bet there are Sudanese women activists or village elders or educated expatriates or local women who have worked with NGOs who could talk about the situation from their perspective. In almost any community that isn't just… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:13 PM on February 17, 2014
(I just want to say that, like, I have met people from Sudan. This idea that "we can't actually import women from a crisis area who are themselves in crisis and therefore it's okay to have no Sudanese people here speaking about this issue" is kind of silly. People get around. There are diasporas. There are people who have lived in a crisis area who do not live there now; there are people who lived in an area which was formerly in crisis and is not in crisis now.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 AM on February 18, 2014

"Looks like we're... looks like we're shy one horse."
Oh my god yes, this is a massive, massive classic. Worth seeing on the big screen if you ever get the chance, absolutely.

It's such a weird movie, and it has this bizarre optimism about frontiers - consider the ending sequence. I think part of that is because the movie is basically about the aftermath of Italian fascism as much as it is about the US West, and the "frontier" at the end is really a temporal frontier, a political frontier where popular… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2014

You believe that true love is a zero-sum game traded in sex.

Up to that point in the article, I just thought it sounded, for my mostly-introverted self, exhausting. And really the province of the young, all those parties and late night shows and seeing in the dawn together. Not that this couldn't be part of life at any point, but it's hard to manage with the ordinary responsibilities of adulthood.

That's the thing - nominally I have a non-monogamous relationship but in reality I have an "oh god… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:39 PM on February 15, 2014
Frowner, I think you and I define poly differently. I have been in many poly relationships where I was only involved with one other person (who happened to see others as well).

We may move in different kinds of social circles or just experience social dynamics differently - but what I notice is that there's a huge difference between "I am seeing Lila who is also seeing Joe, but I would find it easy to date other people if I wanted" and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:27 PM on February 15, 2014

The final frontier of intimacy
I cannot even imagine. My precious and well-selected volumes - my first edition of Always Coming Home, my priceless sixties radical publications, my fascinating collection of minor feminist novels of the eighties - commingling with someone else's foolish, crass and middlebrow book collection? I do not think so. And it would break up all my beautiful shelving arrangements - how all the Freud is banished to a bottom shelf in the corner and how… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2014
Sort of on topic: have you ever noticed that if you lend a woman a book, she'll eventually bring it back, but guys never do? Seriously, not one guy that I've ever known that I lent a book to ever gave it back. One class act said he'd bring it next week and then disappeared, never to be seen again. Some of them have been all, "Oh, I already gave it to someone else." What, you don't ask first?

Perhaps this is a sign of my own gender… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:48 PM on February 12, 2014

An Idea Whose Time Has Come, Or Gone
But then of course there's the whole contemporary trope - which we might call the "transgressive bourgeois" - of someone who Has Their Own Taste, and is too Bold! and Individual! to like what the "tastemakers" approve of. I notice that there's a whole slew of things that it's transgressive-bourgeois-fashionable to like - schlocky cinema (different varieties come into and out of fashion), certain types of softcore porn (again, what is fashionable varies every few years),… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2014

Helping you beat Since 2012
Of course, it would be a bidding site. Not enough to be a place where broke and displaced academics sell their work, it has to be a place where broke and displaced academics strive to undercut each other so they can sell their work for the lowest possible price.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 AM on February 10, 2014

Building a Foundational Library for the Long Now
I don't think I would include so much science fiction or honestly, even any fiction. I suppose there are arguments which could make me change my mind, but cannot think of one. Its an interesting question.

I absolutely adore science fiction and I don't think I'd include any either, except such as fell under the "fiction we want to save because it's fiction" category. Science fiction isn't an instruction manual, and when people treat it that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:48 AM on February 7, 2014

A rare liberal acknowledgement of the failure of liberal race policies.
Still reading the FA but my first thought on reading the first paragraph was "so they hired a white dude to write a series on integration for Black History Month?". Maybe they could do something really radical like ask a black writer to weigh in.

A white guy who doesn't know any black people, too! I mean, of all the white people to pick.

A white guy who also has not read any James Baldwin and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2014
The other thing that occurs to me on reflection is that this piece is written as if "the left" (or "liberals") were exclusively white people - as if there are no black voters or activists. It's really written with a tone of "politics is something done by white people, either in the interests of black people or against their interests". I don't mean "oh there are black people in the voting process so whatever happens is okay", just that this article does… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:48 PM on February 6, 2014

If you’re a gay man, pose outdoors
Of course, if you use all the right buzzwords, then you actually end up having to date, like, a surfing investment banker who cares deeply about his/her abs and who, apparently, uses the word "mating" in his or her profile.

It's funny how much more depressing humanity is when contemplated in the aggregate than in the form of "people around me I might personally actually date".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:40 PM on February 6, 2014

Discursive use of time, ambivalence, banality, and wonder.
This is just one of those things where okay, yes, I get that art should push boundaries, I think that probably everyone could adjust to it if they saw it day after day, I can see that it does interrogate some stuff about bodies we consider desirable/worthy-of-display rather than gross/creepy....but it's still totally a christ-what-an-asshole situation. Something does not need to be Absolutely Wrong According To Feminism to just be kind of jerky, tone-deaf… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:22 AM on February 6, 2014
Also this kind of sorta-squick realistic/parody art bugs me because I think there's this assumption that everyone everywhere always needs to be made uncomfortable in public spaces. That's one reason I'm not into this kind of exhibit - it assumes that the artist is up there as a finger-shaking teacher reminding us not to get too comfortable and always, always to be interrogating our notions of embodiment and desirability. And it's like look, I am seldom… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on February 6, 2014
It's not even so much that "oooh, everyone will be triggered every time they walk by the statue". It's that when you place a statue in a public space, you're making a choice of that particular statue instead of others. You're saying "out of all the statues that we could place here to [create some kind of experience amongst staff, students and visitors] the best possible choice is a hyperrealistic sculpture of a white dude in his underwear.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:34 AM on February 6, 2014
If it was the female version in underwear wouldn't we just be doing a riff on objectification?

Perhaps. As far as I know, though, there isn't some kind of forced choice where "sculpture of a white person in underwear, choose male or female version or lose all your funding" is on the table. One could have no statue at all! One could have a totally different statue!

There's a long list of sculptures… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:39 AM on February 6, 2014
But seriously, this whole idea that "we" all need to be shaken out of "our" bourgeois state of ignorance and comfort really irritates me.

Who has said this?

The whole discourse of "art should [generically] 'push boundaries'" is about assuming that all "our" boundaries are bad and need to be pushed - that, in fact, not wanting to see semi-naked-white-dude art every day… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:20 AM on February 6, 2014

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!
Oh neat. I just love Robert Graves's The Long Week-End, which is also popular/oddball history of the interwar years.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on February 5, 2014
And I mean, this looks great also, not unlike the Graves book.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on February 5, 2014

Oddly enough Dhalgren wasn't mentioned.
Dawn, by Octavia Butler. It's very zeitgeisty with radicals right now, and I've lost count of how many people who, upon hearing that I read (and do a little teaching about) SF have told me "Oh, I don't really read science fiction....but I love Octavia Butler".

Also, Marge Piercy's novel Woman On The Edge of Time and Nalo Hopkinson's novel Brown Girl In The Ring.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:03 PM on January 30, 2014
But that's across the board. Science fiction is massively popular in certain areas, like video games. And most all the highest-grossing film franchises are science fictional in some way, if not outright science fiction, so it's not like people are unfamiliar with the concept. But what is it about the current state of science fiction that seems to repel so many people and why shouldn't they flee?

Wait, what? Science fiction is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:23 PM on January 30, 2014

Frowner: I think it's telling that you mention a bunch of 60s, 70s and early 80s authors. The truth was that late 80s to the early-mid 00s were a pretty bleak time for SF. Writing in the style of the 70s just felt dated, and earlier tropes just felt silly. Cyberpunk got dated really fast, etc. And yes, I do agree that we are in SF renaissance, and it's telling to see how the themes have changed since the last time SF was so interesting.
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:01 AM on January 31, 2014
I add that no one needs to like science fiction. Science fiction is a genre that does some things really well and does other things not so much poorly as not-that-often. Like, when I want to read a really dense novel with complex prose, deep characterization and a lot of subtext about class and sexuality plus a lot of baroque descriptions of small physical stuff, I'm far more likely to read Henry James than a science fiction writer. On the other hand, for structural… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:17 PM on January 31, 2014
Oh, I think Margaret Atwood's science fiction is quite good. It's just not super embedded in the rest of the genre and not very concerned with the rest of the genre. In that sense, when she says she "isn't writing science fiction", she's quite right. I doubt she's read very much SF, her work really isn't in dialogue with other's only "science fiction" because it's fiction-with-science-in, or… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on February 5, 2014
Is it that the dystopias are relatively easier to create, since so much of the world will look similar to what we've got around us now? Or is the dystopia more a method of ironic distance than a subgenre, really, a method adopted by multiple genres?

Again, I think this has to do with what genre is. Genre is social. Science fiction is dialogic, which Atwood's SFnal novels are not; it is didactic, which they are. It is about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2014
What I'm trying to say is that Ringworld (which I don't even like!) hangs together because it's written in a specific SF register. Saying that we need a "high culture" version of Ringworld is like saying we need a chibi style manga version of an Eli Weisel novel, or Infinite Jest rewritten as a Western - it treats a novel as a thing where form and content are totally separable and have no effect on each other.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:10 PM on February 5, 2014

Too poor for pop culture
One of my dreams in life is to have enough time to spend in an area like this to "get in" with everyone, photograph them all, make a book and use the proceeds to help them. But I'm quiet and white and not very social, so all I'd wind up with are my cameras and gear stolen. Sigha.

It is a really difficult lesson to learn, but this isn't the best kind of help to provide. (I've done my time in the trenches of radical media, so I have… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on February 5, 2014
(I also want to point out that divined by radio grew up in an actual inner city situation and has some advice that is more concrete than mine...I was kind of writing my comment as a "from one white, introverted feeling-haver to another", but that shouldn't trump actual advice from someone from the actual situation in question, because that would mean that I would be "speaking for" someone about not "speaking for" people and we'd all collapse in a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:53 AM on February 5, 2014

Arrange to introduce a great fire
It does not seem, in general, as if the editors spend very much time paying attention to cultural production by women - you have only to look at their other lists. If you are a Very Famous woman in your field (Virginia Woolf, Ursula Le Guin) you may get a look in. And there's one less-famous woman on each list, it looks like, but that's about it. (Seriously, I love some Pat Cadigan, but if she's on a list that includes neither James Tiptree nor Joanna Russ nor Octavia Butler, that's a pretty… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:57 AM on January 30, 2014
+1 on the "there should be more women" tip

I would have more patience with the absence of women on the painting list if the position of women on the writers' lists weren't so foolish-looking. At my count, for instance, 78 of the best novels are by men - just for starters. But most of the women are toward the end of the list. And the composition of the list suggests to me that the editors have pretty much focused on… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2014
(And to continue - in general, the SF novels by women that they choose are focused on men. Frankenstein, The Dispossessed, Swordspoint - all novels by women where the most important characters are men and the focus is kept off anything definitely feminine (consider poor old Takver in The Dispossessed). I don't think this is coincidence.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on January 30, 2014
Yet if you talk about science fiction, about the best or most important, this needs to be in there, as that's the first novel that actually is science fiction, the start of it all. To include Frankenstein is a justifiable choice.

The question of the origins of science fiction - well, there's a lot more to it than "it was Frankenstein. Was it Frankenstein? Is "this is the first SF novel" a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:16 PM on January 30, 2014

How good is your English vocabulary, really?
I know 91% of words and was not fooled by any of the fake words. I am telling myself that I am still pretty good since the ones I missed were all science words and we all know that science doesn't count.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:24 PM on January 29, 2014

For 1% of us, apparently cake IS better than sex
I'm really open about sex, and really think that it is performative, and that anything between consenting adult goes, and it's a spectrum, and all good and all of that--but it takes so much work to present a pro pleasure, fairly free sexuality

See, my experience is quite the opposite - a tremendous pressure to present a generic "pro-pleasure" "free" sexuality. I find that absolutely exhausting and depressing and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:38 PM on January 27, 2014
To add - I could say about myself "clearly I am broken, I should undertake years of therapy so that I can learn to enjoy this thing that everyone says I should enjoy, and in exactly the way that they say I should enjoy it" or I could say "hey, I am a grown-ass adult, my life has shaped me this way, I'm not unhappy, I get to avoid something I find stressful and blah* and save on therapy bills!"

*Reiterating that I am not asexual,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:51 PM on January 27, 2014
But, how is asexuality socially constructed, and what if this social construction is born out of trauma, i mean this is the case for all kinds of sex, but there has been a long tradition, of for example how instutional homophobia shapes queer sex, or how rape affects women's responses to desire...i am not sure it is fair just to plop down asexuality and say, here is a thing that exists now, without seriously working out how much of the negation comes from trauma? Or has this work been… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:03 AM on January 28, 2014
I also think that maybe fetishes and BDSM/etc sexual practices might be a good model for understanding asexuality - most people don't seem to have trouble with the idea that sexual fetishes (or identities such as submissiveness) are both highly cultural and real. No one is asserting that cultures where people don't wear shoes are repressing people with shoe fetishes, or that people who write anime porn existed (but repressed!) in 1500. More seriously, people generally seem… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:09 AM on January 28, 2014
David totally has visible chemistry with this one girl but again won't go there, he won't commit to exploring something deeper (she ends up realizing he can't give her what she needs and leaves the group).

You might want to interrogate what you mean by "visible chemistry". I have "visible chemistry" with several friends whose sexual orientation does not at all match mine, but anyone would think we were flirting like crazy. I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:14 PM on January 28, 2014
St. Peepsburg - who I'm sure is a perfectly lovely person! - is saying that because she feels that someone's motives for calling themselves asexual are mixed, this calls their asexuality into question. That line of reasoning only makes sense if there's "sexuality", which is authentic and uncomplicated (ie, you never have mixed reasons for calling yourself sexual or for sleeping with someone) and this contrasts with "asexuality", where mixed motives or… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:34 PM on January 28, 2014
It has just occurred to me that asexuality is very much a product of modernity - you don't need to say that you are asexual unless
1. there's a very strong norm that everyone (married or not, seeking to have sex or not, religious or not, old or young, etc) is expected to have some form of sexual life;

2. everyone is expected to talk openly about their sexuality and sex lives - it's no longer private and there's something suspect about not wanting to talk… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2014

Please. These aren't our real enemies.
What I always think is that I would hate to be in this guy's position, because I think you'd have to be a really tough person with your head screwed on right in order to reject (or quickly redirect) the praise, money and awards you were getting. That's one reason I'm a little bit tired of internet shitstorms about celebrities - if you're famous, you're living in a really different world from the rest of us, people are far more anxious to use you and pacify you than they are the rest of us, you… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:45 AM on January 28, 2014

"Age is a weapon society uses against women."
There's a line in a Margery Allingham novel about a woman who is doing very nicely in her forties, thank you: "She never had the looks to lose, and so she never lost them".

Honestly, once I got over wishing I was good-looking purely because I hate losing at things, it's been win-win all the way. It really does seem different for girls like Molly Crabapple - for every romantic or social opportunity she's had, she's also had to negotiate a world of bullshit… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on January 27, 2014
"I cannot even picture 99% of the men I know saying something like the quoted text, either."

At the same time, a lot of guys will say stuff when they know they can get away with it, or to impress other men - and you'd never know it if they don't think they can get away with it in front of you.

That is another thing for me - because I just don't get sexually harassed (it happened very very… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on January 27, 2014

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