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Bush-era wimp heroes
Wait, we liked 'Garden State' in 2004?

I enjoy this kind of article, so thanks for posting - I'm just amused by how contemporary history figures the "we" of only a few years ago.

(Just like this month's New Inquiry is horribly, horribly focuses for reasons that escape me on Lana del Rey and how she's like all deep and transgressive, and there's no mention of her getting repeatedly and publicly... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:53 AM on July 31, 2014

No stakes, not relatable. I think I'm realizing: Shakespeare sucks.
But I think what this is getting at is that...um...probably a lot of people would say "of course Shakespeare does not suck" without actually having any kind of developed reasoning or experience about why they feel that Shakespeare does not suck. [for this purpose, let's leave out "Shakespeare was influential on other writers" - mere influence does not necessarily equate with "does not suck".]

I mean,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on July 30, 2014
In this situation, isn't that sufficient, though? His work has stood for centuries and is still enjoyed around the world. Surely there must be something there that speaks to people and causes them to continue to have a genuine response to his plays or else they would have fallen by the wayside long ago like so many others.

I don't know, though. I think the question is about "how people think about and talk about writing" rather than... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on July 30, 2014

The New Face of Hunger
so the government will subsidize those items....in a punitive, half-assed, still-insufficient way that allows their cronies to skim off the top and justifies endless invasive "nudging" of the lives of the poor.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:43 PM on July 29, 2014
Altho, I found the graphic about what your $10 gets you a bit disingenuous. You need a kitchen to cook that shit. Like a knife, pots, pans, a working stove and or microwave, maybe aluminium foil or saran wrap, and the know how. You need to pay for those things.

What struck me about the "what $10 gets you" is...well, first off, that's not what $10 gets you around here, for sure. You'd need more like $12 or $13, and the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2014
Also, sometimes you just get sick of what you can afford. Things are (hopefully temporarily) quite tight at home, and every once in a while I just snap and get something that's off-budget because I'm really tired of the stuff I eat day in and day out. In general, I feel that my meals are tasty (lots of sweet potatoes, lots of sauteed vegetables, home made whole wheat bread, various tofu dishes) but you just get tired of them sometimes.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:09 PM on July 29, 2014
What if we had a conversation about this stuff that didn't strive to pin a social problem on a particular generation? Especially because it so quickly becomes ridiculous - there are so many "large post-WWII baby cohort" people that there are large groups of any of them who hold any given position. There are lots of Boomer leftists. There are lots of Boomer yuppies. There are lots of queer Boomers. Trying to say "yes, this is all the fault... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2014

Feminism, stereotypes, and Nicki Minaj's album cover (NSFW)
She already has one of the biggest selling singles of all time, a song that surely was mainly purchased by pre-teens (did anyone here purchase 'Starships'?

I actually did, but I needed it as part of a playlist for something. I thought it was cute.

I would personally like to live in a world where "display your body in a submissive and feminine way to sell records while engaging in lots of body maintenance/body... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:56 AM on July 30, 2014

"If you care about WisCon, rebuild it."
What this says to me is that a well-intentioned organization has to have their ducks in a row before there's a call for a policy to be put into effect.

I could easily see my younger, more naive self become very focused on "how can we reintegrate [the offender] into the community after he has [done an unlikely thing to prove that he has changed]". I could see myself doing this in the face of evidence that suggests that most... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on July 29, 2014
Call the fucking cops and have him charged.

The thing is, very often people don't want to call the cops - they don't themselves want to go through the awfulness and publicity of a trial, they don't want to introduce cops into their community, they feel that though something was totally assholish it is not best dealt with by the legal system, etc. That's why it's so important to have a robust non-cop system. Your choices should not... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:11 AM on July 29, 2014

"Shiny Happy Voters"
Here's a direct link to the podcast of this episode, which is worth the listen just to hear Roman Mars stand up for Murmur at the end.

Wait, people have to stand up for Murmur? What's wrong with it? It was rather highly praised at the time, apparently, although I didn't hear it until, like, 1994, but really - what's not to like? "Radio Free Europe" is overplayed, but what about "Moral Kiosk" and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2014
Also, Murmur is mumblecore now? I think I've been understanding the term wrong.

Lifes Rich Pageant is the best REM album, though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2014
The Green through Automatic for the People era has a lot of the band's best music. Anyone who thinks the band should have turned down tens of millions of dollars to remain somehow "pure" or I.R.S. has probably never faced a big monetary decision themselves and/or has no idea some of the good R.E.M. did with a lot of that money.

I just don't like anything from Green onward. I feel like their sound does change (now watch the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:45 AM on July 28, 2014
"I Am Superman" is a fun cover of an obscure 60s nugget by The Clique. How is that "posturing"?

I think it's kind of a dumb song, honestly. The impression I got (of the REM version! Remember that I was listening to all this stuff back before the internet, and mostly on copies of other people's tapes, so I did not generally have liner notes) was that we're supposed to feel all deep about how the singer is deluding himself/consoling... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:24 PM on July 28, 2014
Not snarky, I have never thought this.

I can't listen to the song right this instant - and my musical vocabulary would make a cat laugh - but I feel like the song and the vocals are sort of melancholy, and in particular the way "You don't really love that guy you make it with, now, do you
I know you don't love that guy 'cause I can see right through you" line is contrasted with "I can do anything" - I assume the reading... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2014
"Voice of Harold" is terrific. I hadn't even listened to that one in years and must immediately upon my return home. I always found it incredibly soothing, like it promises a world that is incomprehensible yet none the less benign.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on July 28, 2014

Cages, craniums, and giant scary eyes
"useful in many therapeutic settings" will be the title of my memoir.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2014

Shocking news: personality doesn't matter when dating online
Weirdly, when I briefly had an OkCupid profile, I got a number of inquiries (from queer women - queer women and gender non-conforming people being the desired demographic) although I had not posted photos. I didn't have any - really, I don't generally have my photo taken - and I figured I'd just write the damn thing while I felt inspired and add pictures later, assuming that the profile would sink to the bottom of the pool and no one would even read it. But lo, they did! None of them seemed... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2014

"the how of politics is as important as the what of politics"
Or consider a May 2014 report from 2020health, another thinktank, proposing to extend tax rebates to Britons who give up smoking, stay slim or drink less. "We propose 'payment by results', a financial reward for people who become active partners in their health, whereby if you, for example, keep your blood sugar levels down, quit smoking, keep weight off, [or] take on more self-care, there will be a tax rebate or an end-of-year bonus," they state. Smart gadgets are the natural... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:57 AM on July 28, 2014

But then I suppose we have all read the reviews. We can talk about those
Honestly, I think a 23,000 (not including ebooks! That doesn't make much sense as a metric, though, since people who read seriously are more likely to have an ereader IME, not that I have one myself) initial US sale of a notoriously rather difficult novel called, for fuck's sake, My Struggle...that is rather a success.

And I'd infinitely rather read something called after Hitler-In-Translation on an ereader,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on July 25, 2014

Our nation’s preschool-to-prison pipeline
What is suspension actually supposed to fix? Can kids that age really perceive consequences for their actions? Or is it just a day home with mom and/or dad?

My suspicion is that it's mostly to punish the parents, who have to scramble to find alternative arrangements or miss work. This would be especially hard, I assume, if you were a single parent (unlike the writer) or if you were poor and in a lousy job.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 AM on July 25, 2014

Ever wonder what it feels like to be old?
Speaking as someone in his early fifties, the forties are when many people start to notice the aging process on a daily level (decrease in stamina, eyesight decline, minor health issues cropping up left and right, more frequent deaths of loved ones in the previous generation) and freak out about the process of getting old, even though they are not obviously old yet.

Amusingly, my parents have been obsessed by telling me that I am aging, that I am... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:45 AM on July 25, 2014

Big Hair is like so 1770s
Angela Carter has this very interesting short essay about Rousseau and corsets - she discusses the contemporary critique of tight-lacing (which was similar to the critique of big hair only angrier) and talks about how tight-lacing both disguised pregnancy and was believed to make miscarriage more likely, and that for women, particularly single women who were sexually vulnerable, tight-lacing was a strategy as well as a fashion. Rousseau, who hated tight-lacing, she... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:08 AM on July 25, 2014
(I still would not want hair full of powder and grease, no matter how "healthy" it was when I cleaned it off. Re-enactment sounds like a fascinating and non-alienated job, though.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:09 AM on July 25, 2014

Time magazine explains it all to you.
It depresses me - speaking as a white person - that white people are apparently unable to deduce meaning from context clues. That Time article was kind of creepy and patronizing, as well.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2014

'I wanted to put a stop to it'
Anderson wasn't sure where to start. He'd never heard of a priest raping a child

This keeps getting reiterated in these stories, and it seems so weird to me. I mean everybody knew, when I was growing up, that priests (and ministers) abused kids, and the general consensus [among non-expert children and teens talking about this stuff] was that with Catholics they abused mostly boys, and with Protestants it was girls as often. It was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:19 PM on July 24, 2014

You want a juicy industry to disrupt? How about your own?
That "hoops" quote from Levchin might be the most WTF thing I've read on the Internet today.

Back in the day, when Salon had a chat thing (Tabletalk, I think?) there was this woman who was some kind of high-falutin' hiring exec in the tech industry, and she was running her mouth about how she wouldn't hire anyone who wore nylons (wouldn't fit in with the "team"), wouldn't hire anyone whose clothes looked "vintage" in any... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2014
I think that "I would line up to dance on her fingers" is pretty blatently hyperbole. But she struck me as a truly vile human being.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2014

I think that "I would line up to dance on her fingers" is pretty blatently hyperbole. But she struck me as a truly vile human being.


And just to clarify: she struck me as a truly vile human being because her ideas about what made a good employee were bigoted and stupid and she flattered herself on them, meanwhile exercising a great deal of power (and making a good deal of money, as far as I could tell) making sure that her... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:16 PM on July 22, 2014

Bloggers review the It-bag of the moment: the Michael Kors Selma handbag
If someone would like to spend a mint of money on a US-made leather bag, may I recommend Village Tannery? Admittedly, my Village Tannery bag was an entirely random secondhand score back before eBay rationalized the thrift store market around here, and I don't expect to be kicking down for a new one any time soon, but they're lovely bags, really nicely made. The one I have, which is a classic style small messenger bag, will almost certainly outlast... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:49 AM on July 22, 2014

Bras for Trans Women: Controversy and Resources
I can see the argument that says, We don't want random dudes walking in here, claiming to be transgender and then scoping the women in back.

People need to be real thoughtful about this line of reasoning.

First, because I (generally read as a butch woman) could be perfectly capable of being gross and inappropriate. Women can sexually harass other women, either from an "I am a queer woman perving on you" standpoint or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:22 AM on July 17, 2014
It seems like "oh, there might be a man in the dressing room, we must avoid even the appearance of gender ambiguity" really does stem not just from not-thinking-of-trans-women-as-women but from not thinking of them as people. "We need to kick you out of [useful place] because someone might confuse you with a wrongdoer or else people might get anxious because they might worry that you could be a wrongdoer even if you showed no other signs of wrongdoing" is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:43 PM on July 17, 2014

"Because your wardrobe is a pretty complex organism."
The thing I always wonder about these capsule wardrobes: how do you handle office work? Like, I can sort of repeat my less noticeable pants once a week, but unless I want to wear only black pants all the time, I need at least four pairs of office-worthy ones per weather season. And while I can repeat five shirts every week, that gets noticeable too - "Oh, it's Tuesday, time for Frowner to wear the blue stripe again" - and it really seems better to have a few more,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2014
See, these are all cute clothes, but where the hell does one work in any of them? Even when I was young and punk rock, none of those would have been work outfits except maybe the dress. I can't even wear shorts to work, so any shorts that I own for weekend purposes are just one more item in the count.

Which is not to impugn the idea or the blog! I just always get really anxious because I keep thinking "And then I have ten... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:39 PM on July 17, 2014

Another way the school testing regime is rigged against the impoverished
One problem is that no one is keeping track of what these students need and what they actually have. Another problem is that there’s simply too little money in the education budget. The Elements of Literature textbook costs $114.75. However, in 2012–2013, Tilden (like every other middle school in Philadelphia) was only allocated $30.30 per student to buy books—and that amount, which was barely a quarter the price of one textbook, was supposed to cover every subject, not just one.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:57 AM on July 15, 2014

Hope you're happy, Sandy Allen / Hope your garden is blooming
Buried in the article is the fact that if her family had been able to afford brain surgery when she was a child, she would have been tall but not a giant, and would presumably be alive today. But they weren't insured, so they just never went back to the doctor.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:14 PM on July 13, 2014

Things not to say
I had never ever even thought of saying "totes emosh" and now I am going to start. I feel totes emosh about lots of things lately, so it will come in handy.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2014
I mean, I assume it's short for "totally" and "emotional". Maybe it's something else, though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2014
For a long time, I thought that "totes magoates" had something to do with moving one's goats around, though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:29 AM on July 11, 2014
Don't say "personal brand". I would infinitely rather have to recite a list containing all the usual suspects ("moist", "adorkable", etc) than have to hear people refer to their "personal brand". Every time I hear it I have to remind myself that it's not some kind of nineties body modification fad but is in fact a thing we are all supposed to have.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2014
It doesn't?

That is clearly toting only one goat, and is thus invalid.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2014
I do say "knock knock" when I'm standing in the open door of someone's office because it seems sort of peremptory to just, you know, knock, what with the door being open, and it's helpful in performing secretarial...uh...adorkability...to have some kind of kitsch phrase to deploy. But perhaps everyone could get a little chime instead.

(That's a question - can one deploy "adorkable" so on in a strategic fashion?... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:06 PM on July 11, 2014
I mean, I really like this tumblr...partly because it feels sort of eighties avant-garde blank, and partly because it sort of conjures up a set of scenarios - it makes one hyper-conscious of language. Obviously, I'm going to say "cougar" if I'm talking about the animal or "end of", and for some reason "does what it says on the tin" still delights me (because I never get tired of imagining a tin full of angry meercats or artisanal nail files or whatever) and yet the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:11 PM on July 11, 2014

Do you object to the concept of a personal brand, or to the phrase itself?


How separable are these? I mean, I suppose my "personal brand" could be the brand I use for branding my personal cattle...

I loathe the idea that we're all supposed to be "building our brand" by making sure that our hobbies are interesting and make us more internet-fun! and employable!...that we are encouraged to think... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on July 11, 2014
I'd say, in fact, that the ideal "personal brand" is one of "adorkability" - cute, faux-unique, non-threatening, able to "geek out" about work-related stuff and golden age television in equal measure, but 100% unlikely to agitate for a union or say something off-brand in front of a client.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:17 PM on July 11, 2014

Hell toupee
But but but...you have the hair part that god gave you. Or I do, anyway. Whenver I try to part my hair anywhere but the one spot that it's always parted naturally, even if I apply a lot of product in the morning it's reverted by noon. Change your hair parting? I was not aware that this was even possible absent gobs of hairspray, which carries its own trustworthiness problem.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on July 11, 2014

Your home, Bricksburgh, is one of many realms in the universe.
I like the checkerboard tile floor on the last one. And the way that the lab equipment seems overwhelmingly large, clearly to represent its psychological weight. I think I may get a set of these for the office. (I am not a scientist, but lord knows I work with scientists. Most of them wear outfits that do scream "scientist", though - invest in no-name polo shirt producers now if we're looking at a researcher boom. And Tevas, even though one is not supposed to wear open-toed shoes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on July 10, 2014

"Ugliness, Empathy, and Octavia Butler"
Interesting. Which writers would you say were influenced by Butler?

I'd actually have to go home and look at my book case to see who all I had in mind - I did a feminist SF class last year and was struck by how almost everything we read after 1990 seemed Butlerian to me, though. Off the top of my head, I can think of L Timmel DuChamp, Nisi Shawl, Aliette de Bodard....jeez, we read a lot of interfacing-with-aliens stuff and I can't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:57 AM on July 10, 2014

Learn about societal norms by violating them and seeing how people react
Weirdly, this reminds me of my thoughts yesterday about the "I smack my partner lightly when he tells a racist joke" askme.

[Naturally, I have no knowledge of the actual experience of that poster.]

I was thinking about how women are socialized to respond to stuff like sexist jokes or inappropriate behavior with a sort of "oh, you bad boy, stop that, tee-hee!" response, like a light smack on the arm or something. (Picture this... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on July 10, 2014

Exactly. Shaving is a personal choice, and I believe strongly that whatever people do or do not shave should not invite comment by anyone else. But it's disingenuous to think that we make these choices in a vacuum and that our perceptions as women of what "feels clean" or what's "tidy" or what we "like the sensation of" are completely uninfluenced by growing up in cultures where it's likely that every single image of female beauty we've been
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2014

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