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YES - Fiction please! - NO
You too can have bland middle brow tastes just follow this easy guide!

I think it's not so much about bland middle-brow books per se - nothing wrong with Anna Karenina, for instance, and although I think Villette is more interesting Jane Eyre is quite worthwhile - as a consumerist/middlebrow approach, putting a glib, comic and inaccurate label on a book, choosing difficult books only if they are already-recognized "brand... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:36 AM on June 13, 2012

Policing Femininity
Well, it'd be kinda bad if bio women couldn't compete in women's athletics because the field was dominated by transgendered or transitioning men, right?

This would break the system. It would actually be kind of awesome for that reason. Think about the infrastructure that would be required - a group of mostly-straight and actually cis-gendered (because the reason everyone is panicking is not about actual trans guys; it's about people pretending to be... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2012
You're going to require transwomen to have extensive, expensive medical procedures done to them before they are eligible to compete as women? I'm pretty sure those are the exact requirements being complained about here.

Oh, far from it! That's precisely why it would break the system. It would be a pretty interesting Olympic strategy if they said "we're totally going to respect self-identification with nothing else to back it up (neither medical... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2012
If you're not comfortable imposing a requirement of having surgical, hormonal, or otherwise medical treatments done ... what stops me?

And what prevents men from putting on dresses, alleging as how they are trans women and going into women's bathrooms and [committing unspecified perversions] and totes getting away with it because of our feeble PC sensibilities? After all, that happens virtually daily.

If I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2012
While that's what she wants to do and arguably something she should be able to do, she is not undergoing, "forced body modification'. She is going through voluntary body modification.

On a related note, there's actually a series of discussions going on (of which I have only read some) about coercion in work. (And I'd argue that being an athlete is work.) Here's one with some links via Crooked Timber. I believe the starting point was "why is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2012
Returning to this at 5am, I have a fresh perspective - and it's sheer amazement that adults in the allegedly free world are discussing forced doping of a woman athlete because she is a good runner. I also wonder whether this would have gotten kicked off at all if the big publicity case were a blond white woman from North America or Western Europe instead of a black woman from Africa.

And then I was thinking of the phenomenon of "trashing".... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:21 AM on June 12, 2012

Welcome to Club Unicorn
Okay, yes, it will suck that this guy will be used as a stick to beat other gay folks with.

But! Isn't it exciting and wonderful to think that sexuality and subjectivity are so complicated and strange? Isn't it great to think that we don't have to live by the same dreary ev-psych heteronormative/homonormative "we all want to fuck Our One True Type of Person and everyone secretly wants either the buxom blond or the football player no matter what they say" line... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:05 PM on June 9, 2012
Also, look, I don't want to judge other people's sexual arrangements from a political tactics point of view - that way lies madness. I don't want to think " I have to disbelieve or condemn this dude because what he says will be used against queer folks if he is not discredited". That's not my politics.

If asshole conservative religious people want to condemn gay folks, they are going to do it by one means or another. And it's on them. It's not on this dude.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:15 PM on June 9, 2012

Watch out, Virgin America, you've got a real charmer on board!
It does lead you to wonder. I live in constant dread of someone thinking that I am hitting on them and then being appalled when I'm really just chatting idly and without intent. In particular, I worry when I talk to people who are younger and/or better looking than I am since they are often so used to getting hit on by creeps. This is one reason I don't talk to strangers very much!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:45 PM on June 8, 2012

You Are Not Special
I too am tired of the perpetual idea that kids these days have it "too easy", are solipsistic, etc.

It's very easy to think - once you have some adult perspective and a little bit of security in life - that kids should have those things too, right now, because it is so obvious, right? It's very easy to forget your own stupidities and struggles, or to justify or minimize them. It's very satisfying to hector the youth... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 AM on June 8, 2012
Do we really prize accolades over achievement? How would one prove this? (it's not enough to say that there are more accolades - not only can all kinds of forces drive this (marketing, fear of lawsuits) but that doesn't prove that accolades are valued over achievement).

What does it mean, anyway, to value achievement? Isn't part of valuing achievement found in achievement's social dimension? I have a relative who is a published... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2012

“Is that a serious question?”
Curiously, I think there are circumstances under which "that's bullying" would have worked for me. One of the ways in which I was bullied was by a kind of concern-trolling, where people would pretend to be friendly to me in ways that were transparent to me and all the other children/teens but that were not obvious to adults. You know, asking "sympathetic" questions that were really mocking in content and understanding, or "inviting" me to things mockingly. The... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:29 AM on June 6, 2012
So we've established that mefites in general are skeptical of at least some types of anti-bullying program. What would work to prevent bullying? (Not "how can an individual child stop bullies in your experience?" as we pretty much know that it's either "not at all" or "by punching them really hard and winning" but rather how can schools stop bullying?)

(I'm in the "the problem is the nature of the institution, half prison and half... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:41 AM on June 6, 2012
In the event that child admitted that he had not
used his/her skill, the teacher said,“How sad that you
let him get away with it.Do you suppose you are going
to continue to let him get by with it or are you going
to use your skill? It’s your choice, but tattling to me is
no longer a choice.”
Mr.Mendez tells us that the amount of tattling and
complaining has been reduced by over 90%. He
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2012
that would be "too stupid to understand that I could actually die". Ahem.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2012
It might be helpful if schools investigated different kinds of bullying.

Like, some kids get bullied but have a circle of friends. Some kids are absolutely the goat and have no friends - anyone can pick on them (homo sacer, eh?). Sometimes bullying is racialized. Sometimes bullying is about sexual attraction (girls who, for example, have large breasts) and sometimes it's about defining the bad/other female body (girls who are... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:50 AM on June 6, 2012

> girls who are fat or otherwise deemed unfuckable

challenge accepted.

Not "deemed by Frowner", though! I mean, I was a fat CAFAB kid whose body was mocked precisely because it was the Bad Other body - not feminine, not small, not narrow-shouldered, not beautiful-skinned, not even fat and voluptuous. I was totally the female grotesque, and that was back in the eighties when there were fewer fat kids... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on June 6, 2012
No showing off, Ambrosia Voyeur; clearly you know that your profile picture gives half of MeFi a crush on you.

I add, by the way, that there is a world of difference between being a feminine, relatively small fat person with a proportionate waist who has access to a broad range of clothing and being a large, blocky, wide-shouldered genderqueer kid with access to their mom's hand-me-downs from 1982 which didn't even fit. It's great that many young... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2012
Adults don't always pull their punches, so why do we expect kids to play nice-nice in every situation? You can still be a kid and have innocent fun while knowing how to deal such epithets as "I don't give a rat's ass what you say, Tom; I'm not a pussy for wanting to play the god damn violin. So shut the fuck up."

I'd like to emphasize that many kids - especially but not exclusively girls - are very strongly told to be "good", to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:25 AM on June 7, 2012

"The stories people tell make and reveal patterns. They unfold and invoke a vision of a world."
Dude, folks, this is a really smart essay. It actually says one totally new-to-me thing and one very useful thing (which I think is sort of relevant since I've been following all this stuff since before Racefail 2008).

She quotes and expands upon the idea that "diversity" is basically the idea that it is useful to white folks to see some POC in their fiction - like, I don't go to Nalo Hopkinson and say that she should... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2012

Digital Divide?
I don't know - I happen to have spent a good deal of time around a group of lower-income kids whose parents have less education. I've watched those kids play computer games and play regular games. I'm familiar enough with the group to say that some of the kids are unusually bright, some average; their parents range from involved to distant. And I do definitely notice that these kids have more trouble doing regular computer stuff (figuring out how to move from screen to screen, figuring out... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2012

The Party’s Over!
That is not how I understand the Tomkins Square riot - Seth Tobocman documented it in various issues of WWIII Illustrated and in War in the Neighborhood, which is unfortunately out of print - basically, in NYC in the eighties there was massive gentrification and displacement, the police were hassling homeless people, there were some punk/homeless radical squatted buildings that got broken up right around then, the park was one of the very... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:42 PM on May 25, 2012

American lights go out
How do they expect people to live if they own a house in those places? What about old people? What about people who can't possibly sell? What will they do?

(Has anyone ever read The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe? There are several spooky passages about abandoned part of Nessus, and this reminds me of that.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2012
Yeah, it sucks and it's incredibly unfair and sad. But the city's worse-than-broke. What would you recommend? We'd gladly accept outside money/support, but I highly suspect that's going to happen. Plus the state government is (and has been for quite some time) led by a GOP that's incredibly hostile to Detroit and its interests.

Move the people from the unlighted areas into foreclosed/abandoned houses in the lighted areas? I mean, their property value... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:27 PM on May 25, 2012
Coming from a not-even-that-rural area where there's only street lighting on some parts of the main roads, I am surprised by the gnashing of teeth over this. Ambient all-night-long outdoor lighting kind of seems like an antiquated idea to me, it's sort of like having public fountains all over the place as large cities did before there was plumbing.

But Detroit is a city, and it's a poor, run-down city where there's a lot of attacks on vulnerable people.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:59 PM on May 25, 2012
It will be interesting to see whether the loss of lights does make a difference - what I'm seeing here is that everyone will be fine if they just carry their own flashlights, there will be no effect on crime, etc. If so, it will be a pretty strong argument for getting rid of lights in cities in general - if Detroit doesn't need city lights, then San Francisco double plus doesn't need them.

Although I'm not really a fan of telling people "the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on May 25, 2012

This is the story of Brian Banks
Two things occur to me:

1. Still, false rape accusations are incredibly rare. It's worth saying that, because one documented false accusation is perpetually used to undercut any number of stories of sexual assault.

2. How much of the readiness to prosecute and imprison on dodgy evidence has to do with the fact that the guy is black? And a big strong guy? I once had a student who was a tall, strong African-American kid, and he got regular... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2012

Hmmm...Perhaps this is a result of people having become so accustomed to birth control that many of them have never known anyone who had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, let alone deal with one themselves?

Oh, just give us another ten years and the only 'birth control' you'll have access to will be the rhythm method, and women will go back to getting knocked up early and often as god intended.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2012

"Politicians say these things in the morning, and by the afternoon we get bomb threats made to our office." - Nic Schlagman, African Refugee Development Center
"Disproportionately" Christian is an odd choice of words - it seems to suggest that they shouldn't be Christian, or there are too many Christians or something.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called African asylum-seekers “infiltrators” who are a “concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country”.

This is precisely, precisely an outgrowth of the poisonously racist climate and the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2012
In short, it's cheaper to be smuggled to Israel than the process of obtaining amnesty in Europe, North America, South Africa, etc.

On the one hand, I think that racist violence is obviously a problem in Israel - it doesn't matter that refugees should have someone else to go, that doesn't justify mobbing people. *

On the other, yeah, it shows that basically an injustice in one place really is an injustice... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2012
So Sudanese refugees have a better chance for escape and a new life in Israel than anywhere in Africa or Europe. And a small, right-wing, xenophobic minority of Israelis are acting despicably in opposition to that. But the situation is framed in this post as an African Kristallnacht?

You know, one of the things about Israel is that it - like the US - has an explicitly moral narrative about itself (I'd argue that it goes something like this: "As... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on May 24, 2012
(Israel's problems really have nothing to do with it being a Jewish state, or much with anti-semitism: Israel could survive as a state, even a Jewish state in the Middle East, just not as a Jewish supremacy state.

Just in case there's a clarification issue - by "Jewish state" I did not mean "a state where there are many Jews and where Judaism plays a major role in the life of the citizens and some partial role in government", which... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:04 AM on May 24, 2012

Goodbye to all That

On the other hand, according to his wife Betty, whose memoir is also quite brilliant, he was a dick to be around. People are complex creatures. Since I never had to live with him, I will appreciate him for what he was: a great man of letters.

I bet he was a dick to be around. His prose style is, quite frankly, kind of dickish - in all his work, not just in Class.

But I've... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on May 24, 2012

How to Not Kill a Cyclist
(Okay, while we're talking about velocipedes, here is a bit of a poem, found in full here:

Next comes the Queen, so pretty indeed,
How nicely she sits on the velocipede,
With high heels and buckles she treads with
She's getting quite young is our Queen
That Alderman Salomon out of the lane,
He holds up so stately poor Vickey's train,
Prince of Wales and Prince Tick will
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2012

American "Yaoi"

You may as well ask why is Yuri popular. (Yuri being the lesbian equivilant.) You can talk it up all you want, but frankly, two men means more man-flesh for straight girls to look at.

Point of information - actually, yaoi and slash (and regular ol' gay porn) have always had a significant lesbian fanbase. Joanna Russ writes about this. And not, like, "lesbians until graduation", regular serious ol' lesbians like Russ herself... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on May 20, 2012
I wouldn't touch fanfic with a barge-pole otherwise, but my gods.... consenting sex with a woman? The fanficcers were nasty.

Fandom contains multitudes. I mean, I can think of dozens of slash stories which contain het and/or in which the characters are bisexual rather than gay.

The thing is, if you haven't read much fan fiction - especially if you've just popped in to, like, to find a Terrible Example (of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2012
Also, I think embarrassment about fanfic is

1. Shame about amateurism, which is dumb.
2. Shame about sex. As John Barth observes in The Floating Opera (to cite a high-culture misogynist male writer, just so that you know that I am serious and what I say is legitimate, because when women say things about sex they are obviously full of wrong and wishful thinking)....anyway, as Barth observed, sex is pretty ridiculous. It's other things... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2012
But the yaoi coupling is a poor representation of most gay relationships--the pattern is too concrete, the roles are linear and restrictive, while the sex is completely unrealistic. We see it with yuri--the perception of what a lesbian couple is has been unfairly influenced by the genre. Yes, it is simply entertainment, fantasy, ect., yet the real-world implications seem to be that gay and lesbian couples are increasingly stereotyped into the same linear roles by those familiar with... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2012
(Also, I have encountered very little fanfiction by men - I'd like to read more and would take recs in pretty much any fandom. I've been told many times that fanfiction is overwhelmingly written by women and most of the writers I read are women, so I'd assumed to to be true...)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2012
"This is kind of gross, can we get a 'socially just' reason to dislike it?"

Yes and no. Terrible representations of women by men fill me with rage. (Although I admit that terrible representations of women by men in porn don't bug me as much as, say, mainstream movies.) I hate stupid, patriarchal representations of women and I wish they would stop. Now, part of that is because those representations have a lot of power -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2012
There is also just a skewed emphasis in sex scenes on things that parallel romance-genre het sex, like dominant-submissive paradigms and implicit ass hymens (i.e. the whole bleeding the first time trope).

Wow. The world is full of surprises. (Also, squick!!! "Bleeding the first time"?)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:56 PM on May 20, 2012
Snyder, that is the most horrible thing ever, even exceeding my least-favorite nightmare fanfic with the scary bugs which shall go here unnamed because I don't like to think of it.

Although it does seem to me to be about projection - I think some of what is going on with certain kinds of yaoi and slash is straight women who are frustrated with the sexual roles assigned to them, feel that they have no other choices of how to be and who react... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:37 PM on May 20, 2012
Oh, this just gets ickier and ickier! I will never understand how some straight women, who themselves have to contend with so much fetishization and creepiness, can think it's okay to pass it on.

Here are some other thoughts:

1. There's some pre-existing toxic narratives about masculinity here - that men are always sexual, can't control themselves, and that the truth of [queer] male sexuality is the willingness to get it on... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 PM on May 20, 2012
Vis-a-vis the sex/friendship thing: I tend to take a slightly psychoanalytic stance (though neurochemistry is the usual mefi approach) and say that I don't believe that there are sexual and non-sexual relationships, because sex is pervasive in how people experience the world. I think that we often repress, sublimate or deny sexual aspects to our relationships precisely because there are so many dumb ideas about sexuality out there. Conversely, I think there are a lot of "family"... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 PM on May 20, 2012
Also, TJ and Amal for the win. Absolutely.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:01 PM on May 20, 2012
But what troubles me about all this slash/yaoi business is that there are actual gay men in the world, and a substantial number of those actual gay men do not care for the depictions of homosexuality in those genres. Analogies may be odious, but I would never accept that white folks get a pass on writing creepy racialized porn in the face of criticism from POC because "it's just hot" or whatever. I also want to watch out for the "but some gay men like it" argument, because... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on May 21, 2012

why teaching equality hurts men

But nobody thinks this, on any side of the discussion, so to speak. So I think her premise is badly flawed and the argument she advances is incoherent as a result.

I guess what I'd say is that many people think that such inequality as there is, is trivial and not really anyone's fault. Witness, everywhere you turn, the privileged totally denying what the marginalized have to say about their daily experience - white... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:48 PM on May 18, 2012

...what the Communists sneeringly referred to as the “Anarchists' Marching Song”
Mostly because they turned up in a May Day parade mostly populated by families with small children with their faces covered. I'm not sure if they're trying to look hard, genuinely thought there was a reason to cover their faces, or if they were trying to start something. Surely they weren't worried about the small children starting something. The police definitely weren't worried about it kicking off. They had a token presence for, I assume, intimidation purposes, but they weren't even... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2012
Which May Day parade was this? I didn't see them in this year's HOTB and I marched with them in last year's, and we were actually singing Bella Ciao and doing a little repeating street theater of "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1......Revolution!!!!" [run and jump, crowd cheers] routine. No one had their faces covered.

Also, two miles of running and jumping gave me blisters...but blisters for the revolution!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2012
Immigrant rights protest a few years back (possibly as far back as 2009)

Was that during the Starbucks campaign? I guess I can think of two things:

1. The Starbucks campaign was being super-heavily policed and monitored so people may have felt a bit more face-covery in general and there were other issues.

2. The IWW's composition has changed a LOT in the past three years, since the Jimmy John's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2012

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