Activity from Frowner

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Here's how to live without fucking things up, asshole!
Yeah, gee, it sure sucks when, like, marginalized people try to participate in academia by getting, like, a degree in literature instead of something "practical"! All those queer, women, working class and people of color PhDs should totally stop wasting their time - especially because scholarship means nothing!!!! And god knows I wouldn't want any broke people deciding that getting a fancy meal or some really nice shoes for once made them feel good about themselves.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:43 PM on January 9, 2014
not sure of who thor fucks, but afp is not straight.

Fair, but the lived experience of a woman who is very visibly married to a wealthy straight man is very different from that of someone whose primary relationship is not heterosexual.

also the actual title of the piece is "how to live like a king for very little" not "absolute rules to structure your life after or you're fucking… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:56 PM on January 9, 2014

Whether You're High or Low
Okay, look, this is a weird thing for a white person to say, but I feel really weird about someone taking this really powerful, mobilizing song and turning it into a sad indie white girl song. Tightrope really, really reads to me as a song that is about the power of racism, not just some generic oppression by "The Man". I know there are lots and lots of readings of any given song, but the video emphasizes mental "health"-as-white-supremacy, resistance… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:42 PM on January 9, 2014

Justice does not take the shape of punishment eagerly dispensed.
More toxic than AVFM or Mens Right's Edmonton? More toxic than FreeRepublic?

The thing that gets missed with this kind of logic ("oh, you're saying that [radical community] is as bad as [far right assholes] when that's obviously not the case? Actually, you have nothing to complain about and since activists are nicer than MRAs we are actually Doing A Very Good Job!") is that most of us are not emotionally enmeshed with the far… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:30 AM on January 6, 2014
Also, about anger:

1. "Anger" varies from milieu to milieu. In some places, what gets labeled as "anger" is saying "well, it might be possible that your experience as a white person means that you don't quite recognize the power of white supremacy maybe a little bit". In some places, it's telling people with great depth, sincerity and inventive obscenity that you hope they get cancer.

2. Our… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:53 AM on January 6, 2014
(I was trying to say in 1 above that there are lots of times when people say "you're so angry" over something really Not Angry; and there are also times when people say "you're so angry" over something that really is kind of awful; and so when we talk about "angry" activist spaces, it's important to talk about what kinds of rhetoric and which spaces and the purpose of the anger.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:57 AM on January 6, 2014
I'm trying to imagine the look on the face of the resurrected James Baldwin as some activist explained why it so very important to be sure that people admitted that Proteus was not an interactive artwork but a video game.

It just so happens that I was rereading some James Baldwin the other week, and what actually struck me was how much he sounded like some of the better writers on tumblr. (Or how much they sounded like him.) If you want to test… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:00 PM on January 6, 2014
The difference between a white activist with a master's degree who runs an art studio in San Francisco and her white Google employee neighbor is indeed vanishingly small. Sorry.

But as I understand it, a lot of the people who are dealing with gentrification in San Francisco/Oakland are not people who run their own art studios and have plenty of money and graduate degrees. "White" isn't verbal shorthand for "well… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:25 PM on January 6, 2014
So yeah to police how people respond to being attacked as if the source of the problem of a raging bull is THE BULL and not the people who LOCKED IT IN A CAGE AND TORTURED IT-- is problematic to me. Society really does have a lot of ideologies and practices that routinely cause and allow huge quantities of suffering and unnecessary death and poverty.

But the thing is, we're not talking about a monolithic "internet" where I can go out there… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:15 PM on January 6, 2014
can I never be an asshole to, for example, a cis woman because I have male privilege? Or can a cis woman never be an asshole to me because she has cis privilege?

I think I reversed that. What I was trying to say is: "If I am mean to a cis woman, does that not count because she is cis? Or if she is mean to me, does that not count because she is a woman and I am a transmasculine person?" And what I was trying to show is that this is a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:31 PM on January 6, 2014
But it's not just the tone of an individual comment - it's the tone of the whole conversation which matters, which is part of why this is all so tricky. How often I've seen someone excerpt something which reads really appallingly out of context and then I actually click through and think "you know, actually that was a perfectly appropriate response". I think that one reason the "tone argument" business is such a problem is that it's usually someone whose… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:33 PM on January 6, 2014
It isn't always humor. I've seen rallying Radical Feminists chant "Shoot the Rapists, Shoot Shoot the Rapists".

I have two thoughts here:

First, I don't think there's anything more terrible about shooting rapists than about committing rape. This isn't really equivalent to "I hate men because they're all worthless misogynists" or whatever, because committing sexual assault is a choice and not something that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:04 PM on January 6, 2014
"I genuinely do not understand this. We have a left-leaning president, perhaps the most left-leaning president we've ever had."

I feel like you're conflating a kind of representation with actual policy - which, honestly, in the US is easy to do, because it's so hard even to get people of color or women elected at all.

Most people are getting poorer, and that's doubly true for people of color and trans people. We're… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 PM on January 6, 2014

"This sounds like a near rote recitation of some "how to be called out" blog posts I've seen radicals post.

I mean, there is this tension in online activism between manners/rules stuff and individual circumstance - sometimes I feel really uncomfortable with the way that "good advice in general" crystallizes and becomes "what everyone must do". There have been times when I've sucked it… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on January 7, 2014

The Campaign For Real Poverty
"But people being priced out of their "family homes" because they're now living on their own, not with a partner and 2.5 kids anymore? That's not a fucking tragedy. That's a necessary move to make it possible for young people, young families especially, to have anywhere to live at all."

But one of the main ways that working class and ethnic communities get destroyed is precisely by dispersing people - to remote suburbs, to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:48 AM on January 4, 2014

We don't have cameras

Here I was hoping this would be about putting away the goddamn camera/phone/whatever and mostly going through life without a lens between you and your experiences. So many people are too busy filming or instagramming or snapchatting crap that they forget to actually live it.

That's what I was expecting, too. Although I think that constant documentation is a way of experience that has its value - not just a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:50 AM on January 3, 2014

"There is no financial argument for buying a house"
Here in the US, we bought because we want to be able to live in the city for good. Rents and house prices seem likely to continue to rise here over time because we're very centrally located, and I was afraid of being priced out, having to move to the suburbs, having to own a car, being far from the things I care about, etc. We've had a couple of Quite Large maintenance expenses in the past year, but very little for the four before that. This whole "everyone is so mobile now" thing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:08 PM on January 1, 2014

Healthy cities: public health and urban planning
I live mere blocks from a really fantastic hospital. I live in one of the poorest (and the largest, because it was made that way to reduce our clout on the City Council) neighborhoods in my city. I have insurance. I have been treated at that hospital. No one I know who lives nearby has insurance. The only way they're getting treated at that hospital is via the ER.

People who take public transit are generally poor. That's why their health outcomes aren't as good.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:54 AM on January 1, 2014 took Christopher and turned it into Krystougher.
The thing I have observed about terrible names - and there are some terrible names, IMO - is that once you actually know someone Galadriel or Throgmorton or Reptilian Cork-Nethersole or whatever, it just turns into a regular name to you and stops sounding unusual. Really, it's no different from meeting someone from a distant place who has a name you've never encountered before. If you don't think naming a kid Allsing or Gunvald is weird, why flinch at Braelyynn?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:59 PM on December 27, 2013
Also, I think that while there are lots of terrible white-people names (and IME, all those Jayden/Braden names are white), the whole "names spelled funny lol" conversation is shadowed so strongly by the racist conversation that even if you're only talking about white people, you kind of can't have that conversation and have it not play into racism.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:05 PM on December 27, 2013
There is someone I have to email occasionally whose last name is Riddle and whose first and middle initials are "M" and "E"...and according to the email generating conventions of this person's employer, this creates an internal email of RiddleMe@[] which has always struck me as awesome.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:12 PM on December 27, 2013
It occurs to me, actually, that I have a perfectly sensible name carefully chosen by my parents so that it would be very slightly unusual but basically classic, with a standard spelling and simple pronunciation - and I have always disliked it, do not go by it and think it singularly unsuitable to my character and appearance. (It's a name with a sort of built in diminutive, a very wholesomely feminine name which would actually be perfectly suitable for either a cheerleader or a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:07 PM on December 27, 2013
While we're on the topic of Le Guin, in The Dispossessed all the characters from the anarchist moon are named by computer - everyone gets a six-letter, two syllable name which also serves as a sort of SSN...and of course, it's set up so that it's always "Shevek" or "Takver" or "Bedap" and not "Llmxop" or "Iiieee" or something. You can't really leave town and start over on the anarchist planet. I admit that I am kind of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:33 PM on December 27, 2013
I was just thinking how I love talking about names, and it's a shame that so many conversations about names get derailed by unconscious/unintentional/ignorant racism and class bias. (Because really, the whole "ha ha Braelynn" thing is really "ha ha someone who is either lower middle class or nouveau riche wants to sound fancy, but isn't classy enough to know how to really sound fancy"...I, an uptight person from a WASPy background, think… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:59 PM on December 27, 2013
Ra is a pretty great name for a kid, tbh. It seems like an automatic confidence booster, a name that demands a dramatic pause and a booming intonation. There's no casual way to toss it off. It's always gonna be, "Hey, nice to meet you, what's your name?" "My name is.....RA."

I know someone named Ra, actually. Ra really owns their name - they're not quite what you'd look for in a sun god, but they're a force to be reckoned with.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:23 AM on December 28, 2013
In terms of legally changing your name: the thing that has kept me from doing so is that I'd have to explain to my parents that I was rejecting the name they gave me. (I'd be afraid to keep the name change secret since it would be on all my legal documents.) There would be So. Many. Ructions. And I bet that's an issue for a lot of people - naming is emotional. It's very easy to say "just go ahead and pay this [significant but not impossible fee] and get a different name" but… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:40 AM on December 28, 2013

Making Excuses for Science Fiction
I was actually just thinking about this very topic while washing my hair, so I'm happy to see it turn up on the blue.

Honestly, I've read a lot of SF where it's about a marriage dissolving in 2155 and it doesn't need to be science fiction because nothing new is added by the SF setting and the story might as well be (usually very sub-par) Cheever or Munro - where the SF setting functions as a sort of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:17 AM on December 28, 2013
Why stop there? You'd better have a good reason to set it in 1955 and not 1855. Are cars and telephones really necessary parts of the story?

No, that's exactly the point. If I'm writing a story where it's basically Jason and Belinda from Williamsburg breaking up on a loft roof, only I think it's more exciting if the loft is on Saturn, that's going to be a blah story. It will be just as blah - and probably more of a failure - if I just put Jason and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2013
The boundaries of genre are really tricky to identify - and it's easy to think that we shouldn't even bother, because who wants to be the genre police? And yet, there are things that make SF into SF, there's a history of SF as a genre (whether you start in Russia in the late 19th century or in 1925 with the pulps, etc), there are all kinds of things that SF does well naturally and a bunch that it often does poorly...SF is a literature of work, for example. There's not a lot… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2013

What to say at the holiday table
Because I am a terrible person, I found these really, really annoying. I mean, for fuck's sake, you produced a work of scholarship. What precisely is achieved by dumbing it down into internet-speak? Is it that you feel contempt for your whole goddamn thesis? Is it that we really as a society believe that nothing is added once something goes beyond tweet-length? Is it just generalized contempt for the complex? I don't want to read an insouciant… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2013

Pretend you're a cool ghost.
I would love some high-waisted pleated tapered pants. I keep hoping that they'll come back and get mass produced. And I personally am rocking a fade even as I type.

Honestly, the JCP catalog wasn't exactly a bastion of high-fashion even in 1990 - most of that stuff would have read as pretty frump-tastic at the time, though frump-tastic variants on then-fashionable things.

Big shoulderpads and a wide cut make a really… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:38 AM on December 19, 2013
(I should clarify that I owned a number of things not just from the JCP catalog but from the JCP clearance catalog - I remember one particular semi-cropped striped pullover, some vests and a pair of button-fly jeans. We were not especially well-off when I was in my teens, and those items were pretty thrilling. Things turned around a bit a few years later and I was able to buy a few things from the GAP and one Christmas I got one of those big J Crew wool roll-neck sweaters. I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:09 AM on December 19, 2013
I'm still waiting for ultra-wide-leg jeans to come back. I have a friend who didn't wear shoes for most of summer 1996 because her feet were always hidden inside her jeans.

Interestingly, I think those derived from Northern Soul styles fused with hip-hop - I mean, they were large and wide, but they were also very flowy, which is a Northern Soul thing, and they seemed initially to have some connection to that whole N. England dance… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:23 AM on December 19, 2013
I dunno, 1940's fashion still looks pretty damn classy to me. THAT look would be super cool to come back in style. Like in Blade Runner!

But forties fashion used to be considered frumpy-crazy in, say, the sixties or even the seventies. (In the seventies, it was 20s/30s that was fashionable; and in the sixties even that was a fringe taste - I remember seeing a documentary about the Cockettes and how they could, like, pick up silk… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:29 AM on December 19, 2013
Also, of course, just what is revived varies. Everything that the fashion kids today are reviving as "grunge" is (with very minor exception) actually what we would have considered boring and risible back in the day, certainly not what anyone who had any pretensions to hipness would have worn (with the exception of flannel shirts, but they're a cultural universal). What's being revived as nineties isn't high-fashion or avant-garde fashion - it's the tack-ball mall… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:38 AM on December 19, 2013
They did have a "Don't have a cow, man!" shirt in there, which wasn't far off from "Let's Fart!", based on the reactions I got to my Bart Simpsons t-shirt.

Oooh gosh, remember all those late eighties/early nineties pop cultural moral scandals? Bart Simpson - so transgressive! "Black Bart Simpson" shirts - just a sign of PC thuggery by a bunch of oversensitive types! Madonna! (I mean, how many Madonna scandals… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:42 AM on December 19, 2013
High-waisted pants have definitely come back in style - some of them skinny, some tapered. I don't know if they've fully caught on in the mainstream in a way that would mean mass productions but I say give it a few more years.

But it's the pleats that are the thing - and pants fit is so tricky for me that I require true mass production so that I can choose from a number of pairs. I've tried vintage and I've tried men's and I've only ever had one… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2013

Just saw this elsewhere on the site - actual pictures taken in an actual shopping mall in 1990.

I think a key change from the eighties (because most of those photos are really eighties photos - certainly, by the time I graduated from HS virtually all that stuff was totally passe in suburban Chicago) is the current preference for hair that is not treated to create a curly texture, also the preference for hair that is less visibly treated in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:59 AM on December 19, 2013
My understanding is that 40s fashion saw a revival in the 70s, and 50s in the 80s - I had a few teen annuals from the 80s which tended to feature fifties aesthetics, pictures of James Dean and Monroe etc.

Actually, there was a lot of forties in the 90s, too - I remember a particular photo shoot (someone unlikely - Marc Jacobs?) where it was intentionally a wartime look with wooden platforms and very long hair up in one of those "no haircuts under… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:20 AM on December 19, 2013

Worst Case Scenarios
I tend to assume that anything I try to do on this front will be either very small-scale or pretty useless. Like, it makes sense to try to insure that my house is in good condition - I want to refinish the basement so we have a comfortable space that will stay cool without air-conditioning. It makes sense to grow a certain amount of your own food. But if things get really terrible - like, massive local displacements, sudden total collapse of the water supply terrible - no… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:18 AM on December 18, 2013
It would be a kick if the caldera erupted - it might kill enough people and derail enough industry to permanently slow global warming. Of course, I'd probably die - but that's going to happen eventually anyway.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on December 18, 2013
(Vis-a-vis Chernobyl, too, remember that the response to Chernobyl was everything that a huge authoritarian industrial empire could muster - they had guys in radiation suits doing thirty-second shifts shoveling radioactive debris, they had absolutely everything they could throw at the problem. (And prior to the end of the Cold War, the men who worked on cleaning up Chernobyl at least had access to health care for the horrible problems so many developed.) Chernobyl went… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:13 AM on December 19, 2013

Mother Expletive Nature
"Birthday Cake" was a mix tape staple for me in college, back when my thirtieth birthday seemed really far away. Time passes.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2013

Google acquires Boston Dynamics.
This really is so much like Oryx and Crake, only actually kind of worse. Pleeblands, here we come.

Actually, what frosts me the most is that sure, Google will develop some kind of radical life extension and so on - for the 1%, and the same selfish assholes and spoiled rich people who are already ruining everything will just live forever while a pullulating mass of regular humanity lives in misery, plague and want (except for the ones they recruit for sex work and so on).
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:53 AM on December 14, 2013

Confession of an Ivy League teaching assistant
Perhaps this is the place to mention that in a recent class, my professor (a grown man!) recounted that he had twice (recently!) been physically threatened by students over grades. This at a perfectly conventional large university and in a rather ordinary field.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on December 13, 2013

A lion told her to walk away, and she did.
I'm sorry, but no. I was widowed at 33. What happened to me was shitty, and was definitely Loss and Tragedy, but I am in no way damaged. But society kept telling me I should be, so it took me a hella long time to realize that I wasn't, and maybe society is for telling me I should be.

I'm very sorry that something so terrible happened to you.

I wasn't describing real people who have had real tragedies happen to them,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:56 PM on December 12, 2013
You're right that there's a lot to be known, but wrong that it's unknowable. When C. S. Lewis was 16, he met Arthur Greeves, who was his best friend (after his brother). They corresponded for literally the rest of Lewis's life. Obviously the early letters cover appalling boarding school experiences, in addition to other topics generally of interest to teenage boys, including sex and kink. (Also, Greeves was gay and Lewis was pretty cool with it.) Their correspondence makes up a 600-page… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:04 AM on December 13, 2013

Parisian Auction of Sacred Hopi Artifacts
I think there's this whole difficult-to-let-go-of logic of collecting and saving that gets tied in to the market and to fear of death. Leaving aside the colonialism aspect because it's been covered upthread - I think we have to let go of the idea that we can "save" everything for future study and for future generations - there's just too much stuff, for one thing, and it's this sort of costive, hoarding, anxious kind of thought. Also the idea that we should be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 AM on December 13, 2013
Why does it sound so unlikely that that individual Hopi member who first sold the masks may not have made masks themselves and sold them to traders, realizing that traders found them valuable? And if the Hopi claim is that they held property in common, and no one had the right to sell outside the tribe - did someone have the right to leave it? Many people from many tribes left for their own purposes. If said Hopi left the tribe for owning personal property, why should they not sell… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:40 AM on December 13, 2013
Also, honestly, in these days of super-sophisticated photography and other imaging, we don't actually need to have All the Artifacts to still provide a rich museum experience. It's nice to see things in the flesh - and it's important to be able to see some things in the flesh, I'm not advocating artifactless museums - but we don't need to see All The Things. Much better to return the ones that were acquired improperly and just have replicas or photos of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on December 13, 2013

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