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The New Essayists
I wonder what responsibility David Foster Wallace bears for all this? Everyone is name-checking Sedaris, but when I read all this "I am behaving badly just as anyone would" worm's eye view of humanity, it seems like a lazy person's Wallace, a way of making a vaguely Wallace-esque observation but then totally letting oneself off the hook.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2013

Leftover at 27?
Honestly, the actual articles make it sound like women are gaining power and choices and there's a lot of cultural pushback, but the power and choices are nonetheless real. I suspect that a lot of government rhetoric about leftover women is rooted in fear that women will be happy being "leftover", or will accept marrying later and making atypical choices about partners or children, or will marry foreign men.

I suspect that this is very… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:49 AM on February 21, 2013
China has a long, long way to go before they can have an anti-establisment movement that empowers individuals.

I guess I want to add that China has had all kinds of mass movements that empower individuals, from the awful and scary (the Cultural Revolution, which really did diffuse a lot of power in many ways) to labor organizing, women's rights movements, literary and cultural movements and mass uprisings like the Boxer Rebellion and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:31 AM on February 21, 2013
China has a long, long way to go before they can have an anti-establisment movement that empowers individuals.

And there's a lot of labor organizing and environmental stuff going on in China, or so I hear. Plus, of course, let's remember back to Tian An Men - that was not just Beijing, it was in cities all over. (Shanghai actually was not violently repressed - so I heard from a Shanghainese friend - because Beijing is always just a little bit afraid… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:34 AM on February 21, 2013
China has a long, long history of being occasionally nouveau riche and authoritarian with some ajustments at the top in the name of "reform",

See, I think this is a description that could apply to pretty much any "modern" state - it could certainly characterize the Harding administration or the first Roosevelt administration if you simply take it as a generality.

I mean, I speak as a white Westerner, so I'm… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:05 AM on February 21, 2013

Black History Month for White People.
"The most common racist behavior is white liberals lecturing everyone else on racism during Black History month.

I mean, I think there's some truth to this - that when white folks talk about racism, we need to be pretty careful and thoughtful, and even if we're doing absolutely our best possible, we're still going to hit some wrong notes, say some dumb stuff, etc. I think that when other white folks use this fact to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:07 AM on February 20, 2013
(I think that people of good will keep their eye on the ball - recognizing that organizers (especially white ones) are going to be flawed sometimes and fools sometimes, and that not being foolish isn't an option, but that it's still possible to come together at times to make things happen. - I don't mean "oh, don't criticize white people...I realized after reading corb's comment that this could sound like "don't say negative things when white people do dumb… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 AM on February 20, 2013

Why have the white British left London?
The [white] folks I know from the UK have talked about needing to leave London because it's so expensive and social policies are in place that make London more welcoming to global financial elites than ordinary people - London, like New York, is becoming more and more of an elite playground with a disenfranchised service staff. The people who they see as "replacing" them are the global wealthy - and since white people are, globally, a minority, it's no surprise than an influx of rich… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:45 AM on February 20, 2013

Privacy vs. Pseudonymity

Tumblr as I know it is about varying forms of social and racial justice and the accompanying drama, hatred, "that is not your image to reblog, culturally appropriative person!" stuff, etc etc. I'd say I have learned more from tumblr politically speaking than from any other platform, despite some of the drama.

It's a little disconcerting and very postmodern in a Fred "Ric" Jameson way to go from a post… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:03 AM on February 19, 2013

Can someone explain what is meant by the fuss/controversy about reblogging?

I suspect that there are many controversies over reblogging. Some include:

1. Reblogging while stripping away a key portion - ie, someone has written a comment about an image and you just reblog the image while still showing that it's a "reblog" - giving the impression that the person didn't make any comments
2.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:28 AM on February 19, 2013

Link between number of romantic partners you have and substance abuse
For some reason, this article/study makes me really uncomfortable. Maybe because it comes off as sort of slut-shaming? I think maybe my reaction here is a little knee-jerk, but I'll be interested in the other responses people have to this one.

Well,obviously one does not know why these things correlate - but if you want a totally speculative potential explanation that does not slut-shame, what about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:09 AM on February 15, 2013

Super No
I am somewhat confused about why you'd hire Card to write Superman anyway - I mean, none of Card's work that I can think of is about Superman figures (Ender isn't superman; the kid in the proto-Mormons-plus-magic isn't Superman...maybe the closest figure to Superman is the heroine of Wyrms, and she's really more of a mopey, embittered Batman figure.)

Although in a way it makes sense - there's a lot more pressure… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2013

One Billion Rising

This sort of mass event ... is more about feeling good about yourself than anything constructive.

I'm all activist-y and I didn't hear about this until yesterday. That tells me that it's organized by people outside the usual channels (at least around here) and it'sfor people outside the usual channels - people who might not go to some other type of rally or event, especially one that had maybe more… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:24 AM on February 14, 2013
I know this specific campaign is new, but Eve Ensler's been doing Valentine's Day (V-Day) performances of her Vagina Monologues (usually with proceeds donated to charities supporting women's interests) for a long time now. I wouldn't say that it's outside the usual channels.

See, to me the Vagina Monologues stuff is so far outside the usual channels of activism, whether non-profit-led or grassroots, as to barely count as activism or draw activists -… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:08 AM on February 14, 2013

You know you make me wanna tweet

You know, I don't actually have a real problem with women rating men by whatever standards they like. Warning labels are not particularly monstrous, despite all this drummed-up outrage.

See, I do have a problem with this, and I am definitely on the froth-at-the-mouth, "I hate cis dudes", "we-live-under-white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy" end of the spectrum.

On one hand, I think that the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on February 13, 2013
I don't know that I disagree, but it's not as simple as just playing reverse-the-sexes, because men doing this to women would be doing so with the full force of thousands of years of patriarchy behind them.

See, here is a thing: it's true that woman have been "rated" in horrible, inhuman ways by men in most feudal/capitalist/proto-capitalist societies for much of written history - and I can't help but think, honestly, of the hideous… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:19 AM on February 13, 2013

"Hey, Morris" Prince and I said in unison
The funny thing is, I know a lot of people who have met Prince in various social situations. An ex's dad ran into him out shopping one time, they got to chatting and hung out a couple of times, but my ex's dad had some problems with alcohol around then and just couldn't hold together much of a social life. A friend of a friend was picked up by Prince (or so she said, and I have no reason to disbelieve her - she was a lovely girl and got around a lot) at his nightclub in the late eighties under… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:25 AM on February 11, 2013
I mean, I have no opinion one way or the other about Prince's music; I'm just glad that he seems to have stayed merely local and eccentric rather than leaving and messing up his whole life the way Courtney Love did. (Now there was a girl - or at least, I know people who knew her back in the day - there was a girl who should have stayed here, been in some big-small local bands and been locally famous for her crazy antics and drunken hijinks, ended up working as a hairstylist at one of the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2013

"Don't you see? If no one were watching, I would not dance at all."
How much of the creepy tone of this article (two mentions of "Slut Olympics" right at the start, the transphobia, the "ooh, hippies are often dirty") was about selling this piece to GQ? And will it work? Will a meaningful quantity of the GQ audience try to go to Burning Man, anticipating and misunderstanding ready access to "sluts"? And will this hasten the shark-jumped quality?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2013

How you like me now
I think that, for pretty much anyone who hasn't grown up in the US, PETA will probably always seem like a bunch of nutters. They perfectly encapsulate how Americans will often take an ostensibly sensible idea (not being cruel to other animals) and turn it into a kind of weird and embarrassing circus. See also US politics.

I always wonder who PETA's American constituency actually is, because I have literally never ever met anyone who likes them, and I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2013

Slavery was 'an utter violation of capitalism'
How have we not already accepted that slave owners were rich money-grubbing assholes, that cared absolutely nothing at all for people who weren't part of his family. Why is this a thing all of a sudden? Did these people not take history classes in the third grade and are just now finding out about this?

I suspect that there's something weird going on here about the conservative narrative of slavery and race. Maybe it's that the right needs some… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 PM on February 6, 2013
I find the NYT a fairly conservative paper, honestly. It does not spout Tea Party talking points, but its basic outlook is rightwing. Bear in mind, by the way, that just because something is endorsed by a Democrat does not make it progressive, left or even centrist. (Drones, welfare "reform", killing "terrorists" without trial, et patati et patata.)

Shifts in the discourse are more complex than "calling up a paper and telling people to print… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:07 PM on February 6, 2013

"I still don’t understand what happened."
It's worth noting that the guy apparently had quit Zoloft shortly before all this happened.

I don't know, honestly.

I had a friend who did a moderately bad thing (no violence or sexual assault, no racial aspect, not related to a romantic relationship; it was property crime) and yeah, I think it's hard to talk or think about what happens when a friend does something out-of-the-common bad. In fact, maybe we could approach this piece charitably… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on February 4, 2013
I add that the "moderately bad thing" was bad enough that it broke up our friend group. The friend who did it vanished for a couple of years, then suddenly started sending money for restitution to the injured parties. And now we're friends again, and it's all okay. But it was wrenching when it happened.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:57 AM on February 4, 2013

Radiance was her job.
People in this thread might find the interestingly-named British academic Nina Power's book One-Dimensional Woman of interest.

She observes, "Objectification implies that there is something left over in the subject that resists such a capture, that we might protest if we thought someone was trying to deny such interiority, but it’s not clear that contemporary work allows anyone to have an inner life in the way that we might once have understood it," which… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:42 PM on February 1, 2013
"They can just choose to try to form a union"....

It just so happens that I am friends with a bunch of people who tried goddamn hard to unionize the local Jimmy John's restaurants. (And I never eat at any JJs-like place now because I know only too well that people are working with strep and working with the flu as they make my food.)

It's really hard to organize because your population is two kinds: kids who expect to work there for a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:39 PM on February 1, 2013

The death of bricks-and-mortar retail
It's a fundamentally better model if you want your neighborhoods to be desolate crime-ridden wastelands full of shuttered shops.

So everyone who works retail (itself not that awesome a job) will either be totally jobless and destitute or work in one of Amazon's nightmarish fulfillment warehouses with no job security or benefits. Who precisely is going to do all the shopping? Obviously, this is a shoe event horizon situation, only more of a "job… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2013
But who is going to work all these delivery jobs, boxing up our razor blades for same day delivery and so on? They are going to be making shit wages under very precarious conditions with probably almost no ability to predict which days they'll be working - or else it will stop being cheaper than physical stores. These jobs will almost certainly be worse than working fast food. Oh, it won't be a "worse" experience for anyone who can afford a subscription clothes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:05 PM on January 31, 2013

Life without the hassles of living
I do like the way that this points to the "labor" of constructing a social personality - and that it is labor, paid in scrip (becoming "mayor" of a bar? is this the immortality that the poet promised?).

I mean I know Hipster Hate just never gets old, but scorning people for eating free range eggs and / or locally sourced bacon? Jesus Christ, you can have a healthy scepticism of excessive irony without turning into a total… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:32 AM on January 31, 2013
"and because I am so thrifty, I do all of this on part time wages so I have more time for my art!"

So I should have continued and said that this type of admonitory figure is one that's about thriving under extremely adverse and cruel economic conditions while still Living Beautifully. The figure of the hipster (which has little to do with real, actual people) is someone who does not actually fundamentally challenge capitalism, just critique… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:43 AM on January 31, 2013
But the point is that no one is really a hipster. The hipster is a symbol.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:44 AM on January 31, 2013

Announcement of the government of Canada
In the 'realities of being a Hungarian Roma in Canada" article, they point out that the generous, lavish benefits that people are allegedly emigrating to scam off the Canadian government are something like $1100 a month, out of which you have to cover your rent/your family's rent. You also get food and medical assistance, but it sounds like families are ending up with about $200 a month to cover public transit, soap, toothpaste, probably anything like condoms or tampons, translation… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:35 PM on January 29, 2013

A world accidentally full of triggers
This article bugs me because it fits neatly into the whole "a woman says this isn't sexist so it's okay!" tradition of take-downs performed on activist projects. A woman who has PTSD says that trigger warnings and internet feminism smack of "victimhood"....and a thousand right-wingers yell we knew it all along!

The thing is, there's stuff about tumblr and stuff about twitter and stuff about trigger warnings that I really dislike;… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:02 AM on January 29, 2013
Here is a thing: as a white person who has spent their whole life on the fringes of the middle class, I grew up without learning certain kinds of manners. And people like me, when we enter worlds where certain kinds of manners are normal and expected, sometimes find those manners confining, and thus assume that the manners must be wrong.

For instance: as a white person, 'diversity' and 'multiculturalism' were always optional. I could engage with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on January 29, 2013
If you're unfamiliar with The Vagenda, the author of the piece identifies very much as a feminist. Whether you disagree with that or not, it's her self-identified position. TV's focus is mainly the representations of women in media for women - which I guess may be seen as some as a very privileged area of feminist discourse, if only because Grazia is aimed at the kind of reader who would merrily spend £245 on a neon yellow jumpsuit.

Why yes, I would… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2013

Learners Rights and the MOOC Wars
If the actual MOOC-ification of higher ed is likely to be a dead-end, in other words, MOOC’s do enable us to ask a question that we’ve often been too defensively crouched to think about: what should or could “higher education” look like, if it were stripped of its credentialing and profit-making functions? If it were free, and if it wasn’t about determining who gets jobs and who doesn’t, what would it look like?

Funnily enough, I know… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:46 AM on January 28, 2013

A gentleman from sole to crown
I always wondered how much of the mockery actually had to do with his ethnicity, actually. I mean, I've watched a lot of these horrible, horrible situations play out on the internet and it seems like the victim is very often someone who is already socially vulnerable because of race, accent, etc.

The comments in the article about, basically, how to survive being an internet punching bag are heartbreaking.

Poor son of a gun. Poor kid. (He may… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:50 AM on January 26, 2013

Choosing Not to Be
But the motif of "heroic melancholy", that depression clears away the illusions and lets one see true reality and that it somehow fuels creativity, that's just so much Romantic bullshit and cheerleading on self-destruction, all while being at odds with how the brain works.

I think there's a big difference between "I see clearly that the world is horrible, history is a slaughtering bench, people find it very very hard not to be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on January 25, 2013

Hey, you've got your black people in my American TV show!
Why is Girls a focal point for criticism about under-representation of people of color on television? Arrested Development didn't have any significant non-white characters* but it was never called out like Girls. Tons of shows could be criticized the same way, but somehow Lena Dunham is the worst? Something else is going on here.

Now, we could easily frame this as "women face unfairly higher standards than men about social justice issues",… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:25 AM on January 23, 2013
I'm often really surprised that some white people don't have non-white friends. I'm Indian, and I have a very diverse group of friends from all over the country and the world. I went to an elite college in a boondock-y place and I live in DC now.

I was going to write that I've gone through periods of my life with only white friends, except then I realized that this has hardly ever been true. It's much more that my friendships with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:51 AM on January 23, 2013
Did you not think that's how it was handled in Season 2, episode 2? How you characterize the breakup scene?

See, I actually think that if the show carries on in that vein instead of letting everyone off the hook or pulling a "nothing to see here", that would at least be interesting.

One thing I worry about, though: when there are television programs - fairly sophisticated ones - about characters who are depicted as… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2013

I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture.
Hold the phone, OP - libertarian seasteading projects did not inspire The Scar. (I mean, unless Mieville directly says that they did...but The Scar came out in summer 2002, and thus was planned and written well before this seasteading stuff kicked off.)

This is from the Mieville article, and I think it points more clearly to Mieville's influences:

There also have been genuine countercultural… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:33 AM on January 23, 2013

The Distress of the Privileged
Rather than focusing on compromise (since why bother attempting to compromise with somebody who thinks I'm horrible?), my analytical mind instead starts searching for ways to take them down if they get in my way, and it's difficult to mentally "shift gears" back into non-aggressive interaction. From a purely pragmatic perspective, it's just such an unhealthy and frustrating direction for the interaction to travel in, and that's why I'm a big fan of the "two-way… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:42 PM on January 18, 2013
The article isn't about ending white supremacy, but it would work better if it was.

I should have been clearer - whiteness, white supremacy, my own complicity therewith...those are things I struggle to deal with well and generously, and therefore the points where I identify the most as a privileged person in 'distress'.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:49 PM on January 18, 2013

How Much Will Your Taxes Jump?
You know, it's funny - I actually took a good look at my first 2013 pay statement and, unlike this whole WSJ line of nonsense suggests, it's neither painful nor confusing. Because I am not a plutocrat, I make a modest amount; my taxes have gone up modestly. Honestly, I have a bigger bite from the insurance increase here at work. And if we had, like, the things that a normal country has - decent national health care, secure retirement system, help for the mentally ill and addicted, etc - I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on January 17, 2013

Welcome to the world where Sandy Hook didn’t really happen.
I'd be interested in hearing how the "Planned Parenthood is a plot to bring on the eugenics of the Blacks" 'theory about a conspiracy' fits into the meme of 'conspiracy theories are all about white privilege'

The people funding and propagating this meme are right-wing white people, true, but the reason it has traction is the history of white people practicing eugenics and doing various medical experiments and family-destroying things to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:44 PM on January 16, 2013

An Incredible Transition
It's interesting too just how many physical cues there are. It's not just "tits/no-tits" or "beard/no-beard." It's really subtle stuff like the distribution of fat on a person's face and neck, or the structure of their jaw and cheekbones, a lot of which we're not even consciously aware of most of the time. All that stuff — even the bone structure stuff — changes in response to hormones over the whole course of a person's life, but the more changes have built up, the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2013
Yet when trans women actually do reject this plastic surgical standard of beauty and are disinterested in hyperfeminine dress, they suffer the indignities of being treated as "men posing as women" because their bodies do not appear normatively feminine to others.

DrMew, not only are you named DrMew, which is awesome, but that was a really great comment.

I know this is more about me than her; but if one is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:47 PM on January 15, 2013

How to talk Minnesota Nice
I think you've just given yourself away as living in Minneapolis. I don't think Chicago suburbs have rings.

Yes they do! What do you call Oak Park then? (Which is not where I grew up.) "Inner ring suburbs" are the first couple of stops on the Metra or the last couple on the el, mostly older ones built on a walking plan around the train station and an actual downtown, mostly well-off, mostly more cultured and with better schools than the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:33 PM on January 15, 2013

Facebook's Graph Search
The Wired article (after talking about how Graph search leverages one's "relationship with brands", god why are people such suckers on the internet, you do not have relationships with brands) talks about how this can be used in "job searches", which I find depressing as I have no intention of using Facebook and this leads me to wonder how it will impact my work possibilities. (And also makes me wonder by what mechanism we are essentially making… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013

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