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The Fact of the Matter?
On September 24, 2012 Radiolab aired their Yellow Rain segment in an episode titled “The Fact of the Matter.” Everybody in the show had a name, a profession, institutional affiliation except Eng Yang, who was identified as “Hmong guy,” and me, “his niece.” The fact that I am an award-winning writer was ignored. The fact that my uncle was an official radio man and documenter of the Hmong experience to the Thai government during the war was absent. In the interview, the Hmong knowledge… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:32 PM on October 23, 2012

BOYFRIEND REQUIRED
This? Is pretty awesome. Although also sad, because people, it is sad that a woman has to specify "don't become violent", "treat women equally", etc. Those things should be like "must be carbon-based life form".

Most of these things really aren't that stringent.

When I decided to be really serious about dating, I could have made a similar list. I think if I'd written it out, it might have… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:22 AM on October 23, 2012
Willing to put up with a control freak who organizes her personal life around lists.

Also, I have a beloved friend who organizes their life around lists, maps and charts. Having a list and strong standards does not mean that you're a jerk - you can be a jerk and have lists, but you can also be someone who says "I am setting up these lists so that once the list is dealt with, everything else is all freedom and relaxation!"
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:23 AM on October 23, 2012
"I don't discriminate based on looks." I find it very hard to believe that a woman with this level of specificity in who she is looking for does not have a single preference when it comes to looks. That, to me, feels like further judgement on people who care about looks as "discriminating." This list is purely discrimination.

Two things come to mind: I am incredibly picky about quite a lot of things in dates,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2012

Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive?
No, actually, the key factor is that no one actually wants to redistribute money and resources. The government keeps trying to substitute knowledge and hectoring for actual resources*, because nobody wants to trust the poors with actual money or cost any rich people anything. You want people to eat better? Hello, make sure everyone gets a living wage at a safe and non-discriminatory job and can work an 8 hour day, make sure that everyone has a kitchen which meets minimum food-storage,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 PM on October 20, 2012

Does This Plate Of Beans Vibrate?
This essay, it is extremely hetero- and cis-normative! Also, I feel like it privileges penetrative sex as the most serious, authentic kind of sex! Like, real serious people have partnered heterosexual cis-gendered sex, analyze the power dynamics, and are sure to work in at least one act of penetration - that's what revolutionaries do!

I really do not get the New Inquiry. These people are plenty smart, but they don't seem to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:19 AM on October 18, 2012
Personally, I feel like there's an undercurrent in the essay of the the idea that male penetrative sex is inherently uncomfortable for women

See, the sense I got from that part of the essay was "women are too non-revolutionary to undertake the bold work of re-making penetration so that it is not stressful/painful/oppressive!"

I feel like this:

Men no longer have to worry about being… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:23 AM on October 18, 2012
The funny thing is that in broad terms I actually agree with the premise of the article - sex in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy doesn't escape the norms of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy! The increasing respectability of sex toys really does involve making them a more privatized, commercialized product, and their production and marketing really does reflect a bunch of bad ideas about sexuality and gender! I mean, I think that's all very… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 AM on October 18, 2012
It is part and parcel of a larger issue I have been processing for a while now - what does sex look like in a truly equal society? What would female sexuality - and my individual sexuality - look like if it was not so deeply shaped by everything around us? What do *I* really want that is of myself and not what I am told I should want - that is bound up in this inherently unequal dynamic of behaviours, expectations, approved scripts, and yes, androcentric?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2012
And I think people reading it as heteronormative, etc., are just reading it wrong — it's trying to diagnose all kinds of cultural assumptions about sex (implicitly assumed to be hetero, penetrative, etc.), but it's not endorsing those assumptions.

I think that if you write about, let's be honest, vibrators and dildoes..and you don't even mention queer folks, and you don't even allude to the way that businesses run… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:15 AM on October 18, 2012
I was and continue to be surprised that those are the conclusions you have drawn and the suggestions you are reading into the piece because I do not see them there! I read her wording as being very, overly careful to not, as RogerB says, endorse that model.

Maybe this is a contradiction in the way that the piece itself is written - that there's some tension in the thing itself.

See, to me she keeps returning to this theme of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:31 AM on October 18, 2012
I mean, I'm sure the writer is a person I'd like and respect if we met - no one could produce this article without having a basic analysis that I would find smart and generally awesome. It's just that I have some trouble with the piece itself.

Although like everyone else under white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, if I wrote an essay about sexuality it would be full of me unconsciously revealing all kinds of assumptions which would mostly be wrong and/or depressing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:33 AM on October 18, 2012
You keep doing this — you're taking a critical claim that, in An's actual article, is clearly about the way sex toys are sold

We may just have to agree to disagree - I feel like this is a piece with a very deep underlying discomfort about sex toys, masturbation and sex-that-doesn't-look-like-"sex", with a layer of reasoning applied on top. (I've written pieces like that myself!) That doesn't mean that I think the reasoning is wrong, but I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on October 18, 2012

if the shoe fits
What I notice: that everyone hates it when other people can see things about them that they may not entirely intend to be visible; and that it is very easy to confuse "see" with "judge". I think everyone's first thought on reading this kind of thing is "I bet I could fool them with my shoes" - which strongly suggests to me that we can't.

I think that this is why many people are also skeptical of the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 PM on October 15, 2012

"We're going to go out there, and we're going to violate some rights."

Sorry, how stupid do we need to be to pretend that this is a surprise? This is exactly what the NYPD, and police departments across the country, have been doing to citizens, but especially to minority men, since before I can remember. If you are making a face, or standing a place where the cops don't want you to stand, or if they just don't like the look of you, you're going to get your pockets searched. If you ask why you're being searched, you're going to get physically
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on October 15, 2012

Christopher Kimball: "He may be the sole person associated with food journalism to remark, 'There’s something about pleasure I find annoying.'"
1) are haunted by a fear of humiliation, and 2) will not follow a recipe to the letter, believing that slavishly following directions is an implicit admission that you cannot cook... What the magazine essentially offers its readers is a bargain: if they agree to follow the recipes as written, their cooking will succeed and they will be recognized by family and friends as competent or even expert in the kitchen.

I love Cook's Illustrated. I am… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on October 14, 2012
I wonder if one's reaction to CI is about how one feels situated in the US food landscape.

As a white middle-American person, I feel comfortable with many of the recipes that appear in CI - they read like the kinds of things my family would have cooked if they were being fancy. But because I'm white and middle American, these recipes don't make me feel that my food traditions are excluded or invisible; I feel comfortable having other cookbooks or… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:11 PM on October 14, 2012
Behind the completely unjustified snobbery and condescension of Kimball's attitude toward home cooks...lurks merely yet another male who wants to tell mainly women exactly what to do in the intimate settings of their private lives

There's something about this that strikes me as interesting and yet unpersuasive, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think a lot of this stuff operates at the unconscious level - I can't prove anything about Kimball's… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:37 AM on October 15, 2012
I think the whiteness of Cook's Illustrated isn't necessarily "we never admit any furrin cuisine to these pages"; it's more how recipes are figured. Like, CI often "tones down" recipes to make them accessible - which is fine! please don't make me eat very hot things! Half the recommended sriracha only please! - but that is often described as if it is making the dishes "normal" instead of "less spicy". It's like, the imaginary/ideal reader is figured as… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:10 AM on October 15, 2012

Something like Anglophilia

Maybe I've been around "too many" genderqueer people, but I found this quite boring and unoriginal. "I'm wearing a green cotton dress" and "I go shopping in the women's department at the GAP"? Who cares. This breaks no new ground. I mean, I respect the guy for living his life and sharing his thoughts, but is this really shocking or surprising to anyone here?


But not a lot of people have! Especially it can be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:56 AM on October 13, 2012
I am a woman and not only is being "treated as a woman" not really important to me, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Perhaps the problem was that I meant to write "trans women often feel" and did not realize that I had not...Or at least I hope that's the problem.

But I feel like in these conversations no one wants to admit that there's a diversity of women's experiences - and that the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:01 PM on October 13, 2012

"A historiography of one's present amnesia"
I really like Chris Kraus. In some ways her work feels/still feels really eighties to me, like it belongs in Re/Search: Angry Women. And OMG the abjection. I hope she is not as abject in life. Or if we are all in fact that abject in life without realizing it, I hope I can continue in happy bourgeois self-delusion.

The only thing is, I feel like Semiotexte specializes in printing abject personal stuff by women while printing theory by and adulatory… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on October 11, 2012
@Frowner: I can't speak for the photographs, but the reason Semiotext(e) might "specialize" in abject personal stuff by women is that Kraus runs their fiction imprint, Native Agents.

But that doesn't account for the shortage of theory by women. It also seemed to me at the time that the issue wasn't so much fiction as that women's non-fiction at Semiotexte was more memoirs about sex than anything else, and that there did not seem to be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:07 PM on October 11, 2012
Also, vis-a-vis the eightiesness of Kraus's work: I have no pro- or con- on that and indeed I can't really define what strikes me as eighties about her work (I mean, not without going home and looking at my copies of her books); it just seems interesting. I'm interested in how people preserve their earliest theoretical or aesthetic concerns (if they do) - why? by what mechanism? what gets preserved and what gets dropped? what effect does this have on how their work is received? do people… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:14 PM on October 11, 2012

My Father, The Parasite
Yes, my dad was totes in the legislature, and my mom never had to work a day in her life...she was just a medical transcriptionist for kicks. Heck, bell hooks and Allan Berube and Sylvia Rivera are also to blame.

And of course, it makes total sense to blame large groups of people - inasmuch as a large, disparate group of citizens can actually be blamed for anything - for wanting decent jobs… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:18 AM on October 9, 2012
I've always had a difficult time understanding how the idealism of their youth did a 180-degree turn. You could also add support of the Civil Rights movement and adoption of the second wave of feminism. (Although the leaders of these movements, like MLK and Friedan, were born in the 1920s, not baby boomers themselves.)

Maybe it's because of television specials, or because most USians aren't very familiar with activist or bohemian social circles, but… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:02 AM on October 9, 2012
cite?

Cite which? I mean, I allege two things, although this isn't a very cite-heavy thread.

I'd say that in this thread, the narrative about sixties radicals is very much "they all rebelled and then sold out and are therefore hypocrites", and if you really want I can dig around on the internet and find some of the many, many times that people say that shit. But it seems like a truism to me.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:02 AM on October 9, 2012
Old Economy Steven has it better than his parents... and his kids.

Those are pretty distasteful. They basically boil down to "this person got TOO MUCH because he had a job that paid a living wage, was able to own a home and could retire - what a greedy asshole".

Look, one reason that this whole "let's blame the Boomers" thing is wrong is that it accepts as normal the idea that jobs must be shitty,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2012

The quality of ownership is not what it was in yesteryear.
So, to interject rudely here - if we can't resell copyrighted material manufactured overseas, that means that all the used bookstores will fold overnight, right? Because they'll all have to do a huge amount of administrative stuff to separate out US-printed books from foreign-printed books and won't be able to sell quite a lot of what they used to, and their clients won't be able to sell them nearly as many old books anyway. I recognize that legislators and indeed most Americans could give a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:18 PM on October 9, 2012

Lost in Space
When people say "I am not attracted to anyone of [race]", I always wonder what the hell that even means. Not even someone who was your ideal in every other way, both physically and personally? Not even someone who was really, really into you? Not even someone who was an integral part of your subculture? Not even someone famous and important in your field? No one? Really? And since there's no "race" where everyone looks the same skin-color wise, face-wise or body-shape… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2012

Rummy Couples
Why does this produce such strong feelings? And it does produce strong feelings - I see these pictures and I have a visceral reaction of despair, shame and disgust. I assume from some of the strongly-worded comments in this thread that people have a lot of relatively strong reactions of various kinds. Given that these aren't photos of, say, cops beating down some child on the subway or teapartiers turning people away from the polls or something else that clearly causes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:30 AM on October 8, 2012

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent, and Straight
Why does anyone want to join this organization? Even when I was a kid, it struck me as bizarrely regressive even for the seventies, like some kind of quasi-pre-military or the fast track for the Elks Club or something. Seriously, why does it even exist anymore? You can go camping and run around in the woods and have friends without going anywhere near this kind of weird stuff.

One of the biggest a-ha moments for me came when I was reading a feminist… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2012

Metafilter doesn't do fedoras well
I notice that many of these folks seem to be wearing fedoras that don't fit - markedly too small or large.

I also notice that the fedora is either worn as a "wacky" fashion item totally out of keeping with everything else (fedora and a tee shirt?) or worn with misapplied para-traditional men's clothes (dudes wandering around in a vest and trousers but no jacket in sight...just where is this happening? Indoors, there's no need for a hat although you could… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2012
Oh hey, I will tell a tale of my youth in order to illustrate what I mean by "taking up space".

Okay, once I was a young punk college student. Now, I was as unhappy as the dickens, and I did have a part time job, but I was also attending a posh private school in a small town and fundamentally not hurting for money due to both merit and income-based scholarships. My part-time earnings went partially to books, partially to music and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:20 AM on October 2, 2012
I'm sort of sick of the trope that dorks are particularly misogynist. I think it's a sort of 'just world' fallacy. Women don't typically like dorks and lots of dorks are lonely so it must be their fault for being bad people. I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks. It seems way more likely that rather than women being justified for disliking dorks as stealth misogynists,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2012
I'm sort of sick of the trope that dorks are particularly misogynist. I think it's a sort of 'just world' fallacy. Women don't typically like dorks and lots of dorks are lonely so it must be their fault for being bad people. I'm not saying dorks can't be misogynist but I doubt they are any more misogynist as a cohort than the many subcultures that women typically prefer to dorks. It seems way more likely that rather than women being justified for disliking dorks as stealth misogynists,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on October 2, 2012
Seriously? What a hugely uncharitable interpretation, of course not all women are the same. Of course women can be nerds too. I am not substituting dork for male. I am participating in a conversation where we are talking about a piece that criticizes male dorks through the lens of assumed misogyny.

This is precisely what I mean. When you casually, almost unconsciously, oppose "women" to "dorks" and suggest that "women" do… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2012
As a sidelight on the whole thing: mere moments ago I was looking at one of the snobbish shoe blogs that I sometimes look at and found this gem of rhetoric: "...all Saint Crispin’s shoes are handcrafted by a small team of artisans, craftsmen and women." I wonder what the job postings look like...."Woman wanted. Must craft, but not too well. Skillset interchangeable."
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:12 PM on October 2, 2012
You know, one of the hallmarks of genuinely nice men is this: when women talk about recurring misogyny and how much it sucks - even if those women are angry! even if those women do not qualify their every sentence! even if those women do not prioritize the feelings of men who may be reading! - a genuinely nice dude will say to himself "this is about misogyny, a big giant thing which causes tremendous material and emotional suffering for virtually all women and which… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 PM on October 2, 2012

IKEA's "clear position concerning gender equality".
On the one hand, fuck a bunch of "women are the sex class and even seeing their clothed bodies makes it so that men can't function, plus this line of reasoning is a convenient stick to beat women with, plus god things". On the other hand:

1. We know for a fact that historically Western concern for the rights of non-Western women has been used to prop up racism and imperialism - whether that's "civilizing" India or bombing Afghanistan or attacking men… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:30 AM on October 1, 2012
(Oh, I just want to add that it is very easy to get worked up over injustices that seem new and strange and startling while letting pass the ones that are routine and familiar, even if those are worse. Like, is it worse to airbrush women out of Saudi Arabian media or to airbrush the existing women in media into boneless doe-eyed sex puppets, as happens here? Which one do we have more control over in the West? Which one can we propose effective solutions to?)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:36 AM on October 1, 2012
Last week I happened across The View while channel flipping and they had Gabby Douglas on with a backdrop of her doing a mid air splits leap on the balance beam (Totally safe for work). They blurred out her crotch like it was Japanese porn or something

That is very interesting. Definitely the way I'd frame sexuality in USian media is "extreme explicitness and misogyny in 'entertainment' and advertising, but incredibly… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on October 1, 2012
Replace "women" with "Black people" and no one would think this was culturally acceptable or a subject we enlightened Western folks shouldn't discuss. And expecting Arabic women to have fully developed ideas of what freedoms they want dismisses the culture they grew up in...it's a frightening prospect on several levels and many women, if asked, would say they don't want to vote or drive. Because they don't know the alternative or are afraid of the endless battles… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2012
So wait, what, Ikea 'fessed up and it was actually them apparently assuming that the Saudis just couldn't handle a regular Ikea catelogue and not the actual Saudi franchisee at all? So does this boil down to "Westerners in advertising stereotype Middle Easterners and assume that they're all rando woman-haters; other Westerners get flail a lot about how awful the Saudis are"? Is that what this was? This whole thing was Westerners projecting stuff? And here everyone was going all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:00 PM on October 1, 2012

More jobs than we knew
Boy, I remember back in the Downsize This! era (otherwise known as what we used to think of as 'hard times')..."Clinton's created a LOT of new jobs, Joe." "Yeah, I have three of them."
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on September 27, 2012

Comix Stars
Gosh, we're all old. When did that happen? I mean, I'm younger than those guys, but they were the sort of Established But Young set when I was in college.

The Death of Speedy is one of the best graphic novels ever. And the one all about Luba that starts during the repressive US-backed regime.

Clowes I can take or leave; frankly I think Ghost World is kind of dumb about gender even… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:44 AM on September 27, 2012

Mes Aynak
So what I'm seeing in these articles is this:

1. From the mainstream perspective, it's bad if terrorists destroy something for political goals but perfectly acceptable/inevitable for capitalism to destroy something to make money for rich people.

2. There isn't any infrastructure to get the copper out, which means that any infrastructure that is built will be the good old colonialism kind - road that lead… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:22 AM on September 23, 2012

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit
Of course, this was complicated for me by the fact that my dad was buds with the Hildebrandt brothers. He posed for a bunch of Tolkien calendars (that's him at the center of An Unexpected Party) and so our house was littered with Hildebrandt artwork and books. When your dad is a hobbit, it kind of changes your relationship to the myth.

And it is because of this type of comment that I love Metafilter. Seriously, I never even thought… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:30 AM on September 21, 2012

I think there's a little bit of truth in this, but I also think that Tolkien is less of an innovator in that regard than we now tend to think. Wagner is an obvious precursor (heck, it's even a giant mythic saga about a magical ring of power!). And if you look at late Victorian children's literature and poetry it's full of invented worlds where the borders between normal reality and "faerie" of various descriptions are permeable: George MacDonald, E. Nesbit,
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:05 PM on September 21, 2012
MacDonald seems to me, in The Princess and the Goblin to be almost entirely uninterested in politics. Yeah, it's set in a monarchy, but that's simply a matter of signalling "this is a fairy story, not a realist novel." If you're reading the goblins as allegorical stand-ins for the underclass, what, then, are the plucky, heroic and apparently entirely self-employed miners? MacDonald is certainly writing an allegory in The Princess and the Goblin but it is a religious allegory… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on September 21, 2012

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