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In the MMORPG of life, straight white male is the easiest setting
I would argue - as a member of a social circle where people routinely use the ugly formation "checking your privilege" - that if you are getting all wound up about how bad you feel because of the awful, awful guilt trip that some marginalized person is laying on you, man...that is something that you need to work on. It's a quite separate issue from privilege - the idea that you can independently choose not to make it all about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:23 PM on May 15, 2012
Or possibly being marginalized on several axes could be the terrible end you'd face should you cross the...the....Lanarks? Starks? The main people in the series.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on May 15, 2012
I will just carry right on with some general reflections on privilege and guilt.

To me, thinking about privilege feels like deepening a stretch. You know when you start out you think you've done just about the best downward dog you possibly can, but then you gradually relax into the stretch bit by bit? You get much farther that way than if you just strained to stretch as much as you could. And there's also this feeling of sinking into a more and more profound stretch,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2012
"Has it occurred to you that the average (N. American) 19-yo white dude has been raised in a fairly egalitarian cultural context that says everyone deserves equal rights, everyone deserves respect, democracy is all about one-person-one-vote and so on? "

You know, as much as I have a surprising number of young white straight middle class male friends (many of whom, I surmise, are drawn to me precisely because I am both non-male and too old and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:25 PM on May 15, 2012
But bell hooks didn't teach me to close my tags!!!!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2012
This makes perfect sense (largely because I have somethings in common with your friend). The point I've been trying to bring out is that very often the arguments about privilege are being advanced by the hipper-than-thou folks in the parade to advertise how great they are.

As it happens, she and I have had a couple of quasi-arguments about this stuff, precisely because I am college-educated and damn glad that I am not 22 and looking for my first adult... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2012

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders
Delaney is a handsome fellow. Rumor has is that he is a bit stroppy in person, despite the winning charm of his writing.

I'm really excited about this book. Also, I love The Mad Man - it's absolutely brilliant. I've seldom found Delaney's porn all that...er...pornographic for the purposes for which porn is conventionally deployed, but I guess I would say that it is in many ways better than porn. If it weren't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 PM on May 13, 2012

Player of Games
NoEM is more sentimental than Em, I would say. Complicity, for example, is an incredibly sentimental book, especially compared to something really cold like Consider Phlebas or even the parts of The Player of Games where the Azadian empire is collapsing. And The Crow Road? Sentiment all the way - it even has a happy ending! Perhaps this is because the Em books are at a more epic scale than the NoEm books.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on May 9, 2012
A book about sentiment is not necessarily a sentimental book - I probably should have said that in my first comment, because I seemed to be contrasting "warm and fuzzy" with "cold and cruel" to mean "sentimental" versus "non-sentimental".

It's much more that, to me, the NoEm books are doing this "I am trying to break your heart" routine, this "you should get all choked up in either sadness,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:49 AM on May 9, 2012
The Algebraist is great, although its plot is either a Mievillian balking-of-readerly-expectations or a bit of a fizzle. I would read many more stories about the various non-human inhabitants of that universe, particularly the Dwellers. I adore the Dwellers, not least because Banks has written a species that isn't motivated by sex at all - just thinking about the various types of things that fall away from a society when no one is even interested in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:24 PM on May 9, 2012

Jon Hamm says, Slow Your Roll
Won't teenage girls consider all these guys to be over the hill? I know when I was in my teens, men in their thirties and forties were of zero interest to me.

I believe that the point isn't "oooh, advice from dreamy heartthrobs!" but rather "oh, advice from adult guys who maybe know more about the adult world into which I am moving than boys my own age do, plus since they are adult men they are somewhat less likely to be creeps to me... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2012

The Curse of Chief Wahoo
Once while hiking in Eastern Oregon, I met and started talking to a group of teen boys from the Umatilla tribe (there was free salmon to be had in the river we were hiking up, but none of these kids had their tribal cards on them).

They were nice guys, very easy to talk to, so I asked them about the whole sports team nickname stuff, and did it bother them that there were the Redskins, the Braves, et al?

One of them says, "Nah,
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2012

Well that explains a lot
You can make a substitute "buttermilk" for vegan baking by adding about 3/4 T vinegar to 1 cup of soy or almond milk! This is not especially drinkable, lord knows, but it's pretty convenient for certain biscuits and cakes. The proteins in the soy/almond milk just clabber right up - as much as I know why it works I am still slightly amazed that wow, it actually happens.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on May 9, 2012

Obama's Friendly FIRE
This is a fantastic article - it really put together some stuff about Chicago development history for me. The part about how public housing in Chicago actually facilitated gentrification by moving poor folks from their sprawling single-family housing (crappy as it was) into compact highrises in another area - that alone was worth the read.

Man, I allowed myself to be so deluded about Obama. I knew better at the time, but honestly I liked him... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:11 PM on May 8, 2012
I'd like you to consider the alternative if you're still grousing about the current administration, Frowner. Go ahead and don't vote for him because the wool was pulled over your eyes. But please keep your mouth shut as Romney et al dismantles the social safety net and pushes the country into an economic depression. Oh and remember those two or more Supreme Court noms the next president will likely get, because those will be the ones that finally rescind Roe v. Wade and uphold a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:51 PM on May 8, 2012
("wanted DADT ended")
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:52 PM on May 8, 2012

Oniongate
I don't get it... why would you cook the onions that long? A few minutes in oil with garlic before the meat goes in the pan seems perfectly fine to me.

Carmelized onions are very sweet, often a bit sticky and don't taste much like onions in their original state. The carmelized versus sweated-a-bit debate that so often develops always reminds me of the hippie-pizza-versus-authentic-pizza debate, in that there is no reason that you cannot enjoy both.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:19 AM on May 7, 2012

MK Occupy Minnesota
As far as the Occupy piece goes - I know some of the folks who made it. One of them is very reliable, politically. I've learned to pay a lot of attention to him because he has a really good eye. He's an excitable fellow who can rant a bit and wave his hands around, but I have known him for years and he's broken a number of meaningful local stories. I have no independent way to judge the accuracy of the video, but it's coming from someone I've seen to be honest.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2012
(I mean, there's nothing wrong with the others - I just know the one guy pretty well.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2012

"If you call a cop, you should get a cop"
You really think backroom dealing by well-placed public schoolers and other Torries is more rampant in the UK now as opposed to, say, 100 years ago?

The thing is, backroom dealing by the Tories is more rampant than it was between, say, 1920 and 1995. I know I always say this in these threads, but it truly breaks my heart to see the UK go this way. I used to want to emigrate, what with the culture and being more liberal than the US and the NHS and so... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:48 AM on May 3, 2012
(Oh, and I don't want to compare the current awful political situation to every other awful time in human history and then go "eh, at least we aren't being put to the sword"!! There was a better time, there have been better times, and that's what we should be aiming for.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:50 AM on May 3, 2012
Because guys like Billy Gladstone (you know the guy that signed the Public Schools Act granting independence to his alma mater) were self-made men educated on the streets?

An awful lot of important political figures and writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries actually were self-made [mostly] men. The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes makes this clear. Honestly, I'd have to have the book in front of me to cite names and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:09 AM on May 3, 2012

Five Arrested in Ohio FBI Sting
Look, I'm an anarchist. I live in Minneapolis and am pretty familiar with various kinds of "terrorist" prosecutions, from the 100% fake (RNC protest organizers; kids dressed up as zombies) to the coached kind. (Brandon Darby and those kids with the molotovs). Let me lay this out for you:

1. Some "terrorist" prosecutions are the result of cops seeking drama - like the zombie protesters who recently won $165,000 from Minneapolis.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:51 AM on May 2, 2012
This is the same line of reasoning that leads people to say "the black bloc guys are agent provocateurs", which is a pretty tired shtick at this point, and a great example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

See, I would feel really differently about this except that I know people who have dealt personally with informants and provacateurs. I know people who tried to be kind to an informant, actually, because he... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:09 AM on May 2, 2012
But wait a second. What else does anyone who pulls one of these stunts ever think but, essentially, "Step A: blow shit up; Step B...; Step C: the revolution will happen!" Timothy McVeigh, Anders Breivik, the Unabomber etc. etc. etc. None of them had anything like a coherent plan about how they'd move from blowing shit up to effecting the kind of political and social change that they envisaged. I'm strongly getting the impression from this thread that if the FBI or their... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:18 AM on May 2, 2012

Failing to succeed
Doesn't this kind of depend on what you want to do? I've been part of a bunch of projects where we've had to learn a radically new skill in a new context...and there are times when you want or have the time to reinvent the wheel, even if the whole reinvention process gives you more perspective and bigger skills. If you have to have something up and running by next week and you're responsible to a bunch of other people to get it right, flailing, failing and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 AM on May 1, 2012
er...don't want to reinvent the wheel.

The unconscious is a funny thing, eh?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:33 AM on May 1, 2012

Our “white people problems” problem
Some of the Girls nitpickers seem to be funneling their issues with other aspects of the show—the depiction of privilege, the emphasis on women, the youth of its creator—into the race question, where their objections will seem less reactionary and more righteous.

This is actually very astute. As someone who is critical of virtually everything virtually all the time, it's helpful for me to reflect on whether I'm ever concealing... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2012
That is a very common usage of "white people problems" and similar terms that the article is discussing. In my experience, it is more commonly used by white people in a slightly ironic way, or as a way of saying that they're "edgy" because they prefer "ethnic" things, than by people who aren't white.

Precisely - when white folks are "edgy" because they prefer "ethnic" things, they're just one step away... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:56 AM on April 25, 2012

Crisis Contrived
Doesn't there have to be an attack on undocumented immigration? If we just let immigrants in to the US, then they'd be protected by US labor law (such as it is) and covered by minimum wage rules, which would cut profit margins and/or raise prices on the products they produce.

Massey characterizes US policy on immigration as "schizophrenic" (which I assume he does only as a rhetorical strategy, because he seems pretty smart). It's not;... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 AM on April 25, 2012

Competitive Ecology
There's something about the call for a better-educated workforce that's always bugged me. It's odd, because education is good, right? But A) it's always seemed to me that there's a tinge of victim-blaming, because those workers wouldn't be out of a job if they weren't uneducated, right? And, more importantly, B) it all seems very supply-side: it all seems to rest on the idea that if we create more educated workers then somehow there will be a job to go with every newly-minted diploma.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:58 PM on April 24, 2012
(Also, I suggest that "precariat" be the plural modifier thingy for adjuncts and other temporary workers...."a precariat of temps gathered round the doors at OfficeTeam"; "a precariat of adjunts decided they couldn't afford MLA this year".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on April 24, 2012

The Siege of Savile Row
I tend to see all this retro-menswear business as a sign of economic polarization. Almost none of the people who advocate it ever address the fact that suits and proper shoes are out of the economic reach of most men. They'll do a little hand-waving about how you can get a J Crew suit for $250 if you wait for the sale and luck out, and you can get a very nice pair of gently used shoes for $100 on Ebay or whatever, but they never address the fact that for most men in the United States (and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on April 24, 2012
Then just get a pair and stop whingeing about it. You're only mentioning it to signal your good taste, and the idea that you're too noble to allow yourself a pair until the entire proletariat has had its consciousness raised is just wank.

Even as we type, I am wearing benchmade shoes. Admittedly, they're lightly used via Ebay, but lord, they weren't cheap. I have no intention of waiting on the revolution for comfortable, durable footwear. Can't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:58 AM on April 24, 2012

When have people anywhere ever been 'roughly equal'? You're going to have economic or political power disparities anyway as the natural by-products of age and ability. They may be greater or lesser than the average, but they're not going away any time soon.The point of mentioning Maoism was that officially the economic hierarchy had been abolished; in practice it had just been replaced by a political one.


To my mind, Finland (I have a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:43 AM on April 24, 2012

Red Snappers Are Red Rated
Guess what? Let's talk gleefully about a bunch of small fishermen, working in an unpleasant and precarious industry, getting pushed to the wall! Let's forget just how ruthless a country we live in, so that if your profession and your livelihood tank, you're pretty much screwed.

As a vegan and someone who, you know, reads the internet, I am dubious about the sustainability of any non-farmed fish at all, but that doesn't mean I'm going to sneer at someone who is dismayed... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:51 PM on April 22, 2012

Pain cake
One thing that I haven't seen in discussion about this - that it's a bit weird that the major discussants of something that happens to and is generally perpetrated by African women living in African should be Swedes living in Sweden, most of whom are white. In a way it recollected the Kony thing for me - that everyone discussing the situation does so without requesting the thoughts of those directly involved and affected. That's as true of the artist as the women at the event. Ie, you can... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on April 19, 2012
I've noticed that when an act of oppression/clusterfuck happens there is a tendency to find a person to blame - someone to put all the shame onto*. (Or a small group, or an ideology, but usually one person.)

When really an oppressive act is about the system itself - the system that pushes the culture minister and the various attendees into acting the fool, in this case. No one person is to blame; it's the ways in which everyone interacts, the unacknowledged social... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:51 AM on April 19, 2012

Bang, Bang, it's a free country
If rising up against the government ever comes to pass, their little gun collection won't stand a chance.

Drones are really making this true, whereas before, honestly, there was always at least a plausible case for a guerilla war in the hills, or at least making things very difficult for the state via street fighting.

Actually, though, I suspect people aren't thinking of overthrowing the government as such; they're thinking... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:55 PM on April 17, 2012
*Snort* as if Americans have 1/2 the fortitude and determination of the Viet Cong. Hell, take away the internal combustion engine, cable tv and cheap larger and you'd cripple 90% of any American "resistance".

The Viet Cong were fighting against a colonial power - and not even the original colonial power, with whom some Vietnamese at least might be expected to feel a little kinship. They were fighting against an external power that had shown... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on April 17, 2012

Leggete Nanni Balestrini
It is my experience that attempts to talk Autonomia or about radical social movements often get dislocated in this manner - dismiss a turn of phrase as barbaric or ignorant and by implication dismiss the topic of the post, preferably without having to do the heavy lifting of arguing history. This is especially important if you want to avoid talking about the lived experience of people in social movements as if it had any validity.

The book looks fantastic; I've just... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on April 17, 2012

My only country is six feet tall
I would be very interested to see how an independent Scotland would fare. Isn't one of the issues differences over austerity? I thought Scotland had stuck to a less austere approach and was seeing better results and less popular despair/anger?

Scotland seems to me to be one of the most underrated Anglophone countries - a very strong intellectual history and history of including women in intellectual life, a comparatively liberal political culture, lots of arts stuff,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:14 AM on April 13, 2012

Apple-licious
Do they actually taste good, though? It seems like you might get steamed apples inside a toughened apple skin.

(I care not at all for whether they're on Pinterest, and in fact am a bit dubious about this whole "oooh, suburban moms like it, therefore it sucks" thing - the more so because I wonder how many mefites' moms live in the suburbs. My mom lives in the suburbs and has for almost her whole life. That doesn't mean she has bad taste or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2012

Puppsy Blue

there is some weird cultural stuff floating around the idea of Buying It For Life or all the Shop Class as Soulcraft


Ya, you betcha. It's especially hilarious because while some people who buy all this stuff will keep it forever, a lot of people will give it away, sell it, or stick it in the basement til it gets mildewed as soon as the next big thing comes along. (Assuming capitalism and the planet survive long enough for there to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:55 PM on April 10, 2012
And they get similarly self-righteous towards people who change their habits towards durable "for life" goods that address their personal needs.

No, they don't. They just think it's funny when people justify buying a pair of $500 Aldens this year by saying that they are shoes "for life" and then mothball them when the next big trend comes along. Which people do. I've been, as we say, to this particular fashion show before.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on April 10, 2012
Let me perhaps suggest that it's meant in jest and that he doesn't really intend for family squabbles to form over his leathergoods.

I just think it's a gross thing to say. It's one of those things where people haven't thought the reality through, so they think it sounds macho-internet-funny.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:22 PM on April 10, 2012
It's always the aura of the product that's the thing.

I am incredibly fussy and ridiculous about clothes, for reasons that are reasonable (work, childhood of lack, being queer and wanting to inspire terror rather than 'let's hassle that freak') and frivolous ('ooh, shoes!' 'I wish I had shoes like in that picture'). Sadly, this means that I know myself pretty well - when I eBay stalk the English brogues or the vintage bag (you thought those were just idle examples...)... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:36 PM on April 10, 2012
(also: men have a huge advantage here-- I don't have a pair of Alden shoes, but my friend does have a few pairs of Allen Edmonds, and cap-toe Oxford shoes will always go with a suit. And nice shoes are better than cheap shoes to begin with)

I have to out myself here: I'm not a man. I just wear men's shoes ("but are they men's shoes if I'm wearing them?") If you wear a women's eight or above, you can generally buy shoes from the high-end... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:27 AM on April 11, 2012

"Seems ok."
That does not look like a happy kitty to me. Admittedly, perhaps when it's at home in a familiar environment it enjoys swimming, but the whole "has to be dropped into the pool" thing does not look promising. I do not approve of making pets do things that they clearly do not enjoy when there's no real benefit to the animal or the household - pictures of miserable pets in funny costumes always get me down.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:24 AM on April 10, 2012

"Perhaps in American cinema, women have typically been reduced to types like mom, girlfriend, or victim. But in the Y.A. books of our youth, they are far more complex, and more thoroughly drawn."
Little House on the Prairie is a strange choice for this list - it's memoir (albeit lightly fictionalized).

I also wish that when folks name check it they would note that the whole story plays out against the really grotesque and miserable dispossession of the Indians. The books are a strange document of that - Laura's puzzlement over her encounters with native people and the extremely odd passage (in the third one, maybe?) where Ma or Pa tells her... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on April 9, 2012

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