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Were single mothers better off in the 19th Century?
But weren't the charity benefits provided prior to the 19th century extremely uneven and ideologically contingent? In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, IIRC, many were administered through guilds, which meant that the "masterless men", displaced peasants, etc, were left out. And what about all the elderly farm workers and laborers in the countryside that you read about dying in truly abject and shocking poverty? Then there's the ideological dimension - you only need a cursory reading... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:26 AM on March 5, 2012

Omni Consumer Products
It's really scary watching the UK sink into actual fascism. Normally I'd bracket that with some big disclaimer about how the US is always worse, except I don't think the US is worse any more. In fact, whenever I see news about the UK, I find myself hoping we can stave off what's happening to you - the constant surveillance, the crazy use of ASBOs, the insane brutality during protests (Alfie Meadows, that girl in the hijab, etc - and I know people who were seriously... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:24 AM on March 3, 2012

Emotional Elegance in the AAA Space
Sandman: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman?

That particular comic makes me so angry, because it's really, really clear that Gaiman thinks he's being super progressive in his treatment of the trans and lesbian characters. But really the trans character is just there as a prop for the straight woman to show how caring and accepting she is, with a little bit of "lol she doesn't pass" thrown in. The whole... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:44 AM on March 2, 2012

80. 80. 80. The whole time.
The problem is that a good recipe just isn't good enough for CI. It has to be the absolute BEST recipe in the entire WORLD, even if, for most people, the cost, time, and effort required for such a recipe makes them just not want to cook. As far as I'm concerned, it's part of a trend whereas cooking just becomes a specialist hobby and not something everyone does. I do love reading CI and I love fancy food, but I'm very glad to have learned basic everyday cooking.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:06 AM on March 1, 2012
“Ah, deep fried lamb testicles with noodles. Who doesn’t remember the silky sauce, the firm noodles, the savory lamb testicles with their savory batter coating. But the reality today is that even if you can find deep fried lamb testicles with noodles at your local Lamb Testicle Hut, the noodles are limp, the sauce is curdled, and the deep fried lamb testicles are small, tough, and the batter is bland and insipid. WE SET OUT TO IMPROVE YOUR DEEP FRIED LAMB TESTICLES WITH NOODLES... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:34 AM on March 1, 2012

London is full of ghosts
"See, what we need is a couple of really big, scary, near-invincible flying narcotic cyborg wildebeest. Then the whole city will come together - black, white, man, woman, sentient orchids, severed demon ninja feet, badger paralegals - against this terrible threat. Unity! Social cohesion!"

This actually isn't at all the premise of any of his novels. Consider The Scar (which actually has quite a good plot).... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on March 1, 2012

I am Winnie the Pooh
TL;DR: It's about immigration and xenophobia.

Yes, and it's also about the way in which the idea of a fixed, unitary, easily-comprehensible identity is used as a weapon. We are all a lot of things, have a lot of identities, are always more than what can be seen at one time by one person. But politically, there is this attempt to name and define one identity for certain people as a way to act against them.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:01 AM on February 27, 2012

The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone
Okay, there is something I don't understand here: why does living with people (other than children for whom you are responsible) mean that you can't eat what you like? Surely you aren't living with housemates who get really judgey about what you eat? And these would be grown-ups? Plus, I have three housemates and I barely even see them because we all have slightly different schedules.

Seriously, I've found that establishing firm boundaries with... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:33 AM on February 26, 2012

Google glasses coming soon.
I wonder what will happen with those of us who wear glasses just as a regular thing. I mean, I don't even do facebook, so I can't imagine that I'll be buying these, but will it just increase the pressure to get lasik? Probably.

In Samuel Delany's Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, which was published in the eighties, everyone had access to a sort of internet as a neural interface. But because he's Samuel Delany and it was the eighties, this was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:33 AM on February 24, 2012
Having Internet and notes and data all present all the time

Also, it's going to be pretty sweet when your boss expects you to be on call every waking moment...just "for emergencies", of course, but it will be like checking your email when you're out sick - you'd better treat everything as an emergency or you're not a team player.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:07 AM on February 24, 2012

Why did the Hipster burn his mouth?
Okay, I am assuming that there are lots of restaurants that serve perfectly good food and don't require reservations, even in London, right? I mean, the Shanghainese Bao Shop and the Orwell Memorial Canteen or whatever you have over there? Surely not everything takes reservations or has big lines, even though that's the language of the article? At least in Large Midwestern City most of the places with good food are pretty small and average and mid-range; I've found only a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:15 AM on February 24, 2012

What value does humanity bring to galactic civilization?
Definitely very utopian about how science fiction works...I mean, there have been positive "messages" in science fiction since there has been science fiction, and with the possible exception of Red Star (an early novel about a socialist colonization of Mars that was immensely, crazy popular in pre-revolutionary Russia and is in fact the source of the "red star") I am not so sure that the 'messages' get through absent real-world anchors.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:26 AM on February 21, 2012

Hey Boy
Surely everyone has seen loltheorists, which is funnier. Although not as funny as lolthulhu of course (I discovered both of these - and this type of thing generally - at the same time, so they are irretrievably linked in my mind.)

I dunno, I thought that the tumblr was kind of funny - might take a while to hit stride, though. But mostly it's just interesting to see a bunch of photos of Foucault at different points in his career. The "if sexuality is so taboo why... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:34 AM on February 21, 2012

The French breast implant scandal
I don't know if anyone highlighted this but an issue here is the fact that the fucking regulation and inspection of the factory was outsourced to a private company which was seemingly pliant and easy to fool. So it's not just Mr. Genius Inventor Creeper who is the capitalist at fault, it's the lax and/or dishonest private contractor who was supposed to be doing the inspections.

It's funny how people motivated primarily by profit, keeping contracts... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:11 AM on February 19, 2012

Are facts stupid?
“Story-truth,” Tim O’Brien wrote, “is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”

Eh. Let's look at some "story truths that are truer than happening truths". How about the stories about the plantation south with happy slaves? For some folks, those stories are far truer than 'factual truth'. Or stories about savage, crazy natives attacking pure white women? Just because truth and fact are contested doesn't mean that whatever... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on February 16, 2012
I think the key word in O'Brien's quote is sometimes.

But the question is "who gets to decide?" I mean, if we're saying that sometimes made up shit is truer than research, why can't I just say "la la, I bet there were tons of happy child factory workers and it just never got recorded" or "everyone knows it's politically correct to deny that slavery was good for the slaves"? That's what feels true to me... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:42 PM on February 16, 2012

Janet Flanner
Janet Flanner was a really neat woman (although honestly her politics leave a bit to be desired, some irritatingly sniffy anti-radicalism in there). Paris Was Yesterday is a book of her short New Yorker pieces from the twenties through before the war; it's an amazing, sharp little set of snapshots of art, culture and daily life, with various interesting bits along the lines of "and there is this young playwright named Jean Paul Sartre who..." She could be... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:39 PM on February 15, 2012

Confessions of a middle-aged Ecstasy eater
And then the unthinkable happened, or rather, two things happened. I met someone, a woman, and while I in my recalcitrant fashion followed up on that meeting so that she might eventually save me (as she eventually did),

Yes, yes of course you did. Yes, yes of course she did. It's interesting to note that this man seems actually to have brought every cliche of the 'literary' white straight dude novelist alive in his own life. It... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2012
"baring the scar"
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 15, 2012

Nobody is that bad of a person
The US State Department has criticised Honduras for “harsh prison conditions” and violence against detainees.

As Adorno said somewhere, you've got to lol because the other alternative is hysterical weeping.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on February 15, 2012

That just means he likes you!
I was a big gross dork who was a jerk-target, not a crush-target.

Precisely! I remember being so angry that my parents refused to see the lived reality of my life, and also I remember feeling very ashamed because I knew that the boys found me unattractive (because I was a fat little butch nerd) and thus I wasn't living up to my parents' (admittedly screwed-up) view of me as someone who could attract abuse because she was attractive.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2012
The thing is, I feel like we ought to trust girls on this stuff. I was able at a young age to identify friendly-thought-aggressive teasing (which was not what was directed at me) when I saw it. In general, the girls I knew were not angry about friendly-but-aggressive teasing; they were angry about bullying. This idea that girls themselves need to have the sekrit motives of the boys revealed to them because their undeveloped female brains can't work it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2012

The reality is that even though I genuinely do like her as a person, I’ve always thought her opinions and her veganism were ridiculous. I never respected them (which really means I never fully respected her), secretly harboring an opinion of her cognitive abilities that is less than kind. I wasn’t teasing her because I liked her. I was teasing her because I thought it was funny, because I thought her opinions and beliefs had no value beyond a cheap laugh.
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2012

A perfect 10 - but she wears a 12
It's not the sizing, it's the cut. I'm a 2-4 and J Crew clothing makes me look like an infant orangutan. J Crew's clothing is cut for some strange species of human with no noticeable fleshy protuberances on any area of their bodies. Giant playmobil people, maybe.

Weirdly, J Crew's pants are among the only pants anywhere that actually fit me - although sadly they make very few styles in a size 16. They cut for people with very straight bodies, as you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:51 AM on February 15, 2012

I love crows and I look forward all year to their winter flocking behavior. Once I walked through the city's main park just at sunset when thousands and thousands of crows had roosted in the trees, so many that they weighed the trees down. Another time, the Official Local Flock roosted in the trees around and down the street from my house.

I guess I'm not really sure what the problem is. People tolerate nasty, mean geese and their abominable shit and seem to consider... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:49 AM on February 14, 2012

Second Coming
Is this a white nineties revival? It's difficult to say that without it sounding really accusatory, but I'm curious. Like, is it a revival primarily by white people, or maybe a revival primarily of white music, art and fashion from the nineties? I mean, I was a punk rocker of sorts back then, from a very provincial and racist background, so what I knew of cultural production by people of color was, like, almost zero. There was Public Enemy, and that's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2012
(Oh, to clarify - what I meant was not "was there media produced by artists of color during the nineties which one might theoretically revive?" but rather "what is the content of the actually existing nineties revival and how does this relate to race?")
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:13 PM on February 13, 2012
Pretty broad brush you've got there, good luck with fitting the irish-scots diaspora of trainspotting into that.

See, it's really interesting that simply bringing up the question of whiteness is seen as accusatory - IME, that's one of the things that, like, renders it very difficult to ask questions about race and cultural production. . Also, are you really coming back with "but [white ethnic group] isn't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on February 13, 2012

The Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson's Music
I feel like people like Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson get drawn into this abusive celebrity machine at ridiculously young ages, then have all kinds of scurrilous abuse thrown at them about their race, whether it's about "trying to be white" or "not being black enough" or crappy anti-black racism from white people. Like a lot of celebrities, whatever secure, ordinary community they might have had gets ripped away. They're always positioned as abnormal, even if they... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2012

Occupy McGill?
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with some groups being available for opt out by students and others not. I can't opt out of paying the university president's pay cheque, Nothing in any university is really self sustainable.

I don't like opt-outs. I'm a froth-at-the-mouth radical, and I'd rather have some fraction of my fees go to the Right-Wing Anti-Abortion Gay-Haters' Club or whatever than have the sort of stupid, dishonest game-playing that always... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:06 PM on February 10, 2012

Don't Phone Home From America's Prisons
Maybe high prices lead to mobile phones in part, but I think mostly it's got to be driven by the inmates' desire for secrecy. They "randomly" monitor land-line phone calls in and out of prisons.

This is not true at all.

It just so happens that I know someone who is in jail (pending trial due to some really fucked-up criminalization stuff that's basically about "being alive while poor and transgendered", but... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2012
Oh, yeah, the other kicker in this: many of the person I know's friends are themselves pretty vulnerable, since being young, poor trans women of color is really, really hard - employers discriminate on multiple axes, and that means no regular income which means no regular housing...which means no landline. Which means cell phones only and extra charges to talk to the person in prison. Not to mention all the "how can I make rent this month" horrible stuff.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2012
There are prisoners have done bad things to whatever degree. There are also people who should not be there at all. And there are a whole lot of people who screwed up, are paying the price, but are just trying to get through their sentence with a little btg of human dignity and not necessarily contributing to the crime rate on the outside.

I think this is really important, not least because the more you dehumanize and fuck with people who committed... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:29 PM on February 9, 2012

Sonic Life

in honor of his crush on actress Eliza Dushku

Okay, I just have to say this because it's been gnawing at me. While I think I have a healthy non-investment in rock stars' marriages, it is so demoralizing that the way it always works is "famous dude dumps age-appropriate partner to pursue, like, way younger women". More is 53; Dushku is 31. It just makes me really cynical about straight guys and their capacity... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:08 AM on February 8, 2012
It's not even the divorce, because divorces happen. It's the perpetual "women approximately my own age are ugly and boring! I will use my social power to date someone lots younger because I should not be judged by the standards I apply to women my own age! "

Thank god I'm queer.

Seriously, this shit spoils music for me. I can't hear Le Tigre without thinking "band contains bad ideas about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:43 AM on February 8, 2012

Is online dating destroying love?
New miseries, new potentials - that's what I'd expect. The point would be to take as much advantage of the new potentials as possible while minimizing the miseries. In which case, honestly, being aware of the "ooh look new shiny!" tendency of the internet is useful, yes.

Although I was trying to set up an OKCupid profile a while back and I kept bogging down on the questions - I kept thinking, for example, "I am not spiritual and wouldn't date a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:13 AM on February 7, 2012
There is sort of a philosophical problem with online dating, but it's a philosophical problem with How We Live Now, so it doesn't seem like a reason not to use online dating services - anyway, the idea that all problems - and all people - are subject to a bit-by-bit analysis and that you can create a list that accurately represents a person, and that this is the most true source of knowledge about people. Turning people into technology, I suppose, or commodities. That you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2012
Maintaining a devoted customer base over the lifetime of a product is a difficult prospect, something people train all their lives to figure out.

See, this is very interesting - the naturalness with which folks analogize themselves and their relationships to consumer products. I suggest that this is a comparatively new phenomenon, that "the brand is YOU!" is pretty much the result of a dramatically different interpretation of human purpose and subjectivity.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2012
Even Alain Badiou should know better than to believe that a few silly hyperbolic ad slogans can encapsulate a new social reality.

Of course there isn't anything that encapsulates all aspects of human experience, but when you have a new and pervasive way of thinking about what people are and how they experience the world, and what makes for good human relations, that's a big deal. It's not so much "if only I personally can... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:57 AM on February 7, 2012

Memorize a landline number RIGHT NOW
I'm sorry, but I feel like they kind of glossed over the part where he was keeping a pregnant heroin addict locked in his home, resulting in false imprisonment charges to which he ultimately plead guilty.

Look, there are very few perfect victims in jail - by which I mean white, photogenic, well-spoken, middle-class people who obviously did not do the thing they're accused of. This fact is routinely used to cover up abuse of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:38 PM on February 6, 2012
(To clarify - the media is far more interested when white people are abused, not that white people deserve abuse less by virtue of being white)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:39 PM on February 6, 2012

I don't feel any guilt.................. because in this case...
... if science increasingly erodes its last refuges (the beginnings of a deterministic theory of human behaviour might be doing that already) then where do we go for value?

The deterministic theory of human behavior is itself a value. If you spend a lot of time around scientists (which I do, as it happens) you quickly realize that while research is often broadly useful, it certainly isn't a rational enterprise clearing away the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:55 AM on February 6, 2012

Battle hymn of the frog mother
I seem to have been raised by parents who carefully concealed their French nationality to the point of speaking with a Chicago accent.

As much as I disapprove of all this "here's how to be a good parent! No, here! Let's use another nation as a stick to beat US women with!" routine, I am a bit confused by what the article assumes are the norms of US parenting. My family was a bit odd and authoritarian in some ways, but I never felt that our day to day lives... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:28 PM on February 4, 2012

Remember when Jimmy Kimmel challenged parents to give their kid a terrible Christmas present yt and tape it and upload it to YouTube?

There was about 1 pair of kids that I'm pretty sure most people would not mind having as their own kids. But a number of the other kids were just awful: high strung, whiny, humorless, and demanding.

I can't imagine having the time or energy to have children or teach them how to
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:16 PM on February 5, 2012

Switched on..
It's of a piece with that thing where older folks will sometimes drive around playing classical music really, really loudly on their car stereos, thinking that they are just being hiLARiously transgressive.

Not familiar with that particular thing. Maybe they're just upping the volume for deafness on account of being old?

Oh, I have ridden in the car with an older folk doing this - and by older, I mean "older than teens and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:42 AM on February 3, 2012
I was totally taken aback by that. My initial reaction was: "That would never happen in America. Instead, the mayor would say that the homeless people should have known better than to try and sleep outside in this weather instead of going to a shelter. And then the city govt would take stronger measures to make sure that 'improper use' of subway stations didn't increase during the winter months."

Absolutely. Here in liberal Minneapolis/St... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2012

He cried during the last “Lord of the Rings” movie.
Many of these dealbreakers make me think "but that wouldn't bother me if I liked the person enough"...but perhaps that's because I tend to know people fairly well before we actually progress to dating.

Vis-a-vis books: None the less, I wouldn't want to date someone who doesn't read much because a lot of what I talk and think about is stuff I'm reading, and it's not very general things along the lines of "I'm reading a book about abortion politics, let's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:16 PM on February 3, 2012

Neutrality Policy and the Wall of Silence
Speaking from direct, personal experience... Minnesota in the mid-80s to mid-90s was the land of Mondale and Humphrey--with a handful of extremist conservatives. It was a place dominated by lilly white people and snowy landscapes. The population had a penchant for doing good deeds. One of them was attracting people of different cultures who had serious needs. First, the Hmong, then Korean adoptions, then South Asians, then Somalis.

It is indeed very... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:08 AM on February 3, 2012
But it seems like that didnt happen with the Somalis.

I don't feel that this is true at all. I think that some Somali folks have had a hard time being accepted because of anti-black racism and because of bias against Muslims. But I live in a neighborhood with lots of Somali people and there are tons of Somali businesses - some serving mostly Somalis, some more general. There are also a number of Somali hires at my job, and of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2012

there's no time to remove the bones. just eat the whole thing!
I remember reading an article in Gourmet back in the eighties - when I was a mere slip of a girl - in which the writer talked about how he was going on some intentionally super-high-cholesterol kick, eating all these fancy but terrible-for-you foods in large quantities and a short timespan. He said that he'd been to the doctor and had found that he had a really fast metabolism and extremely low cholesterol and specifically dis-recommended his project to most people. I am... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 3, 2012

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