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It Was A Pleasure To Burn
What isn't getting adequately explained here is that the philosophy of libraries has changed. (Child of librarians, sibling of another one here.) Libraries are more and more about providing internet access and access to DVDs, plus social space to use those things. This bugs me less, actually, than the change in shelving philosophy. When I was a kid, the shelves at the library were full, so you could browse. Then along came the idea that people would get more out of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:23 PM on October 11, 2011
Then along came the idea that people would get more out of choosing from fewer books...

The fuck?

No, really, it's that whole "paradox of choice" thing, plus the idea that since most people don't want to read, for example, Lloyd Alexander's Time Cat, the shelf is better if it holds just the books that most people want to read. Shelf looks neater, it's easier to track the data, people can see the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:28 PM on October 11, 2011
Stacks are nearly always open to the public in the US (not so in Europe and other areas) and thus putting books in stacks would in fact be putting them in front of patrons.

At least around here - and maybe I was confusing - there are the regular shelves that are right out there in the main body of the library and the "stacks" (maybe this is just folks' colloquialism) that are in the basement and/or require special permission to get to, or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 PM on October 11, 2011
Or rather, half full of best sellers
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:37 PM on October 11, 2011

I could not stand it any longer
Eventually, we'll all be required by employers to stand at our desks all day, except if we provide a doctor's note. And the ones with the notes will be culled in the next layoff. (I have a really old hip injury that sometimes kicks up, making standing for long periods painful.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:19 AM on October 11, 2011

Driving a car can be pretty bad for your financial health
In other news, someone applies "common sense" individual solutions to deep structural problems, then is astonished - astonished! - when people don't take their advice!

I say this, by the way, as someone who gave up her car as soon as she passed probation at her current job. You know what? I live in dread of losing my current job and needing to fork over money from savings to get a car to work a shitty job in the suburbs, since most of the jobs for which I am... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:07 AM on October 11, 2011

Man Up!
I found these a bit annoying, actually. Because the subtext I got was "this is satiric because it's funny to think of women wanting to look at pictures of men performing sexual allure!" It's like the critique is supposed to go "men are normal; when men perform erotic poses they look ridiculous; therefore, pin-ups of women are ridiculous and sexist".

Seriously, I'm not even into cis dudes and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:15 AM on October 6, 2011
I think your view of how you think "straight people" see erotic performance is needlessly reductive, especially with regard to this project, and because of that, you're missing the point of these images in what they say about the specific mode of erotic performance, rather than erotic performance as a whole. Give us a little bit of credit, please.

But there are lots of posed/contrived/super-duper performative things - poses no one would... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on October 6, 2011
(Oh, by "straight" I did not mean "all straight people feel this way [because they are WRONG! Or naive! Or it's just a problem with being straight!]....I meant "straightness is constructed in a particular way, just as "the idea of whiteness", which is distinct from "individual white people, is propped up by some harmful ideas about race and about people of color".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on October 6, 2011
(Also, I am horrified that I just wrote a defense of burlesque. Another person ruined by tumblr images.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:38 AM on October 6, 2011

Phil Collins' solo efforts seem to be more commercial and therefore more satisfying in a narrower way, especially No Jacket Required and songs like "In the Air Tonight" and "Against All Odds"
It's interesting to read this in tandem with the post about why US authors don't win Nobels. (Which I thought was a bit specious and kind of implied that neither Toni Morrison nor Doris Lessing deserved the award but instead got special girl treatment.) Bret Easton Ellis always seems very much in that US dude writer vein of "my life as a male white guy with money is not just about me; it's an important statement about everyone. I mean, whatever,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:26 AM on October 5, 2011
The longer the book goes on (pardon me, everyone, if I'm stressing the obvious here), the more Bateman's evil acts become just part of life, part of that world. Which is the actual satirical point of the novel - not the smallish notion that We Are All Shallow Consumerists, nor the common knowledge that Wall Street Sucks, but rather the ongoing (readerly) experience of living with the awful shit that fills Bateman's world.

But you see, this is really... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:18 AM on October 5, 2011
And yet, and yet, and yet - everyone has such faith in themselves as readers. Like we can all read books (and heck, watch movies) about horrible, horrible violence against women (or about how women are horrible chthonic sexual things) and read and watch things that devote loving amounts of time to describing brands and rich-people stuff - and we're so confident that what we take away from those books is critique, and analysis, and a sophisticated understanding of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:38 PM on October 5, 2011

Let's just go back to lionizing DFW, would that make you all happy? We will ignore the end of Infinite Jest where people are ya know, tortured, and maybe ignore the fight at the halfway house where someone gets stabbed in the eye with a high heeled shoe.

I personally don't like Wallace very much - he's extremely sentimental and has all these non-problematized ideas about "sincerity" and culture and community and so on.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2011

The Communards

Ooh, the Communards! I am more of an Associates type myself.

Owing to pre-Internet lack of musical information, I had no independent confirmation that Andy Bell was gay, but my gaydar was absolutely aces when I was trapped alone in the suburbs, and I knew.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:21 AM on October 5, 2011

"They Shall Not Pass - No Pasaran!"
Abandoning the attempt at enlightenment, I walked up to Gardiner's Corner where I saw Fenner Brockway looking very excited. Later I learned he telephoned the Home Secretary to warn him of possible bloodshed, and the Home Secretary contacted the police and they called the Mosley march off and they went back. No way would the Mosleyites have proceeded without their police guard. The CP version has passed into myth, but that was how Fenner Brockway stopped the police marching through the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:33 AM on October 4, 2011

Al Qaeda to Iran: Stop Spreading Conspiracy Theories about 9/11
Guess they hate our country, but love our desktop publishing software.

I often hate our country, but my love for Indesign burns brightly.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on September 28, 2011

The Growing American Fertility Divide
We have this myth that if poor people just stopped having babies, they'd stop being poor and become successful white collar middle-class workers. Many of the poor themselves don't really buy into this idea, perhaps because they have a slightly better grasp of the obstacles arrayed against them.

Also, um, everybody can't be rich - everybody can't even be middle class. Poor folks could all abstain from having kids and bootstrap their... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2011
Everyone can, and should, be middle-class. An economy, even a capitalist one, is not a zero-sum game. The problem is woefully inadequate labor organization and income distribution, which can be fixed with stronger unions and stricter taxation - so yes, the solution is always more education.

No, people can be less immiserated - ie, you can have healthcare and a television and retirement while still working at the gas station if... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:52 AM on September 27, 2011

Quis custodiet ipsos custOWWW DON'T TAZE ME BRO
It is so weird that this story has traction. I'm glad, of course, but I've been in a ridiculous number of situations where peaceful protesters were beaten and pepper-sprayed and so on with absolutely no repercussions to the police and sometimes with substantial attempts at legal penalties for the protesters. I don't even consider pepper spray that bad, because it's so bog-standard. Of course, people should consider it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:29 AM on September 27, 2011
(I mean, I've been pepper-sprayed several times...I've also seen a cop walk straight up to a legal observer who was standing on the sidewalk and wearing one of those naff legal observer hats and then pepper spray him straight in the eyes. Although frankly this is low on my list of "police malfeasance that I have personally witnessed from start to finish".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:30 AM on September 27, 2011
And police are "that bad" - it's absolutely standard on metafilter to remind each other that HR, for example, is never on your side unless you're senior management, it's there to protect the company. If you're important and powerful, you'll see the smiley side of HR; if you're white and middle class and above all not making any kind of trouble, you'll see the smiley side of the police, who are there to protect the state.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2011
(And after this I will knock it off - the problem with the police is structural, not individual. Even a "good cop" is under tremendous pressure to act like the "bad cops", and the problems with police immunity are a tremendous incentive to bad behavior. Just here in Minneapolis, it's been a godawful struggle to get and keep even the weakest, feeblest civilian review board - the city and the police union are all against it, and that's a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 AM on September 27, 2011

The cost of healthy food
Several narrative issues that I often see in this conversation:

1. The desire to narrate a linear past - ie, "the working poor have always eaten well until [THING] went wrong", whether [THING] is positioned as large corporations or moral collapse. Poor folks' diets have varied tremendously across region and history - prior to the Enclosure Acts, for example, but after the Middle Ages, the English working poor ate pretty well. After the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:36 AM on September 23, 2011
In many poor areas supermarkets do have vegetables but the displays are truly disgusting. Stale, wilted, rotten vegetables and fruits, sometimes flies are hovering above them, often you can find mold on strawberries or blueberries. The really cool thing about WF and TJs is that they keep an eye on things like that.

I just wanted to add that this weekend I - "shabby genteel" is how I'd describe my class position - went to the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:04 AM on September 26, 2011

"this man has paid enough"
I wonder what happened to James Hickman afterward - a casual google does not show anything.

I also wonder if this case could have been won if Coleman was white - I bet not.

Also, the SWP drum-beating in the linked article is a little frustrating.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2011

"Okay smarty, you've had your party but never again.""
Not 30 years...He published We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy in 1993.

I think the logic was that Jack and Guy is a reworking of previously-existing rhymes, not an original text - although it's so strange and such a complete narrative that I think it's a silly distinction.

I love We Are All In The Dumps With Jack and Guy. It's easily my favorite of his books and in a weird way one of my favorite... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:11 PM on September 20, 2011

Butch Sightings
Well hey, I'll weigh in on this as guess sometimes I describe myself as butch, sometimes as genderqueer. Back before I got it all sorted out, I used to refer to myself as a butch straight woman. Funnily, in my twenties when I was seeing men, I looked far more classically butch than I do now - combed my hair back, for example. But yeah, I've got that whole fifties-glasses, short back and sides, tucked-in-shirt thing going on.

1. It would be weird if... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:46 AM on September 16, 2011
This is more about labeling others' sexuality than appreciating their fashion sense without assuming their sexuality.

Maybe the blog could be fine-tuned a bit either in terms of how photos are taken or how they're labeled - I mean, if you're out at a heavily queer event, it's not going to be awful to ask someone if they identify as butch (or at least I think it wouldn't) while it might seem weird on the street at random. Or perhaps frame it as... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:02 AM on September 16, 2011
what a strange sort of sexism. and visual stereotyping. and profiling, maybe?

Okay, let's lay this out: this is a queer thing (, early nineties reference: "and you wouldn't understand")

There's a whole complicated long tradition about being butch/masculine/a bulldagger/aggro/etc within queer women's communities. It isn't something that was put on us by straight people - insults, yes; turning it into a slur,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:07 AM on September 16, 2011
provide upon request

Consider this a request! I mean, I look at some of the fuckyeahTHING tumblrs (although I am so over the "fuck yeah" formulation. Can we just go back to "hellaTHING" instead?) but it's not as though one sees all of them.


I am fond of the nod. Getting all this coming-out business sorted still feels recent enough to me that being recognized, being seen is still a thrill.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:48 AM on September 16, 2011
I bet you could do some really interesting survey stuff about responses to this blog with questions about where the viewers live, what their community is like, how old they are, where they grew up, probably how much attention they pay to fashion, what their politics are around the terms objectification and consent....

Reading everyone's responses, it seems so clear that my feelings about the blog are strongly modulated by living in a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on September 16, 2011
It seems similar to many straight men's assumption that women are open and available to be engaged on a very personal level, a way they would never engage another man

Interactions among queer folks aren't simply the queer version of interactions among straight folks. Obviously, some queer folks are going to find this blogger a bit intrusive, but for those of us who don't, my thoughts are:

1. Blogger's approach is probably a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:42 PM on September 16, 2011

Neuroscience: removing free will since 6th century BC
So my question about free will - absent the concept of free will, do we have any traction for social justice? Politicians act like greedy assholes, but not because they "choose" to do so, for example, and we can't even "choose" whether to respond to this. What does the absence of free will mean for consciousness? If I work in a sweatshop and get a horrible lung disease, is my suffering an illusion? Is consciousness itself an artifact, and if it is,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:28 AM on September 15, 2011
(On the free will/individuality front - it seems to me that there's a big difference between saying "the decisions I make are contoured by my upbringing, my experiences, my class background, my physical health, etc" and saying "I don't actually consciously make decisions at all, even to choose between a small and limited set of options". In one instance, I might say that kids who grow up assuming that they're bad at math probably won't choose to do math-related stuff in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 AM on September 15, 2011
I'm coming right back to a kind of Pascal's wager here:

If I can't consciously make any decisions (to join the union, to help the guy who fell of his bike), then...whether I worry about free will or not is absolutely outside of my control and whatever happens - whether I'm happy or miserable, whether I die at forty because I have no health insurance or live to ninety-five - all those things are just what was going to happen anyway, even my worry about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 AM on September 15, 2011
(I mean, when we talk about how we still "hold people accountable" for decisions that they make absent free will - well, we're in that system too. The decision to "hold someone accountable" is just as much an illusion as their "decision" to take the action for which they're held accountable.

I just don't see how you have any kind of consciousness - as opposed to the illusion of consciousness - if there isn't some kind... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on September 15, 2011

Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be
Once again it is so weird to me that we've got two things at the same time: many, many black women saying that they do not feel represented in popular culture, that they would like to be represented as frequently/normally as white folks are, and that this lack of representation is a buzzkill and a lot of white (I can only assume) folks flipping out and basically saying "you don't feel what you say you feel, your feelings are invalid, your desire for... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:20 PM on September 14, 2011
Surely those of us who awkward black girls could remember back to times when we felt represented, known, recognized - and how that felt.

And those of us who are often represented might try to imagine how the world would look if our only literary heroes were Jane Austen characters and chick lit, for example, and if we were children trying to find ways to understand our experience pretty much without stories of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:08 PM on September 14, 2011

That’s when I lost my country
Ugh. Did you notice how he leads with a bunch of random slut-shaming about Princess Diana (yes, the whole "oh it's so tragic" thing was stupid; no, it isn't okay to be all "and she was a slut") and then goes all "and crying is for girls" and then goes all "I only regret the dead when they are high quality warriors!" I had kind of thought that this would be, you know, actual war nerderie about the fine points of this... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:27 AM on September 14, 2011

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free: On Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes And The Help"
Aragorn was black. Tolkien just forgot to mention it.

You know, I wish this were true.

Everyone has read The Last Ringbearer, right?

(My thought is that, honestly, if you are a straight white dude or you're a happily-accepted member of straight white dude circles, your experience reading high fantasy is likely to be very, very different from that of someone who is....not a straight... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on September 13, 2011
This whole business of "but everyone was racist in the past, why are you picking on [PERSON]"...well, actually, not everyone was racist in the past. There were, um, people of color who were anti-racist in the past, for one thing. And there were perfectly good anti-racist white people in the past - maybe not flawless ones, maybe ones who fucked up a lot, but people who didn't buy into Tolkien-like narratives about the West. Just because Tolkien... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:54 PM on September 13, 2011

"This country is at a critical crossroads"
Isn't it interesting that in these same battleground states, the GOP has been making it harder and harder to register, you know, black voters - to the point where some voter registration groups have given up.

Believe me, I'd flee this stupid, selfish, proudly ignorant, self-righteous country if I could possibly get citizenship anywhere else given my qualifications and lack of wealth. Rural Canada would be okay at this point.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on September 13, 2011

Kicking Ass for the Working Class?
And also, I have ZERO understanding of US (or really, ANY, but US seems the most pertinent here) union/labour laws... If a company finds that a union is completely unwilling/unable to meet their demands, is the company required by law to keep negotiating with the union? Is it illegal for them to just dump the union entirely and bring in a bunch non-union workers?

We dumped my union here at Large Entity because Large Entity absolutely required that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on September 8, 2011
Also, longshoremen are, like, the pin-ups of the radical labor movement. What surfers were to Arthur Russell, so longshoremen are to them/us.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:49 PM on September 8, 2011

Keep Your Enemies Closer
(I would be, in general, much happier if the police would bust people for actually breaking the law rather than pre-emptively arresting them or inciting the more isolated and naive among them to commit crimes. Bust me for locking down in the street? Sure, whatever, I am after all locked down in the street. Break into a legally rented office where people are doing perfectly legal media stuff and arrest a bunch of folks? No way.

This is one of the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:08 AM on September 8, 2011

I think you and I would disagree, however, on the legitimacy of protestors shutting down streets in order to interrupt the US democratic process. Bringing riot gear to the party makes the job of the police that much more difficult and, ironically, makes violent conflict more probable.

Many of us feel that the US democratic process is absolutely shot to shit at this point, and that protests within the confines of the "democratic"... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:21 AM on September 8, 2011
(Oh, hey - one thing that entrapping these kids did was substantially discredit the protests. Even on this thread - with people who are fairly well informed, three years later - there's quite a strong subtext of "folks at the protest would have endorsed throwing molotov cocktails because hey, they're defending the kids who were entrapped". This is absolutely not the case. Molotov-cocktail throwing would have been dangerous and a complete disaster for the movement; no one but the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:25 AM on September 8, 2011
(And there's a world of difference between a punch-up and firebombing something. Someone who is willing to block the street - seriously block it, push back against the cops, etc, go to jail if it comes to that, etc - is almost certainly NOT someone who is willing to blow things up and cause fires that might spread.

Amongst the folks I know, it seems perfectly rational to say "we want to inconvenience these awful people as much as possible without doing permanent... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:32 AM on September 8, 2011
(I'm dropping out of this thread to focus on my paid work...just so that you know I'm not dropping out in a fit of pique or something.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:40 AM on September 8, 2011

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