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Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the literature of Reactionism
I caution here that 1. Moorcock was writing in 1978 (which IIRC was before his big "feminist moment") and was certainly when feminist SF was still a scattered thing and Mieville was writing in 2002, when I'd argue that Mieville's thought on this stuff was not perhaps as formed as it is today. Not that both aren't great writers who have shown a lot of real political solidarity, and not that these aren't good pieces, but they need to be read in context.

For one… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:02 AM on November 18, 2012
(It would have been better grammar to write "book, The Iron Dragon's Daughter, by a kind of....")

Also, I think Moorcock's work is worth a revisit because fantasy and science fiction are having a moment again - certainly there's a huge amount of really retrograde fantasy and science fiction out there. (Wizardry and Wild Romance, which is a lot more of the same plus some potted history of fantasy, was republished a few… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:11 AM on November 18, 2012
The thing is, when I read Mieville's list, the work by women and people of color feels like really glib choices - not that Woman On The Edge of Time and Beloved aren't terrific, but they're sort of strange and facile choices compared to everything else. This leads me to suspect that back in 2002 when Mieville was younger (as were we all!) perhaps he was less familiar with work by women writers and by men and women writers of color and thus knew fewer books… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2012
I read in an interview that he felt revolution changed a society, changed language and changed thought so utterly that you couldn't write it unless you had been through it. And, in books like Iron Council, he wanted to avoid falling into the standard reactionary narrative of the revolution that eats its own children. (I can't find a reference for either of these, so please take with a pinch of salt!)

I read that interview - I think it was the Crooked… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2012

Tensions Rising
One of the reasons that Hamas is popular is that they do things - distribute food, advocate for people, etc. Another is that day to day life for many Palestinians is extremely difficult - not enough food, not enough schools, sharply limited access to they type of medical care that Israelis take for granted, settlers and IDF occasionally firing guns at Palestinian children as they play. Average Palestinians are stuck. They have very,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2012

That makes no sense. If 10 cops arrest and throw a single unarmed psychopath in prison, is that a bad thing? If the majority of the Palestinian population would never accept Israel's existence peacefully -- why should Israel ever relent?

1. On a literal level, yes, what I wrote was over simplifying - we could say "strong groups and institutions against weak in contest over resources" and call it square, perhaps. Although I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2012
So - it's a bit like the "gay panic" defense... Only instead of "teh gays" it's "teh arabs"... Arab Panic? Palestenian Panic? Palesteinophobes (to make a corollary with homophobes)?

I think so, yes. I think it's intellectually dishonest to claim that the Palestinians have anything like the capacity to inflict harm that the Israelis have. That doesn't mean that everything Palestinians do is right, or… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2012
Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?

I'd say it's much more that no one wants to take a compassionate approach, because it would be psychically costly for ordinary people (no more enemy), materially costly for settlers, politically costly for the appalling government (I mean, what's more appalling than using this kind of thing to gain electoral advantage?).… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2012
I think your analysis here is flawed. The 9/11 attackers weren't poor and desperate with nothing else to do. You are glossing the very public sentiment among many Palestinians that the destruction of Israel is the best possible, and maybe only allowable, endpoint. That does not excuse all Israeli actions, but concentrating too much on the wrongs done to Palestinians without considering their stated goals leads to solutions that may not actually be solutions.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2012
I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Oh sure, it's silly. It's not something I seriously believe. It's just a bit of emotional leftover from childhood reading done in a very right-wing Christian milieu. I don't think I conveyed that very well!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2012
I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Also, I apologize if it sounded creepy and fetishizing! Which I could see how it would, sadly.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2012
It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.

I know it's in poor taste to link to Wikipedia, but there have been Jewish people in Palestine for a long time. Relations did not used to be terrible. If my memory of Doris Lessing's memoirs serves me well, even some of the Jewish socialists who emigrated to Palestine in the early 20th century were not… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 PM on November 16, 2012

No rights are absolute and there is no hierarchy of rights.
I don't think it's sexist to want to acknowledge sexuality exists and can present issues when close proximity, intimacy, or touch are part of the work environment. For heterosexual people, which is the larger percent of the population, that involves specific issues that come up when men and women interact. Also, while there is no culture that is effective at stoping sexual assault or boundary violations, I actually think cultures that force accepting intimate interaction from people you… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:47 AM on November 15, 2012
(I add that I live in a milieu where there have been coalitions between non-Muslim GLBT folks and Muslim immigrants' organizations working on voting and immigrants' rights, and if GLBT people, Muslim and non- (and there are Muslim GLBT people, which fact sometimes gets dropped out of discussions like this) want to build good relationships with traditionalist Muslim communities, making a big ol' fuss because you can't get a haircut - especially in a climate of Islamophobia and ZOMG-Sharia-law -… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on November 15, 2012
I mean, I do want to add that there is cultural crap that makes it hard for a woman to get a "man's" haircut, and I hate that cultural crap. (I wish I had a good barbershop nearby - there used to be one run by a really old-school butch dyke, but it closed in the recession.) You don't need to be a conservative Muslim to be a sexist asshole to a woman who wants a butch haircut - there are plenty of barbershops run by men of all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:08 AM on November 15, 2012
Looking at Yelp it doesn't look like there are too many Barbershops in Toronto.

But there are lots of men in Toronto, and unless they're getting their hair cut at home or they all have long, luxuriant nineties-style hair (a fashion that's coming back, men of metafilter!) they're getting their hair cut somewhere.

The real reason to go to a male haircutting-person if you want a man's haircut… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2012

The Corporatization Of Higher Education
University is not meant to be a "life experience", it's an education and research institution. Everything else is superfluous

But the thing is, college is a life experience - it just doesn't need snack bars and so on. I guess if I were marketing this idea, I would emphasize that friendships, mentorships, intellectual discovery, the experience of sports (playing soccer, biking, using a regular old-style… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:03 PM on November 14, 2012

Evicted for smelling bad
(I just want to jump in to say that different people have different senses of smell, which is probably a factor in both this discussion and the case. I have a very weak sense of smell and have no trouble hanging around people who don't bathe or visiting houses where no one cleans (very, very smelly people are sort of "dialed down" for me - someone who might smell unbearable to others may smell only sort of unpleasant to me) but my housemate has a very strong sense… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:39 AM on November 9, 2012

70% of Muslims in America voted for Bush in 2000
Isn't at least some of what happened the consolidation of African Muslim immigrant populations? Perhaps I speak as a Minnesotan high on the thrill of defeating the voter suppression initiative* but I have a tough time assuming that, say, the Somali population here is going to be a Republican group, like, ever. Sure, there's a lot of cultural conservatism - but plenty of Somalis here have seen that (while there are certainly racist gays and lesbians) the white folks who aren't… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:03 AM on November 7, 2012

on Kate Moss, and "taking one for the team"
I find it really hard to imagine working as a photographer and coaxing a crying subject to do something she didn't want to do, especially something as charged as posing without clothes.

Also, back in the nineties most people I knew really loathed Kate Moss. In fact, as recently as a few years ago, everyone loathed Kate Moss. She has unpleasant corporate connections (that skeevy TopShop dude), there's some kind of racism thing I dimly remember, plus… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:40 AM on November 5, 2012
You do this too, you just don't realize it and chalk it up to merely dressing as you like...which everyone believes themselves to be doing. The only difference is who is doing the telling.

Also, there's a world of difference between "everyone 'round here wears flip-flops and cutoffs in the summer so I will feel a bit weird if I wear heels and a dress" (or vice-versa) and a constant barrage of fast-fashion marketing for specific brands and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2012
The thing is, it's creepy and gross exploitation all the way down - from Kate Moss to whatever anonymous model Dov Charney is having it off with this week to the shop girls getting fired if they don't look right to the warehouse workers shipping this stuff to the sweatshops making it. Even couture is not immune, though certainly the houses that do very specialized things (the places that do embroidery and beading for the couture, very high-end shoe makers like Edward Green) seem like they… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on November 5, 2012
This is categorically and demonstrably untrue. She's THE most successful model of all time in terms of improving sales by a factor of like, 100. Hire Kate Moss, sell more stuff, guaranteed.

Certainly, you could write a pretty good book about Kate Moss in the popular imagination.

I think it's that a lot of female celebrities are both widely hated and popular/fascinating to the public, and someone who is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:31 AM on November 5, 2012
Basically, the folks who felt/identified as marginal or non-mainstream seemed those most likely to reflexively sneer at Moss or Spears or (for the more political types) Clinton or other female political figures as complicit or corrupt or soiled somehow. Given that such people are by definition in the minority of the population, it's not hard to reconcile remembering "everyone" as hating Kate Moss with the latter's incredible mainstream appeal and popularity. I remember… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2012

"I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence."
I remember reading We Are All In The Dumps With Jack and Guy and I just knew that Maurice Sendak must be gay - this was in 1993, before the internet was available to me - and that made me so happy. I don't know why I knew that - somewhat because you can read Jack and Guy as a gay couple who adopt a kid, somewhat because the whole absence of heteropatriarchy and the ambivalence/tenderness toward the Poor Little Kid just seem very non-straight to me.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2012

The Plot to Destroy America's Beer
Was in Shanghai a few years back. Being shown around by local officials. We kept going to nice tourist restaurants. I kept nudging my driver, a low level government worker, to take me to a local place with lots of spicy food. Finally, one day, while the rest of the group was being taken to some fancy lunch place, me, our driver and two others went to the local joint. He orders for us and tells the server to make it spicy. Server asks what I want to drink in halting English. I said cold… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:56 AM on November 5, 2012

"What I did not expect was shrugging boredom, the most feared of student reactions."
I did not realize until this moment that Holden was supposed to be a phony. I thought I just found him phony. Admittedly, I think I read the book when I was 15 and haven't looked at it since. I've always had trouble with picking out unreliable narrators - where the author really intends you to think radically differently from them - as opposed to human and fallible narrators who interpret the world.

I enjoyed the experience of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on November 4, 2012
I wonder whether...the problem lies less with the books than the teaching. (Given that everyone in class has the ability to read the books without too much effort). I really like the idea of the 'book circles' mentioned above - kids get some choice of what to read and then work in targeted groups.

Now, I loathed an awful lot of what we read for class (and I think that if we'd revised the 'everything written by Americans from 1910 - 1970' portion of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2012

Growing Up With Nell
So they conducted an experiment and remotely collected data from a population that they had no buy-in with, didn't make any efforts to co-design with, and never collected consent from?

Isn't the language in this article deeply, deeply patronizing? Sort of "talking dog" language? Also, isn't it sort of creepy to drop and leave mysterious boxes with no information? Isn't that white people showboating? Would anyone do that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:21 AM on November 1, 2012

I'm pretty quick to knee-jerk about development projects and privilege and colonialism, but this seems kind of incredible. I'd suggest you separate the article from the project, for one thing - I expect that the implementers of the project know much more about the situation in these villages than this article suggests. For one thing, this article explains:

Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, a technician
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:22 AM on November 1, 2012

"The purpose is not to substantiate but to enchant."
Toward the end of the article, it talks about how "science is in trouble" due to inaccurate and dubious popularizations - studies get blown out of proportion, stupid truisms get passed off as science and as a result, many people don't trust research.

I'd argue that this isn't precisely what happens. What happens is that power, in its various forms, needs to legitimate itself - not in a pure, state-bureau-of-propaganda way, that's been discredited. But systems… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:14 PM on October 31, 2012

12 Amazing Things About Bats
I already live in a bat house. We have had four bat intrusions into the main house during the past few years. I've had rabies prophylaxis twice - as per CDC guidelines since I was asleep in a room containing a bat - and our little cat has had two emergency vet visits for rabies boosters after cleverly catching bats. Of course, this means that I am officially the batproof member of the household and am now in charge of coordinating bat removal. My tip for all who need to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on October 31, 2012
Frowner: Maybe you should consider if you are in fact a kind of bat?

Perhaps some kind of bat-human hybrid? A bat-man, if you will? Or in my case a bat-woman. I wonder if I could turn my strange powers - if any - to the benefit of society?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2012

The horror, the horror
Okay, since this seems like the place for recommending a very, very scary story....."White",, a novella by Tim Lebbon, is probably the scariest thing I've ever read. Although I'd also say that certain parts of The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica are pretty scary too with less of a "terrible things will get you RIGHT NOW" feeling.

Oh, gosh, and "The Specialist's Hat" by Kelly Link. Jesus.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:04 AM on October 26, 2012
As soon as you mentioned this, I immediately thought, "Wait, was the Spell of the Sorceror's Skull also by this guy?" It was, and I remember being very scared by that book back in grade school. THen again, Castlevania 2 scared me about as much back then, too. xD

The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull is still creepy, IMO, but The Curse of the Blue Figurine (which I always read in my head as "The CURSE of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2012

But you're like a brother to me!
Also, should we really be drawing such sweeping conclusions about a bunch of people aged between 18 and 23?

Also, should we really assume that culture and socialization have nothing to do with how people experience their feelings and how they describe them?

And I think there's some lurking moralizing about sex in all these articles, sort of a "see, see, women think they are so pure but really everything is all carnal and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2012
Also, as a woman who has had many, many male friends, I would be absolutely fucking astonished if even a fraction of them had any sexual interest in me whatsoever.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:54 AM on October 25, 2012
As it were.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:55 AM on October 25, 2012
And here is a thing: I would contend as someone socialized female that women are brought up to feel that attraction is a dangerous and charged way to related to the world, and we are brought up to believe that we are not active agents who pick, choose and evaluate partners. Luckily, given enough time most of us figure out that we need to evaluation consciously rather than do the unconscious triage that we tend to do when young.

Men, on the other… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2012

But because girls have only been presented to you as first this "mysterious Other" with these weird, inferior interests (shopping, dresses, dolls, playing house) and then as sexual/love objects once you're a bit older - and not so much as potential friends all this time - you perceive most interactions with women on the basis of their sexual/love possibilities; which ends up as paying too much attention to females you find attractive while mostly ignoring females
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on October 25, 2012
I'm a gay dude, and the best sex I have is with my best friends

One thing I notice: when gay dudes' sexual practices are explained for straight people, not only is it usually in homophobic terms ("gay men! so promiscuous! and they cannot love! plus, it's gross!") but casual sex is always described as not only the real of male sexuality ("all men would totally have sex with strangers all the time if possible")… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:31 PM on October 25, 2012
Thank you, aggrieved international, for recalling that the United States is not the world and that Americans (or shall I, in deference to your sensitivities, use the execrable "USians"?) are not global citizens.

And yet, how strange it is that this type of "science" is almost always used to "prove" things that further advantage the already advantaged and deny the experiences of the vulnerable.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:37 PM on October 25, 2012
Like, I could see conceding that I'd like to have sex with my female friends in the abstract, and sure, it'd be an ego boost to think that they're all one hot second away from jumping my bones

Also, I submit that since the social cost to straight men of having sex is lower (no pregnancy risk, less likely to be physically forced to do something you don't want to do, if she turns into a stalker she is less likely to be violent) and the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:01 PM on October 25, 2012

If the gay scene offers any insight, it's that the two are not mutually exclusive!

And this is where the stuff flex was talking about - the part where straight dudes are raised to think that women are stupid/contemptible/contaminatingly-feminine/boring Others - comes into play.

It would be awesome if more dudes could be able to be both friendly and attracted to women.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:05 PM on October 25, 2012

really? did I accidentally Spoonerize? I do that a lot because I was raised in a profanity/innuendo-free household and a lot of words that are hiLARiously sexual to others aren't to me. Amusingly, some of the French I learned from my mother, for example, was completely innocent in the sixties and is obscene slang now.

Or is it that you assume I'm a dude, so if I say that I'd sleep with my friends that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:13 PM on October 25, 2012
huh? How could that be pointing out a Spoonerism? Or am I thinking of some other use of the term?

Oh, sadly you are right! It wasn't a Spoonerism. Freudian slip, I suppose, both times.

My teacher in freshman HS English was under the impression that all Freudian slips are sexual, on the assumption that Freud is filthy. We had a little disagreement about this that did not end well for me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:19 PM on October 25, 2012
Freud? He's just wrong.

Only brutal honesty will suffice now, I see. So I must sadly admit that I have only read parts of Anti-Oedipus and two of those little Semiotexte Deleuze/Guattari books, and my ability to talk about Deleuze limited! Sharply limited would be the phrase. I mean, you can't be an anarchist without hearing about rhizomes, rhizomes, rhizomes all the time, but that doesn't mean… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:35 PM on October 25, 2012
Freud? He's just wrong.

I mean, I can tell you why Freud is wrong...and yet at the same time (see what I did there?) I became a happier person who was a lot easier to be around after thinking through all that stuff about disavowal. Also the stuff about wishes. Is it because I have been brought into being as a Freudian subject so it "works" on me? Is it because of a strong placebo effect? What is a subject anyway?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on October 25, 2012
This is good, but please don't skimp on the realisation that even though Continental philosophers aren't demanding formal logic that they are demanding a large cultural base of knowledge

That was why I read Freud in the first place! Amazing how much one is helped when reading a book called Anti-Oedipus by having read Freud.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2012

Living in the era of 'friends with benefits' and finding yourself locked into the role of friend without benefits is bound to be even more galling than usual. Anyone who finds it galling way over and beyond the call of friendship gets not a drop of censure from me.

I feel like you must be misunderstanding the whole "friends with benefits" thing. Now, if every friendship normally was sexual, and you alone were left out, that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:14 PM on October 25, 2012

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