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The Strange Case Of Vahid Brown
I sometimes feel like people don't grasp that anarchism means something, radical politics means something. This Vahid character (and I think I've been hearing bits of this through informal channels for a while) actually did train FBI agents. No matter what his intent was, it's a fairly standard anarchist and all-purpose-radical premise that we don't do the cops' work for them, even if doing so means that we'd get to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:41 PM on November 12, 2013
I add that everyone is totally free to support trying to reform the FBI. That's not where I'd put my precious hours, but whatever, maybe it will pay off, a world revolution will quietly happen and I'll have to recant my anarchism in the face of y'alls overwhelming success. I'm just saying that you and I can't pretend that there isn't a big, important difference in belief between us.

It sucks when you hit this… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on November 12, 2013
You don't do the cops' work for them? Oh, so you don't avail yourself of the resources of the state when it comes to sexual assault? You wouldn't support giving police officers more cultural competency training for dealing with rape victims? Or to pull more directly from my experience, you wouldn't talk to prison guards about safeguarding the civil rights of LGBT people, and training them to know that a transgender person is different from a person who is gay, etc.? Not even if it could… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:33 PM on November 12, 2013
I have worked for 2 separate defense contractors, a fortune 50 energy company, and a Goliath semiconductor company. I've generally found that people who think that I'm a bad person, just for where I used to work, are probably not worth knowing.

Yeah, probably not. I mean, it's disappointing - maybe we share a taste for feminist science fiction or ice skating - but yes, if we have substantially different values, we're probably not going to be best… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2013
I add that I am cool with people not wanting to be my friend because they don't agree with my political choices. Honestly, I'm pretty sure there are people in town who find my politics really compromised and wishy-washy, and I know for a fact that there are people who find my politics on [particular local issue where the question isn't "wishy-washy versus hard core" but rather "specific strategic choices that don't map that way"] to be totally unacceptable,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2013
I'm pretty sure that we wouldn't be friends IRL, and that's fine. when my choice of employer gets in the way of being on the same team regarding a social issue that we both care about. I'm not fine with that.

But it would depend on the social issue and the tactics, right?

For instance, some anarchists with whom I am associated organized people to vote against a voter suppression measure in the last election, despite the fact… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:38 PM on November 12, 2013

I think some of the things you believe are dumb and counterproductive, but I've said nothing about you.

That's slicing and dicing pretty fine, isn't it? I believe things that are dumb and counterproductive but they're just sort of aesthetic, not part of who I am?

As you say, there are lots of varieties of anarchism; very few of them involve doing workshops for… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:52 PM on November 12, 2013
You know what I find irritating about (m)anarchist discussions? What about non-cisgender folks who are hetero? Does that make you not queer? Who gets to decide who's queer and who's not?

Well, except for the fact that I'm not a man, was not assigned male gender at birth, and I'm not cis. I am white, and I am an anarchist.

I think that the term "queer" has a particular political history and serves particular… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:56 PM on November 12, 2013

Meet the Somalis
I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone white?

Do you mean "I wonder why the artist chose to make everyone's skin unshaded"? Maybe because it would print or appear more clearly onscreen. Maybe because the artist's style doesn't ever include shading because that's her aesthetic choice. Maybe because the artist isn't good at shading.

But skin color/race gets indicated in different ways in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:30 AM on November 12, 2013
Alison Bechdel, who I thought did shading, actually doesn't! My memory had tricked me - she actually just draws all her characters with outlines, but her style is so immersive that I had imagined it.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2013

the majority of the themes in this comic are based on real experiences
How are Femen taking away women's agency? They don't have any physical power over them.

I didn't see anywhere in this comic where the writer said "I am drawing an exact equivalency between oppressive state regimes and the actions of specific Western protesters and my whole argument hinges on this." I don't think it's even implied.

If you're involved in feminism, FEMEN is a big deal because they… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:18 AM on November 11, 2013
Wow. I have totally the opposite read. To me, they're turning leering back on itself and using it as a messaging tool. It's kind of like "this is what you want, while pretending you don't, right? So look, but guess what, we're not going to follow the script and play it coy and shy and vulnerable and sexy -- you're going to have to listen as well." The burden of modesty is placed on women and they get the blame for being objectified. I'm pretty impressed with what they're doing,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:19 AM on November 11, 2013
I add that when members of FEMEN are speaking about their personal experience as women oppressed because of how their youth and good looks are treated, that's much more legit - if the way they want to do that is to go topless, sure, fine. But if they're talking about women in general and claiming that their bodies have some foundational relevance - that being naked thin white pretty young women has some universal… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:28 AM on November 11, 2013

Why AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fired An Employee In Front Of 1,000 Coworkers
So many people are so awful, just awful. Seriously, the older I get the more a life of some kind of atheist "religious" contemplation appeals to me, because human beings are just no fucking good. I guess that's the paradox of capitalism - it's such an unattractive, banal system that only the shittiest people like it enough to rise high. I mean, what a clown! And the journalist who wrote this, what a clown! And the whole "oh, now he is feeling the pain of tough decisions"… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:24 AM on November 8, 2013

Before They Pass Away
The logic of this seems really weird, although I think a "please let me photograph you in your [daily dress] [special regalia] because it is beautiful" approach would be okay.

I mean, the Maori aren't "fading away", for one thing. There's lots of Maori and lots of active Maori cultural stuff.

Also, you notice that some of the people further down the page are carrying guns - so I assume that they're trading with other… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:57 PM on November 7, 2013

We are a nation of immigrants and Mr. Prime is one of them.
Miss Botswana, however, gets an honorable mentionfor bringing it classy-style.

It really seems like there's four styles of clothes here - Miss Botswana is wearing a dress that looks nice and that you might conceivably wear offstage, as are several other women; there are dresses that were clearly put together by someone with serious theater costuming skills that read as coherent and well-defined; there are dresses that are basically just… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:20 AM on November 7, 2013

Defeated by Dahlgren.

I've read most of Dhalgren by skipping around. But this summer, a friend and I were totally both planning to read it straight though and we charged along well enough until one day, when we each confessed that we'd stopped at the [really depressing and horrible part in the apartment building with the family and the violence] and just couldn't bring ourselves to go on.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:19 PM on November 5, 2013
The other thing I worry about is that what if, when I'm sitting around in a group with people and basically either having a good time or having my loneliness assuaged at least, they are all quivering in existential agony that they are bravely concealing, and the normal state of humanity is 100% more miserable than I am and I just don't communicate with others well enough to realize it.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:21 PM on November 5, 2013
What does it mean that a book is "difficult" anyway?

Honestly, Dhalgren isn't "difficult" the way my accounting book is difficult - I can sit down and read any section of it easily, get a lot of pleasure from many sequences...if anything, it is so rich a textual experience that I don't gallop through it the way I might something else. It's your classic "single square of Vosges dark chocolate versus Cadbury… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:09 PM on November 5, 2013
After going through the flimsy female 'characters' in Shadow & Claw I'll be damned if I read another 1000 pages for Severian to reach his realisation. Ars longa, vita brevis and all that.

Honestly, I think Wolfe actually is a misogynist who can't write women - the women characters in Book of the New Sun aren't any different from the women characters in some of his other really sexist stories, like "The… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:59 PM on November 6, 2013
The thing is that his baroque use of language also often falls flat for me because many of the weirder words he uses have Greek roots.

Yeah, Wolfe isn't Joyce. I mean, no one is Joyce, but if anyone is, it's Delany.

I don't think that Book of the New Sun is "difficult" in the way that a lot of canonically difficult books are - let's say, books that require unusual mental effort from a fluent and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:51 AM on November 7, 2013

In Flanders Fields
On a far less subtle note, I was revolted to see this picture today, tweeted by the Royal British Legion's official account. It's of four children holding giant plastic poppies three of them wearing t-shirts that read: Future Soldier. Unbelievable.

Back in my young day, a kid wearing a "future soldier" shirt would be doing it as an act of punk rock provocation, with the meaning being "combat fodder for the state". I don't think… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:39 PM on November 6, 2013

Spring Break Forever
The main thing that strikes me about both this review and the work of Harmony Korrine: in many situations, the world you inhabit is the world you choose. Oh, not in the sense that if you're broke and trapped in a shit job that's because you chose it, but in the sense that you always have the option of deciding that the real of the world is, like, neon and Facebook and buying expensive things and coercing people into sex and having a basic 'the nature of the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:38 AM on November 2, 2013

One Strap vs. Two Straps
So here is how I really internalize that I've gotten old: the kids have totally moved away from messenger bags - like, the thing to have was either a vaguely military bag or a bike messenger bag, a real one - and by kids I mean undergrads and mid-twenties - until a couple of years ago, and now it's all backpacks, and backpacks that I find just hideously naff, really ugly sporting jockish stuff with about a million plastic clasps and bits of netting. (The richest kids from out east have… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:00 AM on November 2, 2013

Creating the Innocent Killer
Blergh. The Ender is Hitler thing has always bothered me a bit much. Card fabricates an innocent perpetrator of genocide. That perpetrator then discover that he committed unwitting genocides and spends the rest of his life trying to atone for it.

I have encountered very few critiques of Ender's Game which point out that, like, one of the biggest emotional moments in the book is when Ender takes the alien egg so that he can - against the wishes of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:09 PM on November 1, 2013

We think about the positioning of our legs, the position of our hair...
Honestly, I think dealing with all this is a huge, heartbreaking challenge to women who are attracted to men. Back when I slept with men (I'm attracted to men as well as a range of other genders) it really messed with me. I gave up pursuing men, in fact, because I realized that in order to do so successfully, I had to heavily manage every aspect of my self-presentation in ways that felt incredibly painful and inauthentic. Everything I actually liked about myself, from my comic timing* to my… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:33 AM on October 31, 2013

But that's not confined to women is it? Picture a man in a stained t-shirt with a beer gut, BO and food between his teeth. Now picture him toned and in a nice outfit and smelling of aftershave.

I find it really hilarious (or actually, hilariously distressing) that "I don't want to have to do enormous amounts of body maintenance which have to be attended to throughout the day, and I'd prefer not to have to worry that you'll find me… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:32 PM on October 31, 2013

The Logic of Stupid Poor People
Smartphones, too, are in this category to a certain extent, though the right likes to complain about poor people with smartphones, too. I pay about $80/month for my cell phone and internet access. The easiest way to cut that* is abandon my home internet access and spend $50/month on a smartphone, which would at least enable me to check my email at home (handy for a job search, for example). If I had to cut further, I'd dump the smartphone and lose internet altogether.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:21 AM on October 30, 2013

I lived in Newport, RI, and there is some unimaginable old-money wealth still hanging around town. I mean, set up for generations and generations of multi-millionaires or billionaires wealthy.

Do you know what kind of car they drive?

Subarus. Usually ones 5-7 years old.

Do you know what kind of clothes they wear?

Mail-order L.L. Bean.

But… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on October 30, 2013
I RTFA, and the thing that jumped out at me was the passage where the writer spoke of a woman who was interviewing for a secretarial position at the salon chain she worked for, so she could move up from being a hairdresser. When she left, the recruiter turned to the writer and said, "did you see she was wearing a tank top under her jacket? You're supposed to wear a silk shell underneath that!"

I will never forget a discussion on a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2013
What? No. It means shaving or Nair or maybe waxing but tbh I do not know a single woman who gets her legs waxed.

I don't know anyone socially who gets their legs waxed, but I do know that for me - a person with very dark, fast-growing and sturdy hair (great for the head! inconvenient elsewhere!) - only waxing ever gave me actual smooth skin. Shaving - I was stubbly in an hour or two. Nair - ha, my hair laughs at Nair. Luckily, I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:58 AM on October 30, 2013
My roommates who had very different views on disposable income would "tip" her in groceries because they viewed her probable low wages to mean poor and therefore hungry.

Did you have the kind of relationship with your roommates where you could tell them that cash would be more appreciated? I ask because I could envision, like, 22-year-old me doing something like this, partly because I literally didn't know better and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:23 PM on October 31, 2013

oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh
I had a terrible feeling that this was going to be sad. And it was. We have a jack o'lantern at home still but luckily we carved a picture on it instead of a face, so there is no temptation to personify.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:04 AM on October 31, 2013

So much for my Yelp revenge
Seriously, if someone treated me disrespectfully when I was trying to buy something from them, then I'd certainly consider writing a review explaining what happened.

Me, I'd let it go unless I thought it was motivated by misogyny or homophobia or something more than "this was a weird random bad interaction". There are lots of people who are happy to take my money. I really dislike the idea that we're all reporting on each other now - it… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:05 AM on October 28, 2013
That's obviously an absurd parallel, though, and that fact kind of makes me doubt the one you've made here. If online reviewing has introduced perverse incentives, then the incentives in question are probably more oriented towards gaming reviews rather than forcing employees to be even more chipper than before, a trend that I think is probably mostly independent of the technologies we use to communicate our evaluations of businesses to other people.

I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2013

This was the scariest two-sentence combination I heard as a doorman.
I feel like that was an awful lot of complaining for a cushy job that he was only doing until he finished NYU and went on to something posher.

It was modestly interesting, but I kept expecting that there'd be, like, a downside greater than "I had to work a well-paid blue collar gig as the junior guy during most of my college vacations and while I made a lot of money I had to put up with some unspecified hassle from the senior guys". I felt… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:22 PM on October 25, 2013

I don't begrudge anyone the urge to complain, even at length, about a job that involves finding less-than-fresh corpses. YMMV.

I'm sure it was horrible, and I don't mind people complaining - but he writes as if somehow there were some other option for the world and that it was uniquely unfair that he had to do this well-paid job ($660 after taxes? Seriously, I don't make that much and I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:32 PM on October 25, 2013
Or else some more personal stuff - maybe this was uniquely horrible for him in a way that it wouldn't be for others. Maybe he has some childhood trauma, physical limitation, anxiety or something. But sharing that so that we understand that he's not just complaining about a well compensated college job would give this piece a lot more strength.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:36 PM on October 25, 2013
Actually, I think a problem is that this essay can't decide whether it wants to focus on evoking the texture of his experience or making a big complaint about how awful it was. It sounds like a very strongly felt, eerie and evocative short-term job, especially for a young kid, and I kept getting glimpses of the late night and early morning feeling of the work - and that was good. Maybe it's just that the essay isn't quite controlled enough? Like he's trying to evoke these feelings he had but… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2013

Putrid smells reduce me to a pitiful pile
Bengali in Platforms is just another example of pointing out an ugly emotional reality: the difficult failures of an immigrant's urge to belong. It's just like Henry Miller writing talking about the emotional world of whores while calling them cunts is proof of his empathy for them.

Actually, the reasons why "Bengali in Platforms" is a fucked up song have nothing to do with Morrissey's concerns about an immigrant's urge to belong.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:03 AM on October 18, 2013
You are now, in 2013, talking about a song written in England in the late '80s. Things were different then.

I heard that song within about two years of its release - I remember borrowing the album from someone who'd just gotten it. It struck me, a naive kid who grew up in a racist town, as pretty screwed up and nasty and way out of line with the Smiths' general ethos.

Now, it's true that I was living in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:35 AM on October 25, 2013

They say they thought there were fewer homeless people than before.
Why is is that we spend so much running these shelters instead of smaller amounts of cash to people directly as a housing allowance? I assume there's some administrative cost, so that whereas I might pay Cost for a rental, having the state pay for it would total Cost+X-Administrative-Expense, but surely that isn't three times a normal rent.

I know that when you get housing subsidy on TANF, it is sent directly to the landlord. It's also ludicrously… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on October 22, 2013

"You can't 3-D-print a highway"
It would be Utopia Armed and Utopia-With-Indentured-Servants, that's what it would be. Picture all these guys (and a few women) - they'd import trophy wives and sex workers and butlers and scullery maids, they'd have to have guns at the border to keep out the desperate, they don't want a tax structure so everything would be dependent on the good will/whims of the richest people....I'm just assuming that they could actually run a society on a cash basis, but it would be a hideous nightmare for… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:07 AM on October 22, 2013

Now that's a big family
The thing is, there's almost no way to know - even the kind of limited and imperfect knowledge that a historian might have - about something personal like this. So we're left with the person who is still alive, who is famous, who can be published and linked. That's why it feels unfair. It's not that there are "sides", like one side is right and one side is wrong - it's that if you read this piece, you are immersed in only one person's emotions and viewpoint when… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:32 PM on October 21, 2013

Mary begat Lisa which begat Jennifer which begat Ashley....
You know what really kills me? I, a total snob who (let's face it) prides themselves on their unusual taste and general above-the-herd-ness, am totally taken with all the names that kick in once people of my generation really start having babies. Olivia? A great name! Ava? Also a great name, one I've liked for years! Emma? The name of one of my favorite novels! Sophia? What's not to like about wisdom! I love those names. There may be, like, ten Avas in my friends' kids'… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:39 AM on October 20, 2013

Will It Blend?
Ok, sincere question here. Is homosexual the wrong term to use now? Is queer acceptable? Or does it apply to only one group? Can straight people use the word queer or is that taboo? We are trying to be sensitive at my workplace and need to keep up with the times.

My experience of the terms:

1. "Homosexuality" is used when you need a noun and are talking formally. "Homosexuality is a modern concept which first… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:54 AM on October 18, 2013
That said, Frowner makes it more cut and dried than it is in practice with BDSM/poly stuff, which has a broader (non-theory) queer usage (at least around here) than they're giving credit for, and since I don't really consider myself queer, I don't want to police that usage either.

See, everyone I know who is "queer as in has non-heterosexual relationships at least some of the time" is pretty uncomfortable when people who have only… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on October 18, 2013
The whole choice versus genetics thing seems like such an odd orthogonal question

I don't think it's orthogonal at all - I think that one reason that the language "we" use about gender and sexuality is such a complicated question right now is because there's such a huge range of thinking about the source of gender and sexual identity.

Is being poly hardwired? If it is, should organizing around… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:50 AM on October 18, 2013
This is a great thing to bring up, because before I had met any trans people or done any reading on transness, this was a big stumbling block for me, and I think it is for a lot of people. If I'm a feminist, aren't I meant to be denying that there is any inherent difference between men and women?

My personal headcanon answer to this question (meaning "not one that I Insist Is The Answer") is that the social is real. In 2400 (assuming that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:21 AM on October 18, 2013
I can understand it as interesting as a philosophical question, but since most of the work that I do starts with the assumption that whether choice or genetics (or even nurture/environment), it's a legitimate identity — and that the behaviors have existed prior to our current constructed identities.

See, maybe it's the type of work we do, but I find myself again and again needing to sort out what people are asserting about identity so that I can… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:46 AM on October 18, 2013

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