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Goodbye to all That

On the other hand, according to his wife Betty, whose memoir is also quite brilliant, he was a dick to be around. People are complex creatures. Since I never had to live with him, I will appreciate him for what he was: a great man of letters.

I bet he was a dick to be around. His prose style is, quite frankly, kind of dickish - in all his work, not just in Class.

But I've... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:10 AM on May 24, 2012

How to Not Kill a Cyclist
(Okay, while we're talking about velocipedes, here is a bit of a poem, found in full here:

Next comes the Queen, so pretty indeed,
How nicely she sits on the velocipede,
With high heels and buckles she treads with
She's getting quite young is our Queen
That Alderman Salomon out of the lane,
He holds up so stately poor Vickey's train,
Prince of Wales and Prince Tick will
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2012

American "Yaoi"

You may as well ask why is Yuri popular. (Yuri being the lesbian equivilant.) You can talk it up all you want, but frankly, two men means more man-flesh for straight girls to look at.

Point of information - actually, yaoi and slash (and regular ol' gay porn) have always had a significant lesbian fanbase. Joanna Russ writes about this. And not, like, "lesbians until graduation", regular serious ol' lesbians like Russ herself... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:41 AM on May 20, 2012
I wouldn't touch fanfic with a barge-pole otherwise, but my gods.... consenting sex with a woman? The fanficcers were nasty.

Fandom contains multitudes. I mean, I can think of dozens of slash stories which contain het and/or in which the characters are bisexual rather than gay.

The thing is, if you haven't read much fan fiction - especially if you've just popped in to, like, to find a Terrible Example (of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2012
Also, I think embarrassment about fanfic is

1. Shame about amateurism, which is dumb.
2. Shame about sex. As John Barth observes in The Floating Opera (to cite a high-culture misogynist male writer, just so that you know that I am serious and what I say is legitimate, because when women say things about sex they are obviously full of wrong and wishful thinking)....anyway, as Barth observed, sex is pretty ridiculous. It's other things... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on May 20, 2012
But the yaoi coupling is a poor representation of most gay relationships--the pattern is too concrete, the roles are linear and restrictive, while the sex is completely unrealistic. We see it with yuri--the perception of what a lesbian couple is has been unfairly influenced by the genre. Yes, it is simply entertainment, fantasy, ect., yet the real-world implications seem to be that gay and lesbian couples are increasingly stereotyped into the same linear roles by those familiar with... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:09 AM on May 20, 2012
(Also, I have encountered very little fanfiction by men - I'd like to read more and would take recs in pretty much any fandom. I've been told many times that fanfiction is overwhelmingly written by women and most of the writers I read are women, so I'd assumed to to be true...)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:12 AM on May 20, 2012
"This is kind of gross, can we get a 'socially just' reason to dislike it?"

Yes and no. Terrible representations of women by men fill me with rage. (Although I admit that terrible representations of women by men in porn don't bug me as much as, say, mainstream movies.) I hate stupid, patriarchal representations of women and I wish they would stop. Now, part of that is because those representations have a lot of power -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:09 PM on May 20, 2012
There is also just a skewed emphasis in sex scenes on things that parallel romance-genre het sex, like dominant-submissive paradigms and implicit ass hymens (i.e. the whole bleeding the first time trope).

Wow. The world is full of surprises. (Also, squick!!! "Bleeding the first time"?)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:56 PM on May 20, 2012
Snyder, that is the most horrible thing ever, even exceeding my least-favorite nightmare fanfic with the scary bugs which shall go here unnamed because I don't like to think of it.

Although it does seem to me to be about projection - I think some of what is going on with certain kinds of yaoi and slash is straight women who are frustrated with the sexual roles assigned to them, feel that they have no other choices of how to be and who react... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:37 PM on May 20, 2012
Oh, this just gets ickier and ickier! I will never understand how some straight women, who themselves have to contend with so much fetishization and creepiness, can think it's okay to pass it on.

Here are some other thoughts:

1. There's some pre-existing toxic narratives about masculinity here - that men are always sexual, can't control themselves, and that the truth of [queer] male sexuality is the willingness to get it on... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 PM on May 20, 2012
Vis-a-vis the sex/friendship thing: I tend to take a slightly psychoanalytic stance (though neurochemistry is the usual mefi approach) and say that I don't believe that there are sexual and non-sexual relationships, because sex is pervasive in how people experience the world. I think that we often repress, sublimate or deny sexual aspects to our relationships precisely because there are so many dumb ideas about sexuality out there. Conversely, I think there are a lot of "family"... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:36 PM on May 20, 2012
Also, TJ and Amal for the win. Absolutely.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:01 PM on May 20, 2012
But what troubles me about all this slash/yaoi business is that there are actual gay men in the world, and a substantial number of those actual gay men do not care for the depictions of homosexuality in those genres. Analogies may be odious, but I would never accept that white folks get a pass on writing creepy racialized porn in the face of criticism from POC because "it's just hot" or whatever. I also want to watch out for the "but some gay men like it" argument, because... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on May 21, 2012

why teaching equality hurts men

But nobody thinks this, on any side of the discussion, so to speak. So I think her premise is badly flawed and the argument she advances is incoherent as a result.

I guess what I'd say is that many people think that such inequality as there is, is trivial and not really anyone's fault. Witness, everywhere you turn, the privileged totally denying what the marginalized have to say about their daily experience - white... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:48 PM on May 18, 2012

...what the Communists sneeringly referred to as the “Anarchists' Marching Song”
Even less reassuring were tidings that “Solidarity Forever” had been translated into a number of African dialects and used effectively by less tribes beyond the law, together with the made-in-Moscow slogan: “White Men Go Home!”

This takes the gloss off a bit, though. "Lesser tribes without the law" is Kipling-insult. And I'm not entirely sure I'd be telling Africans in the 1950s that "White Men Go Home" is a terrible,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:39 AM on May 18, 2012
Mostly because they turned up in a May Day parade mostly populated by families with small children with their faces covered. I'm not sure if they're trying to look hard, genuinely thought there was a reason to cover their faces, or if they were trying to start something. Surely they weren't worried about the small children starting something. The police definitely weren't worried about it kicking off. They had a token presence for, I assume, intimidation purposes, but they weren't even... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2012
Which May Day parade was this? I didn't see them in this year's HOTB and I marched with them in last year's, and we were actually singing Bella Ciao and doing a little repeating street theater of "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1......Revolution!!!!" [run and jump, crowd cheers] routine. No one had their faces covered.

Also, two miles of running and jumping gave me blisters...but blisters for the revolution!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2012
Immigrant rights protest a few years back (possibly as far back as 2009)

Was that during the Starbucks campaign? I guess I can think of two things:

1. The Starbucks campaign was being super-heavily policed and monitored so people may have felt a bit more face-covery in general and there were other issues.

2. The IWW's composition has changed a LOT in the past three years, since the Jimmy John's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2012

Perhaps that should read "enter the ranks of the unemployed"
First world problems, boo fucking hoo. Growing up in South America, working my way through college, shit jobs like sweeping up mouse shit in the warehouse of an abusive fashion designer, driving a grease truck parked on campus all night long (that scene from Scarface, where Tony is bitching about the onions and his hands - fucker didn't work over a live deep fryer, that fried stench was on me for months), selling beer out of a backpack filled with ice at the NY Central Park summer... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:10 PM on May 17, 2012
(Just a note - I have a friend who has an iPhone because she has no computer and no other way to access the internet, yet is dependent on the internet for a lot of stuff about work and transit. She's really super-duper insanely broke and vulnerable, and that iPhone is a lifeline. It was a damn good thing she bought it a couple of years ago when she briefly had a little money. True, some folks get ten dollars and go out and buy a ten dollar ring, but you can't always judge people's financial... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:17 PM on May 17, 2012
. Simply put: I expect very little from life, and my expectations have been met, and then some.

You know, I once heard a folk musician - back in the early days of the financial crisis - sing a song he'd written himself about how, now that we were all becoming impoverished, we would know virtue, because we'd "grow closer together". Unlike those awful rich people with the healthcare and the cars and so on, whose lives were mere shells. (I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:00 PM on May 17, 2012
Also, as the financial crisis deepens and folks are all "you are so entitled because you don't want to slave over a deep-fryer and sweep mouse shit all day like I did", it's worth remembering that the rich are still getting richer. We are getting poorer precisely so that they can keep getting bonuses and raises and fancy benefits and stock options, so that the market keeps doing well, so that they can keep cheating people out of their houses and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:06 PM on May 17, 2012
And I add that I graduated right into the "downsize this!" nineties, before the boom. Things are way harder now. Those were the days of Temp Slave, but at least there was temp work, usually as much of it as you could do.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:09 PM on May 17, 2012
And I'm doing my part complaining, so what are you bitching at me for? :-)

Perhaps there was some confusion about tone and timing in our comments - your first one really did sound (at least appearing as it did at that point in the conversation) as if you were saying that since you'd done unpleasant jobs and were struggling financially, this guy was a whiner for not wanting to do them (rather than for other reasons, ie the Gordon Gecko thing).... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:19 PM on May 17, 2012
We're living the dream every day compared to our ancestors.

I think it depends on which ancestors. My peasant farmer ancestors tilling the rocky hills of Scane, or my other peasant farmer ancestors trying to avoid getting conscripted into the Prussian imperial project, yeah. But my friend's Dakota ancestors? While my mid-European great-great-great-greats were slogging it out in 1810 or so, my friend's Dakota ancestors were living a pretty sweet life... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:48 PM on May 17, 2012
You think the seventies in Britain were a fun time to be trying to get a job? Go read some history.

If my memory serves me well, you also rioted, organized, had a bunch of strikes and had a goddamn labor government. Plus the dole! Through the eighties you didn't even have to do any meaningful compliance to be on the dole, right? You just got your check. (At least that's the impression I got from novels and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:08 AM on May 18, 2012

UK Police to practice their own form of "phone hacking"
I guess I'd feel more sanguine (well, not that I ever would feel sanguine about this sort of thing) if I didn't know such a broad spectrum of people who have been accused of various protest-related "crimes", mostly after being kettled by police. The list of "crimes" is long, even though as far as I can tell people tend reflexively to assume that crime is "something I would not only disapprove of but could never ever imagine doing". I can't imagine that someone... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:01 PM on May 17, 2012

Beaucoup Boo Krug
Look at the photo shoot!!!! A TON of people are wearing those fakey native headdresses!!! (I mean, in theory those people could all be native folks who decided to wear some kind of regalia to a champagne dinner, but that seems vanishingly unlikely.)

Okay, see, all this fuss about native headdresses and appropriation - I thought it was overblown and that no one actually did that. Partly because here in the Midwest we don't have has many cutting edge hipsters and partly... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:56 AM on May 17, 2012
In the blog post, it says that the costumes were furnished by Krug. I have no idea if that makes it better or worse. But, hey, at least they're not all acting independently.

Yuck. Honestly, I was so floored that I didn't even read the details.

I guess the moral of the story is that racism has institutional support. Which makes sense; aside from a few rando hipsters making their own "headdresses",... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 AM on May 17, 2012
There are lots of companies out there making really quality stuff for people who are really serious about whatever it is. And yet, somehow, I'm pretty much willing to bet your not going to see this brand of crap out of Lie Neilsen Toolworks or Rivendel Bicycle Works any time soon.

I think the issue is that non-jerk places don't have "elite" customers based purely on their social status and ability to buy the fanciest things. If a place makes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:33 AM on May 17, 2012

“It's about as far from the theme as you could possibly get.”
What an awful assignment. Frankly, I find it hard to fault the kid or the author, given the appalling "do little bits of amateur art about a theme in the book" routine.

My dad used to tell me about having professors assign collage-making during the heady days of the late sixties and early seventies and how dismayed he was to have to turn in a collage of magazine fragments "representing", say,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:26 PM on May 16, 2012

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

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

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

As it happens, she and I have had a couple of quasi-arguments about this stuff, precisely because I am college-educated and damn glad that I am not 22 and looking for my first adult... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2012
but if you want to complain about people shutting down the discussion - please don't do this. Don't just tell people they don't even believe in what they are saying. That's really bad form, and a totally unfair and unwarranted way to shut people down.

Actually, I think there is a certain amount of thoughtlessness in how privilege is discussed - but that's not a hipster thing, it's an American anti-intellectualism thing. Lots and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:33 PM on May 15, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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