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Not quite Mad Max
Another thing that seems to make more and more sense as I get older is that it seems that much if not most of the Cold War was propelled entirely by the US "reactions" to threats that didn't really exist - either through bad intelligence, bad faith actions or outright cowboy jingoism like Reagan's.

"The Cold War wasn't to keep the Soviets in line, it was to keep us in line," as Sarah Schulman wrote in (I think) Rat… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:18 AM on July 17, 2012
Ooooh, that was a Freudian slip! "Naked violence by the rich against the poor", eh comrade?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:19 AM on July 17, 2012

Not like the Queen, but like John Hurt
As I understand it, a lot of the people who get it worst from the Olympics are the very people who are already disenfranchised and who are thus 1. unable to articulate what is likely to go wrong and 2. unlikely to be believed. Ie, homeless and semi-homeless people who get "moved on" by the police both during construction and during the event, poor folks who suddenly have to pay more rent or move farther from their work/spend more time and money on transit, people of color/immigrants… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:14 AM on July 16, 2012
Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London".

Publicans have been advised that blackboards advertising live TV coverage must not refer to beer brands or brewers without an Olympics deal, while caterers and restaurateurs have been told not to
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posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:59 AM on July 16, 2012

Eh, of all the product placement BS that goes on, this seems pretty minor. Most women applying for this job are going to be expecting to be dressed and made up to a standard. Makeup is a normal part of many dress codes, as horrible as that is. If I were a presenter I would be fine wearing makeup provided by a makeup company- saves having to buy and use my own for some one-off job. It's not like anyone watching will know it's MaxFactor from their faces.
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posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:04 PM on July 16, 2012

The death of non-specialist retail or Kozmo 2.0?
So what happened to all the stuff about how shitty it is to work for Amazon? How exploited the workers are and how cruel the management? I've stopped ordering from Amazon - fuck 'em, is what I say. I want more for the future than a polarized world where 50% of us are working in shitty, unairconditioned warehouses shipping goods for the other 50% who can't bear to wait more than twelve hours for their sweatshop-produced shoes or whatever. All this business of "oh, it's… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:28 PM on July 13, 2012

I pointed to the husbands on the side, watching their wives and wincing

I'm pretty sick of articles where women humblebrag that they're so transgressive because although babies grew in their wombs they still think about sex and have social lives and haven't taken up tatting or started wearing SAS shoes or whatever it is they're so afraid of. I mean, do what you need to do to keep on feeling like a desirable person, I guess, but the word "milf" was coined a long time ago, you don't need to prove shit to me.
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posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:37 AM on July 13, 2012
I don't really think that's true, the whole thing with "your momma" jokes is that people get offended when you slag off on their moms.

But people don't make "your mamma" jokes to mammas, they make them as part of a masculinity-challenge - with the insult to the mother primarily a proxy for an insult to the son, and with the suggestion that the family is a kind of property than men have to defend. This isn't the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:55 AM on July 13, 2012
I agree completely with this, but I also think the article plays into the same misogyny that creates this issue in the first place. Insisting on being categorized as a whore rather than a Madonna still validates a worthless dichotomy. The way the article seems to equate a woman's sexual availability with her interestingness to others bothers me, too. Again, I don't think the author created those patterns, but the piece isn't helping anybody rethink them, either.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:58 AM on July 13, 2012

He Said, She Said, Starring Bob Dylan and a $1 Million Guitar.
Oh, the bitterness that my father still feels about Dylan "going electric"! He also refers to Joan Baez as "Joanie Phoney". He was a little bit older than the real hippie generation and a big fan of that whole late fifties/early sixties folk revival. He also has an anecdote about his much-loathed collage dorm-mate who both sold dope to and attempted to introduce my father to the Strawberry Alarm Clock - the selling of dope and the acquaintanceship with some kind of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 AM on July 13, 2012
(I doubt it. Even for real fans of Chumbawumba (that is, people who know them as a band worth their salt regardless of "Tubthumper"), they are still just kind of an 'also' band. Had Fugazi signed to a major you might have something iconic to gripe about in 50 years.

The truth is, I think "Tubthumper" is a pretty good song - it expresses quite a lot of the band's basic beliefs about the potential in regular people, the sort of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:06 AM on July 13, 2012

"This whole situation may well get uglier before it gets better..."
I'm really interested in the structures that support this sort of thing and the structures that could be used to disincentivize it. Mobbing is common in internet communities, regardless of the focus of the community and apparently regardless of the intelligence or political leanings of the community members - in my experience, people with a strong theory of social justice that is carefully articulated within the community mob somewhat less, somewhat less cruelly and for somewhat better reasons… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:03 AM on July 11, 2012

The Ones We've Lost: The Student Loan Debt Suicides
I am grateful that I have work, when many of my friends and family struggle to find it. I am star-crossed and truly blessed. The difference is that most of my family and friends struggling to find work don't have extreme amounts of debt to repay like the people in these articles. Let's talk about the people who commit suicide or struggle with depression because they can't afford to get their mom to a hospital or get food on the table for their kids. Maybe once we address that I can… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:55 AM on July 10, 2012

Dance before the police come
Of course it was counterproductive, but they couldn't help themselves. It took Blair and New Labour to show yuou could be down with the kids and an authoritarian bastard at the same time, which in turn gave us David "quite like the Artic Monkeys" Cameron.

And also Cameron and his attempt to glom onto "The Eton Rifles" because he is apparently too stupid to do a close reading of song lyrics.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:50 PM on July 9, 2012

'Lucky for you, I read this thing so you don’t have to.'
Yes, this whole "oooh, the fanfiction! It is so terrible! Its literary values, they are so low! I am shocked, shocked that women are not demanding higher literary values in their romantic pornography!" routine grows a little tiresome. Of course, you know that women are the keepers of the flame - Virtue, Culture, Literature, all that crap - so if some women, especially non-nubile ones 'cause that's not hot - are getting off to some tacky porn, well, can the decline of the west be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:26 PM on July 6, 2012
But, like, Twilight is full of really fucked-up, abusive relationships. So, fer cryin' out loud, is every Orson Scott Card book, not that those are porn but they are really creepy about sexuality. In fact, I'd infinitely rather someone be a fan of trashy kitsch porn than Orson Scott Card. But there's no handwaving over the total sick grossness that is Speaker for the Dead or Lost Boys or Songmaster.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:40 PM on July 6, 2012

SF writing, like all genre writing, aims first to satisfy the conventions of the genre, second to be actually good writing. One of these conventions is having some interesting ideas. If your story has those, SF fans will excuse your bad writing, your poor dialogue, your wooden characters, your shitty helpings of sophomore philosophical bullshit (or even worse, political philosophy). The genre tends to produce crap at a greater level than regular fiction because the aim is
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posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:32 PM on July 6, 2012

Pull it off suddenly and presto, friend freakouts
I buzzed my hair in college and the person I was dating saw me in profile in a bus window (he was waiting for me), did not recognize me and later said, "I thought you were a Marine". It's true that I was wearing the good old birth control glasses that I always wear, but it's still perhaps the most unlikely appearance-based assumption anyone has ever made about me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:52 AM on July 6, 2012

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and pain relief at the end of life
Such guidelines, allied to improved public knowledge of the issue and the ever-increasing drug and surgical armamentarium available to physicians, has led to effective medical control of pain and other end-of-life symptoms. For the conscious, competent patient, this may well be a boon, because there is less reason for a patient to die with pain he or she wants alleviated. But, more generally, when a suffering-less death becomes the medical summum bonum, morphine and other drugs become… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:53 AM on July 5, 2012
This notion that pain is what makes you a good person and taking pharmaceuticals to alleviate it is somehow cheating, combined with the terror of giving out the good drugs to addicts, makes just going to or being in the hospital with something that hurts terrifying.

Especially when the notion is based on a nineteenth century novel and promulgated by people who do not themselves seem to have any experience with major, chronic pain.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2012
I think what actually bugs me about this essay is how it implies that there is and ought to be some particular kind of consciousness - that there is inherent virtue in reflection. It also implies that if you do it right you get something out of death. Like there's this tidy, correct ending if you can just figure out how to have the kind of consciousness you should have.

When they write: "Drugged,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:59 AM on July 5, 2012

Paths to Graceland
Okay, that is absolutely beautiful. I have some non-simple and non-snark thoughts, though:

So this is a white UK musician re-releasing for free the work of the work of South African musicians who've pretty much sunk into obscurity. This work inspired a white US musician who made a lot of money and cultural capital from it. The US musician, Paul Simon, was widely criticized both for breaking the cultural boycott of apartheid South African and for exploiting the South… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:55 PM on July 4, 2012
I remember hearing that the South African musician's union had a big debate and vote over allowing members to collaborate on the album. They voted yes. If this is true, isn't it just arrogant paternalism for American or Europeans to disregard their decision, and to view the record as some kind of collaboration with apartheid?

The ANC, however, didn't want Simon to record, and shared this sentiment with many other anti-apartheid radicals in SA. I mean,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:15 AM on July 5, 2012

They actually talk - face to face.
I wonder how I would feel if I were a Somali person reading this. Reading it as a white Minnesotan, it seems sort of othering even as it tries to be supportive. And yet I also know that milieu - the outstate cities and towns that have historically been conservative and white (that is, except back in like the 1890s when they were white-immigrant and radical). I wonder if they could have gotten a couple of Somali folks to be 'guest columnists' for this one, though.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:13 AM on July 2, 2012
As I think about this - the one positive to this column really is that there's a lot that just can't be spoken, and resolving problems sometimes happens when you start speaking. We always say that's a Minnesota thing, but I'm not sure.

I think it's probably worse to have a lot of white people whispering about those Somali men hanging out on the sidewalk than it is to start saying "I see this conversation… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:37 AM on July 2, 2012
I can't yet decide whether, if they weren't Muslim, they would be more accepted, in the way that the Hmong were in the 1980s.

Did you feel like Hmong people were more accepted? I didn't move here until 1992 and at that time I did see a lot of racism against Hmong people. (Which kind of persists, although definitely white folks have cathected onto Somali and Mexican people as sources of otherness now.)

I don't think it's mostly… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:37 AM on July 2, 2012
Minnesota has very active ones like Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota. Those agencies agree to help the refugees get settled, to learn English, find housing, get health care, and begin a new life.

See, this is one of the things that I like about Minnesota. There are certainly a lot of white people here who do have that whole savior/helper complex that's very "lookit me I'm a good person" and patronizing,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:41 AM on July 2, 2012
As I read and comment on this thread, I realize how difficult it is to talk about this stuff without being otherizing. Like, I am talking about Somali guys as if they're some strange exotic group instead of, you know, my actual neighbors.

Honestly, it is such a facet of white supremacy that people seriously need to have a whole conversation about, whoa, these people standing around chatting on the sidewalk, as one does. Who here… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:47 PM on July 2, 2012

Addicted to people
Oh god, this essay is so horribly like life. Only guilt prevents me from being by myself all the time as much as work allows.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:09 PM on July 2, 2012
Now I am filled with yearning for aloneness.

The thing is, I like parties just fine. I would say that I have enjoyed almost every party I have gone to. And yet this never makes me want to go to parties.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:10 PM on July 2, 2012

Comics Pride
Oooh, everyone should read the Berlin comics by Jason Lutes. Although since they have been coming out at longer and longer intervals since 1996 I'm not sure they'll ever be finished, which makes me sad. But there are several simply great queer characters and a lot of historically accurate stuff about queer life in Berlin prior to the rise of the Nazis. And the plot arc about Marthe and Anna is very emotionally real, absolutely how people act. Berlin is just about the only comic by a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2012

Anderson Cooper: "The fact is, I'm gay."
That time is here. It's time for homosexuals to stop with the drama of "coming out" and just get on with their business. No one cares, it's not a big deal so stop making a big deal out of it.

There's a lot of hostility in this comment. If you were my friend and I talked about being queer to you - and it has been, and still is, quite a journey for me - and you responded by saying "no one cares, get over it", I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:55 AM on July 2, 2012
I add, too, that there are times when I am physically afraid. When I read about the lesbian couple who were shot out of the blue in Texas, that scares me, for example. When I'm biking around at night and someone yells homophobic insults, that scares me. When I have to deal with a large group of frat boys who might think it was fun to hassle or hurt me because I am not sexually desirable to or interested in them, that scares me. I worry about my friends who are younger and more socially… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2012

CALLING ALL THE BASIC BITCHES...
Kids are a lot smarter and more sophisticated than I was when I was 13. I am torn between being glad I am not a teen growing up into the Great Recession and kind of wishing that I could have grown up with more cultural and intellectual resources and been, thus, smarter.

I mean, leaving aside all the angst over the sexuality angle, that's a fairly astute 13-year-old.

(Also, the only thing that makes sense on the "regulating teen… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:15 PM on July 1, 2012

I just dance how I like to music that makes me feel like dancing. I couldn't care less if I don't know how to do it "correctly". Correct dancing is for ballroom competitions.


That's because you're some kind of hippie. That whole "do your own thing in a healthy, self-actualized way" thing....my crowd isn't ready for that.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:25 PM on July 1, 2012

"I'm an artist and I don't f---ing have to answer for my work."
She also signed a photo for an African-American fan "Black is the new black. Love you [n*****]". She uses that particular epithet in her act despite having been asked to stop by various queer folks of color. She's said some incredibly insulting things using that epithet via twitter and social media to her critics. (I can't link to all this because I'm at work and googling it would be...not so great.) Her fans have also thrown around "shut up you dumb [epithet]" stuff at… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:41 AM on June 29, 2012
@frowner -- the "thing" quote is in the post.

Oooh. My eye totally skipped that paragraph. I hate that paragraph. I think about that appalling person thinging any of my trans friends and my hands itch for a brick. That's language that pulls up nothing but associations with beatings and violence and harassment of trans people. You don't do an "I can't tell what gender this person is so I will call them a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2012

The Bear and the Rainbow
It's a sort of silly question, but would be perfectly reasonably framed as "can we read this as the story of a young queer woman?" Which, yes, we can. That does not preclude reading it as the story of a young straight woman or a young asexual woman or a young trans man or a young genderqueer person. Those are all different readings and you can have a spirited argument about which is the strongest or most satisfactory, but even if the filmmakers came out and said… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:44 PM on June 27, 2012
I read it! But the debate didn't seem to be at the level of "how can we parse the meaning of this article?" so much as "how can we kick around the question that the article kicks around". I found the article kind of lightweight on the lit theory side.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:54 PM on June 27, 2012

Dirtying Up Our Diets
I think it's a pity that the plausible potential finding of "if kids play in the dirt more then fewer kids will have allergies and auto-immune disorders" is inevitably going to be read as "if you have allergies you are either lying or a bad person who did not play outside enough and your parents are bad too". And that therefore there will be a lot of entirely reasonable resistance from allergic and ill folks who are tired of being blamed.

It's also… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:19 AM on June 23, 2012

What's squishy, pureed, and comes in a pouch?
I am a little puzzled by the cultural trend of snacks on demand for kids. Would I have been a happier and more successful child if I had been able to have a handful of trail mix every hour or so, as many of the little kids I know are? I definitely grew up in an "eat at meals and have a small snack after school so you aren't a howling anger-beast by dinner" culture, although we certainly had plenty of issues around food. There was no "how do you pack suitable… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:37 AM on June 22, 2012
Who says these are "on demand"? Kids get hungry between meals. To keep them from freaking out when they get low blood sugar you give them a snack. These pouches offer healtier options than the bags of chips my 1970s parents gave my brother and me.

We didn't get bags of chips in the eighties! (Maybe I just had a weird childhood.) Our food budget was pretty darn tight (hence some of the food issues) but I don't think we would have bought… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:47 AM on June 22, 2012
I do think there's a shift in thinking about behavior from when I grew up - from a character-based model ("don't act cranky just because you're hungry; it is your job to control your affect") to a biological model ("you are cranky because you are hungry; we treat the crankiness with food so that you can behave well"). I think this is related to a larger shift in beliefs about human behavior and medical models and could probably generate a pretty good dissertation.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:50 AM on June 22, 2012
It's my understanding that in developed nations this behavior correlates closely to rates of obesity, type II diabetes and congestive heart disease. So basically you've taken the practice of "spoiling" your kid from the figurative to the literal. Nice going.

Although I was just reading about how pre-agricultural societies tend to browse a lot - the example given was how people might eat simply pounds and pounds of greens every day by picking… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2012

"In general the furnishings are nice; relatively plush and comfortable but the embassy itself is really very small and even the ambassador's office, although pleasant, is not all that roomy."

Wait, are you saying that even if Assange is a rapist, it is immoral to prosecute him because someone might want that prosecution for a different reason? Because I would pretty uncomfortable with a morality that gave political dissidents license to rape.


I'm saying that it is worse for the polity to prosecute crimes in bad faith than to not prosecute, yes. It makes rape prosecutions into a tool of the state instead of a redress for a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on June 20, 2012
Also, I don't think the point of extraditing Assange is to put him in a black site or display his head on a pike; it's just to take him out of circulation as a point of national pride, to inconvenience Wikileaks by putting the charismatic front man away until public attention is turned elsewhere and to keep people from getting the impression that you can reveal imperial secrets and not pay a high price. Petty vengeance would probably happen at the individual level - local people fucking with a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:24 PM on June 20, 2012

I think we're all sort of talking past each other on this point? I mean, I don't think that there's any contradiction at all between a rape victim wanting their rapist to be prosecuted for the rape and not wanting the prosecution to turn into a massive excuse for a political banhammering the likes of which might see the perpetrator's sentence being handed down not for the rape but for pissing off a lot of very important people through doing things unassociated with the rape
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on June 20, 2012
I'd point that you have just argued that being forced to answer police questions is an excessive consequence for being accused of rape.

Nope, it's just that I've seen two activist projects I cared about go pear-shaped because some alpha asshole committed rape and there was no way to handle the sexual assault except a really corrupt court system and the victims didn't want to get involved in that. It's not a Wikileaks-level situation, but I've seen… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:02 PM on June 20, 2012

As someone who's seen the same thing - do you honestly think it's the women being worried about turning their rapists over to a shitty court system, or do you think maybe it's the fact that some of the victims were being socially pressured not to turn people over to said corrupt court systems? Because all I've ever seen was the latter. I haven't seen a situation where someone gets raped, and everyone they know is like, "This is an injustice, you should file charges,
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:06 AM on June 21, 2012

On Bronies and gender
If they can appropriate and internalize this corporate agenda that is not intended for them they can, in turn, reclaim a stolen psychic space.

Okay, hold up. What precisely is the stolen psychic space that is "reclaimed" by internalizing a corporate agenda, whether it's for you or not? Who steals this space? What is supposed to be in this space that it can be filled by a detourned corporate agenda?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:37 AM on June 21, 2012

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