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"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."
I like that all reports on Assange are so 100% sure that this is a CIA fit up that the word rape is never mentioned.

I don't think that's it, precisely. I think it's that several things are true in the US public mind:

1. We don't really want to prosecute rape when it's someone we know and like and we can slut-shame the girl; BUT
2. We can't just come out and say that; PLUS
3. It's really fun to go into… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:33 AM on June 20, 2012

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

I think this is pretty neat. I also liked the close reading of the video in the last link.

It is important to note, just in case anyone who is reading this doesn't spend a bunch of time on theory, that "dadness" has the same relation to "being a guy who has a kid" as "whiteness" has to "being a pink-skinned person of largely European descent".

Although this is not where theory-types would go with the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on June 17, 2012
ooooh, pwnd. Which is appropriate, I guess.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on June 17, 2012

Kid Creole & The Coconuts present: Leprosy Awareness, A PSA
I'm actually really excited to hear the new thing - I like Hercules and Love Affair a lot. I also really like "Annie I'm Not Your Daddy", but it's definitely one of those songs that one simply cannot play at events. "If I was in your blood, child, you wouldn't be so ugly" indeed.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:19 PM on June 15, 2012

The Dream

What power? To decide which laws it will enforce and which it won't? Many liberals, including me, were pretty upset by Bush's signing statements because it was a massive power grab. Actions like this are no less of a power grab. How would you feel is Romney were to deprioritize enforcing labor law violations? Or corporate tax evasion?

But the point is, they're going to. There is absolutely nothing we can do to stop the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:39 AM on June 15, 2012

La République Islaïque de Tunisie
So what I'm seeing in this article is that a lot of the traction that the fundies have here is because the old secular regime was so corrupt and terrible - people who have a lot of emotional energy and a lot of anger about the secular regime are probably getting caught up in active fundie-ness. Extreme times breed extremity - people who would, in times of peace and stability, stay at home grumbling, they get afraid and angry and they go out on the streets and break things.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:24 PM on June 14, 2012

The American Diet in One Chart
Wait, if ice cream's price hasn't changed but the cost of dairy has dropped, hasn't ice cream become more profitable? And I've noticed recently that the high-quality ice cream is now 3.5 servings per container instead of 4 - the containers are smaller but the price is the same. I feel that ice cream consumers are being exploited.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2012
VikingSword's diet and relationship to food would make me want to kill myself

I guess I'd just say that VikingSword, like Athene, is an outlier - though a different kind. I can't imagine starting my day with protein powder and lowfat cheese and finishing it up with raw vegetables and lemon juice - but that's because I like cooking and eating; they're not things I do as fast as possible to get on with my day (assuming that I have spare time, that is).… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:50 PM on June 14, 2012

YES - Fiction please! - NO
You too can have bland middle brow tastes just follow this easy guide!

I think it's not so much about bland middle-brow books per se - nothing wrong with Anna Karenina, for instance, and although I think Villette is more interesting Jane Eyre is quite worthwhile - as a consumerist/middlebrow approach, putting a glib, comic and inaccurate label on a book, choosing difficult books only if they are already-recognized "brand… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:36 AM on June 13, 2012
Also, I suppose they can't recommend anything that has the dreaded sex or the dreaded anti-authoritarianism in it (assuming that they're not clever enough for a sophisticated reading of Bronte, of course) would seem like Consider the Lobster or something would go over big otherwise.

(Was anyone else faintly disturbed by the fact that virtually all the books with African-American protagonists were "big trouble in the inner city" books?… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2012
Oh, geez, when I was that age I also really enjoyed Isabelle Allende's Tales of Eva Luna, Eva Luna and House of the Spirits. Those were great bridges to reading Marquez, whose work I was a little young for as a teen.

And hardboiled detective stories! I loved Red Harvest and Dashiell Hammett in general, as well as Raymond Chandler.

And Robertson Davies! And Murakami… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:05 AM on June 13, 2012
I wonder why the books chosen for teenagers to read in English classes are always so unsuitable. I loved to read, I read a great deal, I read far ahead of grade level and I was a fairly sophisticated and culturally literate reader - and I still disliked or, at best, felt lukewarm about almost everything we read. What's more, I haven't returned to the vast majority of those books with pleasure as an adult. I'd say that I managed to derive some enjoyment from reading them but that was more… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:52 PM on June 13, 2012
Oooh, now is the perfect time to tell my Junior Great Books story! Was anyone else in Junior Great Books? It was a gifted program that met weekly and had its own book every year - it was around during the eighties. I remember nothing of the stories except for in fourth or fifth grade they were all horribly grim stories about children that were supposed to be full of deep metaphorical significance and that were presented without any context...and that scared the hell out of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:20 PM on June 13, 2012
Great Books seems to have changed a little bit since I was in it - the "junior" ones seem to have more age-appropriate stories, it appears to be less aimed at advanced readers, and they have gotten rid of almost all of the trauma stories except "All Summer In A Day", which has been moved to the 6th - 8th grade books instead of the 4th grade book, which seems a bit more appropriate.

(Oh, and The Destructors is by Graham Greene and it's even more… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:21 PM on June 13, 2012

Policing Femininity
Well, it'd be kinda bad if bio women couldn't compete in women's athletics because the field was dominated by transgendered or transitioning men, right?

This would break the system. It would actually be kind of awesome for that reason. Think about the infrastructure that would be required - a group of mostly-straight and actually cis-gendered (because the reason everyone is panicking is not about actual trans guys; it's about people pretending to be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2012
You're going to require transwomen to have extensive, expensive medical procedures done to them before they are eligible to compete as women? I'm pretty sure those are the exact requirements being complained about here.

Oh, far from it! That's precisely why it would break the system. It would be a pretty interesting Olympic strategy if they said "we're totally going to respect self-identification with nothing else to back it up (neither medical… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2012
If you're not comfortable imposing a requirement of having surgical, hormonal, or otherwise medical treatments done ... what stops me?

And what prevents men from putting on dresses, alleging as how they are trans women and going into women's bathrooms and [committing unspecified perversions] and totes getting away with it because of our feeble PC sensibilities? After all, that happens virtually daily.

If I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2012
While that's what she wants to do and arguably something she should be able to do, she is not undergoing, "forced body modification'. She is going through voluntary body modification.

On a related note, there's actually a series of discussions going on (of which I have only read some) about coercion in work. (And I'd argue that being an athlete is work.) Here's one with some links via Crooked Timber. I believe the starting point was "why is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on June 11, 2012
Returning to this at 5am, I have a fresh perspective - and it's sheer amazement that adults in the allegedly free world are discussing forced doping of a woman athlete because she is a good runner. I also wonder whether this would have gotten kicked off at all if the big publicity case were a blond white woman from North America or Western Europe instead of a black woman from Africa.

And then I was thinking of the phenomenon of "trashing".… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:21 AM on June 12, 2012

Welcome to Club Unicorn
Okay, yes, it will suck that this guy will be used as a stick to beat other gay folks with.

But! Isn't it exciting and wonderful to think that sexuality and subjectivity are so complicated and strange? Isn't it great to think that we don't have to live by the same dreary ev-psych heteronormative/homonormative "we all want to fuck Our One True Type of Person and everyone secretly wants either the buxom blond or the football player no matter what they say" line… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:05 PM on June 9, 2012
Also, look, I don't want to judge other people's sexual arrangements from a political tactics point of view - that way lies madness. I don't want to think " I have to disbelieve or condemn this dude because what he says will be used against queer folks if he is not discredited". That's not my politics.

If asshole conservative religious people want to condemn gay folks, they are going to do it by one means or another. And it's on them. It's not on this dude.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:15 PM on June 9, 2012

Watch out, Virgin America, you've got a real charmer on board!
It does lead you to wonder. I live in constant dread of someone thinking that I am hitting on them and then being appalled when I'm really just chatting idly and without intent. In particular, I worry when I talk to people who are younger and/or better looking than I am since they are often so used to getting hit on by creeps. This is one reason I don't talk to strangers very much!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:45 PM on June 8, 2012

You Are Not Special
I too am tired of the perpetual idea that kids these days have it "too easy", are solipsistic, etc.

It's very easy to think - once you have some adult perspective and a little bit of security in life - that kids should have those things too, right now, because it is so obvious, right? It's very easy to forget your own stupidities and struggles, or to justify or minimize them. It's very satisfying to hector the youth… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 AM on June 8, 2012
Do we really prize accolades over achievement? How would one prove this? (it's not enough to say that there are more accolades - not only can all kinds of forces drive this (marketing, fear of lawsuits) but that doesn't prove that accolades are valued over achievement).

What does it mean, anyway, to value achievement? Isn't part of valuing achievement found in achievement's social dimension? I have a relative who is a published… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2012

“Is that a serious question?”
Curiously, I think there are circumstances under which "that's bullying" would have worked for me. One of the ways in which I was bullied was by a kind of concern-trolling, where people would pretend to be friendly to me in ways that were transparent to me and all the other children/teens but that were not obvious to adults. You know, asking "sympathetic" questions that were really mocking in content and understanding, or "inviting" me to things mockingly. The… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:29 AM on June 6, 2012
So we've established that mefites in general are skeptical of at least some types of anti-bullying program. What would work to prevent bullying? (Not "how can an individual child stop bullies in your experience?" as we pretty much know that it's either "not at all" or "by punching them really hard and winning" but rather how can schools stop bullying?)

(I'm in the "the problem is the nature of the institution, half prison and half… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:41 AM on June 6, 2012
In the event that child admitted that he had not
used his/her skill, the teacher said,“How sad that you
let him get away with it.Do you suppose you are going
to continue to let him get by with it or are you going
to use your skill? It’s your choice, but tattling to me is
no longer a choice.”
Mr.Mendez tells us that the amount of tattling and
complaining has been reduced by over 90%. He
… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2012
that would be "too stupid to understand that I could actually die". Ahem.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2012
It might be helpful if schools investigated different kinds of bullying.

Like, some kids get bullied but have a circle of friends. Some kids are absolutely the goat and have no friends - anyone can pick on them (homo sacer, eh?). Sometimes bullying is racialized. Sometimes bullying is about sexual attraction (girls who, for example, have large breasts) and sometimes it's about defining the bad/other female body (girls who are… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:50 AM on June 6, 2012

> girls who are fat or otherwise deemed unfuckable

challenge accepted.

Not "deemed by Frowner", though! I mean, I was a fat CAFAB kid whose body was mocked precisely because it was the Bad Other body - not feminine, not small, not narrow-shouldered, not beautiful-skinned, not even fat and voluptuous. I was totally the female grotesque, and that was back in the eighties when there were fewer fat kids… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on June 6, 2012
No showing off, Ambrosia Voyeur; clearly you know that your profile picture gives half of MeFi a crush on you.

I add, by the way, that there is a world of difference between being a feminine, relatively small fat person with a proportionate waist who has access to a broad range of clothing and being a large, blocky, wide-shouldered genderqueer kid with access to their mom's hand-me-downs from 1982 which didn't even fit. It's great that many young… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:08 PM on June 6, 2012
Adults don't always pull their punches, so why do we expect kids to play nice-nice in every situation? You can still be a kid and have innocent fun while knowing how to deal such epithets as "I don't give a rat's ass what you say, Tom; I'm not a pussy for wanting to play the god damn violin. So shut the fuck up."

I'd like to emphasize that many kids - especially but not exclusively girls - are very strongly told to be "good", to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:25 AM on June 7, 2012

"The stories people tell make and reveal patterns. They unfold and invoke a vision of a world."
Dude, folks, this is a really smart essay. It actually says one totally new-to-me thing and one very useful thing (which I think is sort of relevant since I've been following all this stuff since before Racefail 2008).

She quotes and expands upon the idea that "diversity" is basically the idea that it is useful to white folks to see some POC in their fiction - like, I don't go to Nalo Hopkinson and say that she should… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2012

Digital Divide?
I don't know - I happen to have spent a good deal of time around a group of lower-income kids whose parents have less education. I've watched those kids play computer games and play regular games. I'm familiar enough with the group to say that some of the kids are unusually bright, some average; their parents range from involved to distant. And I do definitely notice that these kids have more trouble doing regular computer stuff (figuring out how to move from screen to screen, figuring out… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2012

The Party’s Over!
That is not how I understand the Tomkins Square riot - Seth Tobocman documented it in various issues of WWIII Illustrated and in War in the Neighborhood, which is unfortunately out of print - basically, in NYC in the eighties there was massive gentrification and displacement, the police were hassling homeless people, there were some punk/homeless radical squatted buildings that got broken up right around then, the park was one of the very… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:42 PM on May 25, 2012

American lights go out
How do they expect people to live if they own a house in those places? What about old people? What about people who can't possibly sell? What will they do?

(Has anyone ever read The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe? There are several spooky passages about abandoned part of Nessus, and this reminds me of that.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:06 PM on May 25, 2012
Yeah, it sucks and it's incredibly unfair and sad. But the city's worse-than-broke. What would you recommend? We'd gladly accept outside money/support, but I highly suspect that's going to happen. Plus the state government is (and has been for quite some time) led by a GOP that's incredibly hostile to Detroit and its interests.

Move the people from the unlighted areas into foreclosed/abandoned houses in the lighted areas? I mean, their property value… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:27 PM on May 25, 2012
Coming from a not-even-that-rural area where there's only street lighting on some parts of the main roads, I am surprised by the gnashing of teeth over this. Ambient all-night-long outdoor lighting kind of seems like an antiquated idea to me, it's sort of like having public fountains all over the place as large cities did before there was plumbing.

But Detroit is a city, and it's a poor, run-down city where there's a lot of attacks on vulnerable people.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:59 PM on May 25, 2012
It will be interesting to see whether the loss of lights does make a difference - what I'm seeing here is that everyone will be fine if they just carry their own flashlights, there will be no effect on crime, etc. If so, it will be a pretty strong argument for getting rid of lights in cities in general - if Detroit doesn't need city lights, then San Francisco double plus doesn't need them.

Although I'm not really a fan of telling people "the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on May 25, 2012

This is the story of Brian Banks
Two things occur to me:

1. Still, false rape accusations are incredibly rare. It's worth saying that, because one documented false accusation is perpetually used to undercut any number of stories of sexual assault.

2. How much of the readiness to prosecute and imprison on dodgy evidence has to do with the fact that the guy is black? And a big strong guy? I once had a student who was a tall, strong African-American kid, and he got regular… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:38 AM on May 25, 2012

Hmmm...Perhaps this is a result of people having become so accustomed to birth control that many of them have never known anyone who had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, let alone deal with one themselves?

Oh, just give us another ten years and the only 'birth control' you'll have access to will be the rhythm method, and women will go back to getting knocked up early and often as god intended.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2012

"Politicians say these things in the morning, and by the afternoon we get bomb threats made to our office." - Nic Schlagman, African Refugee Development Center
In short, it's cheaper to be smuggled to Israel than the process of obtaining amnesty in Europe, North America, South Africa, etc.

On the one hand, I think that racist violence is obviously a problem in Israel - it doesn't matter that refugees should have someone else to go, that doesn't justify mobbing people. *

On the other, yeah, it shows that basically an injustice in one place really is an injustice… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2012
So Sudanese refugees have a better chance for escape and a new life in Israel than anywhere in Africa or Europe. And a small, right-wing, xenophobic minority of Israelis are acting despicably in opposition to that. But the situation is framed in this post as an African Kristallnacht?

You know, one of the things about Israel is that it - like the US - has an explicitly moral narrative about itself (I'd argue that it goes something like this: "As… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on May 24, 2012
(Israel's problems really have nothing to do with it being a Jewish state, or much with anti-semitism: Israel could survive as a state, even a Jewish state in the Middle East, just not as a Jewish supremacy state.

Just in case there's a clarification issue - by "Jewish state" I did not mean "a state where there are many Jews and where Judaism plays a major role in the life of the citizens and some partial role in government", which… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:04 AM on May 24, 2012

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