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Louis CK on Female Culture
When I get up in the morning, for instance, they're already dressed, with their teeth brushed and looking nice. I'm not capable of any of that.

Ladies! We look nice, we smell nice, we thoughtfully remove all that nasty body hair, we take care with our appearance! Ladies are so wonderful! We're constantly "noticing" things about other people, making them feel better, managing their emotions! We're not "little balls... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:34 AM on December 8, 2011

Beers, Jocks, and Queers
"The end of gay culture" - that depends so much on how you think of gay culture.

There's a viewpoint that being gay/lesbian/queer actively creates queer subjectivities - that we aren't just regular folks who happen to sleep with other queers. Sometimes this is "we have critical distance on mainstream culture, plus we have to actually think critically about our gender expression and place in the world, giving rise naturally to a more... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2011
they're just folks who are quite similar to me but who have sex with people of the same sex.

Ok, the sarc answer is "well, that's because you're straight, duh, and the queerer folks are ( the less likely they are to be comfortable/accepted in straight culture, while GLBTQ folks who want to fit in with straight people (or have a lot of internalized homophobia) tend to hang out more in straight spaces". I mean, there are... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:28 AM on December 8, 2011

WM3 four months later
I'm reminded of something that happened when I was in high school - something that seems related to the other discussion about Mumia Abu-Jamal.

There was this bully, see. Eddie H----. In retrospect, he was obviously from a messed-up working class home, but he was absolutely tenacious, nasty and terrifying to me. He had a real gift of torment and he never, ever stopped. I hated him so much that I can still feel a physical surge of rage and helplessness when I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on December 7, 2011

Now what am I going to do with all these signs
That is a super disingenous NY Times article. The Mumia case doesn't make any sense unless you talk about MOVE and Abu-Jamal's previous political work, and about the political climate in Philadelphia prior to the case.

To me, this is pretty much the same as saying that the guy is innocent - cops and courts never back down on these cases or admit wrongdoing, so the fact that they've given up on trying to kill the guy really says... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2011
I think it's worth asking what the "Free Mumia" case says about various activist cultures - it certainly has been a knee-jerk kind of thing and a lot of people's commitment to it is pretty shallow. Here's what springs to mind:

1. Mumia is pretty charismatic, also handsome and a good writer. He's perceptive and smart. It's easy to root for him.

2. Folks have forgotten MOVE, a genuinely weird Africanist... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2011
After familiarizing myself with the case, trail, state appeals, habeas proceedings, etc., is there any real doubt that he killed the guy? I understand the deficiencies in the procedure, counsel, racial elements and death penalty activism, but...people really think he is innocent?

IME a lot of people say "Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent" and mean "he was set up or something else intervened such that he was not morally culpable" - in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2011
(Also I add that there is no "left" take on the case - an anarchist would talk very differently about the case than a democratic socialist than a left-liberal, etc etc, partly because each would have a different theory of the courts and the police....actually, come to that, a labor anarchist would probably have different ideas than a green anarchist, etc etc.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2011
And also, would you say the same of someone who was convicted of raping a child?

If you're going to have courts, the courts themselves have to be above reproach. Otherwise, you might as well say "the police should arrest everyone and keep us all in low-security gulags, because among all citizens are bound to be a number of rapists and pedophiles, so the probity of the police and courts don't matter."
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:10 PM on December 7, 2011
Really not seeing the distinction there. Murder is illegal, regardless of what you've seen, experienced or if you are "messed up."

But even the courts take circumstances into account to a degree, right? I don't really understand this narrowly proceduralist mentality except as a desire to identify with the punishing authority rather than with everyday people. We must punish everyone equally (except we don't punish the rich and powerful very... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:39 PM on December 7, 2011

" I've always been acutely aware of how much society hates me because I'm disabled"
I've been feeling this way for a while now. In some ways "civility" is simply a weapon of the powerful against the powerless.

I would favorite this a hundred times if I could. The many, many things that it is impolite to mention - anything about racial bias, or how poor people actually have to live, or anything that suggests that maybe, just maybe being marginalized in this society isn't simply a character failing along... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on December 6, 2011
Also, after reading that "daring to go out shopping in a wheelchair and being called a 'scrounger' by actual adults" piece, I have to ask UK mefites: what the hell is happening in your country? No, really, you people are worse than us now, which is hard to believe and I completely fail to understand how it happened. Just please understand that what is happening - what has become acceptable in the last 5 years with the surveillance cameras and the ASBO stuff and this 'scrounger'... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:53 PM on December 6, 2011
(Not "you people"...the government, the far right....Not mefites. And believe me, I'm goddamn hypercritical of the US.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:54 PM on December 6, 2011

An Institution in Transition
It seems like what's happening is this (I come from a family containing several generations of librarians, the youngest of whom left library work in despair):

Disaster capitalism, basically. We need - regular people need - more access to computers and a public space to use them in. Marginalized people in particular need these things - homeless people, refugees, youth. All those people need public gathering places protected from the weather, in any case. There aren't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 AM on December 5, 2011

Is it possible to care deeply about and be deeply interested in something without turning into a snobby jerk about it? Like, why go through life thinking scornfully of all those people who don't weightlift seriously? And do you ever stop, that is do you think that your mom would be a better person if she could press 1.2 times her weight with no straps or whatever accoutrement one uses?

As far as how the dude looks, I think extreme... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:26 PM on December 4, 2011
Also, the parallel to the fussy-routines-with-too-much-wacky-theory that he's complaining about is oversimplified-routines-ideologized-as-macho-common-sense. Surprisingly enough, the universe seems no more amenable to single-etiology when it's "common sense" than when it's "this secret supplement will give you eternal youth" or whatever.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:28 PM on December 4, 2011
"I See Weak People"

In my dreams? No. In gyms? Yes. Walking around like regular people. They don't see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don't know they're weak.

Seriously? We're really rising to the defense of someone who sounds like he wants to make the trains run on time? Horror at physical weakness is actually, literally a fascist trope - it's not "snarkiness", it's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 PM on December 4, 2011

Life After Death
When I was growing up in the suburbs, I knew that I was queer and left wing, and back in the day before the internet when you had no connections to anything, ACT-UP and Queer Nation were all the activist stuff you'd ever see in the papers. AIDS novels were the only novels you'd see about queer folks at the library. It's so strange because I was socialized into this activism, this worldview right in the early nineties before the drugs came out, and then everything changed, it's true.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 AM on December 3, 2011

Two, not one, singularities
The thing is, science fiction does predict the future, but always in the things that get overlooked. Like, John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up - the novel is mainly about the experience of pervasive social and sexual corruption and decadence, plus a huge overdetermined environmental/social disaster. But it's not really predictive on that level - writing in the early seventies, Brunner assumes that a loosening of sexual mores, for example,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:44 AM on December 1, 2011

"You will feel like a fool, and that will last for about two weeks."
Honestly, this is the same process you go through in, say, a graduate history program. Your understanding of the Wars of the Roses (say) becomes much more complex than what you thought before. If you're a big dumb-head, you assume that no one else can have a new idea about the Wars of the Roses without having (say) detailed expertise in the household effects of the parties involved, and you talk patronizingly to outsiders and competitively to people around you. If you're reasonably... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:54 PM on November 30, 2011

Everybody Out!
If people "aren't supposed to strike" because it will inconvenience (even seriously inconvenience) others, where does that logic end? If I'm a nurse, should I work for a dollar a day because otherwise I'm leaving my patients?

I think blaming the British unions of the seventies and eighties for the Tories is going it a little - I'm not British, but this particular period in the UK has always fascinated me so I've read a bit about it. The recession of the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:51 AM on November 30, 2011

"I would rather be sitting back home at my desk, believe me. But this is too important."
I have never really understood Habermas, because all the things he wants seem to rely on this "public sphere" of rational, equal, rather cookie-cutter citizens (the kind of citizens who are implicitly figured as white, male, middle-class, etc etc) all of whom have and want access to a certain type of information and all of whom are happy to leave the public sphere and a (certain, undefined) private sphere separate. That is, in some alternate reality where Europe was populated... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:11 PM on November 28, 2011

A descent into madness, of a particularly gruesome kind
Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the popular The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series, is emotionally stunted but, damn it, she actualizes herself! She punishes the people who hurt her, she sleeps with whomever she wishes, she zips around on a motorcycle, and she’s a master computer hacker. In other words, our actualized female heroine might as well be a tiny man.

I always wonder, as a queer person who zips around on their bike, is a bit emotionally... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:10 PM on November 18, 2011
(...and as if our gender performance comes from our over-valuation of the masculine rather than anything else. Like, I am not a persuasive public speaker because I think I'm a dude, all right?)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:12 PM on November 18, 2011
Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the popular The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series, is emotionally stunted but, damn it, she actualizes herself! She punishes the people who hurt her, she sleeps with whomever she wishes, she zips around on a motorcycle, and she’s a master computer hacker. In other words, our actualized female heroine might as well be a tiny man.

There's this really specific self-critique in feminism and queer theory which basically... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2011
Um, femmes can do all of those things too.

And the really good ones can do it without breaking a single nail.

But see, here we get slippage about what it means to be "femme". Which I have no trouble with at all, yeah, but there's this whole discourse about "femme" as opposed to "queer masculinity" or "trans masculinity". I mean, if we want "femme" to mean "anyone who wears... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on November 18, 2011
In short, I think there's this slippage between "femme" and "conventionally coded as feminine" which gets confusing as a basis for a theoretical analysis. Like, I can be an emotionally-present sexually submissive butch person (although actually I'm not), you can be a ninja with stealth glitter skills and no ability to talk about your feelings and then what?

"Femme" and "butch" seem to me -as I think about it at this very moment,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:34 PM on November 18, 2011
Wait, wait. Are people now saying that it's somehow 'un-feminist' to 'act like a man' and transcend gender roles? Really? I thought that was the whole point of feminism. And "Tiny Man" is now a common term? I thought it was a really odd way to describe the heroine.

I am posting too much and I have to leave in a minute.

There are a LOT of feminisms and a lot of feminist concerns and a lot of social circles.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:37 PM on November 18, 2011
(And just before I leave for real, I want to say that Critique-of-Masculinity-Radical-Queer World and Mainstream World are TOTALLY different. Something that I disagree with in Radical Queer World context (like treating "femme" and "butch" as clearly defined categories with no slippage) might be something that would be a useful starter point of inquiry in Mainstream World.

It's like, I have FAR more in common with and care more for someone I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:43 PM on November 18, 2011

"What makes music boring?" An article from the A.V. Club.
I think when people are making firm arguments that something is boring they are usually arguing "the things that I could be interested in about this are not worth being interested in" - ie, I could conceivably read Lucky and get really interested in how the pages are laid out, why the clothes are chosen, precisely what messages about class and aspiration they send, how the magazine is marketed, etc. I could do a detailed comparison with other fashion magazines, or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2011
(That is, a theory and a critical vocabulary are precisely what make a thing interesting - "has a good beat and you can dance to it" is theory and critical vocabulary.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2011

This is The Goldman Sachs Project
When folks are linking the "fascist coup" thing, they are talking about the Greece Goldman Sachs guy's membership in an actual violent fascist student group during the eighties. It's not just hyperbole - he was a physically violent fascist who has now worked his way upstairs to run a country. When the left breaks windows, we're terrorists; when the right physically assaults the vulnerable, they get marked down for future greatness.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2011
a) The fascist in the Greek cabinet is not Papademos, but Voridis. He's a deputy minister, not the prime minister. He's only in the cabinet because all parties were asked to join the government of national unity.
b) Papademos has no connection to Goldman Sachs.
c) Neither does Voridis.

Oooh, you are right. need to disarm the panic system here. Okay, disregard me totally, please I beg.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:15 AM on November 18, 2011
Okay, the issue isn't, per se, the economic advisor-ness of these guys. Because the European economy is coming apart, regular people are being hurt by austerity programs without recourse anyway, Greece and Italy have a long term history of actual literal fascism. There's probably no way to have a good, ie for average people and not for the banks, government short of an actual revolution, which would bring its own troubles.

The thing of these... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:08 PM on November 18, 2011

What the hell, Nature? Of course, the New Scientist is full of bullshit like this only dressed up as actual research, so I suppose at least Nature grasps that this is fundamentally not a real thing.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:30 PM on November 17, 2011

Seven Misunderstandings About Classical Architecture
That was written by Quinlan Terry? Truly, I have grown up believing him a total hack and a lackey of New Labor. And yet it makes so much sense.

But there's a politico-aesthetic concern here - as far as I know - which is unique to the UK: the way in which "classical" architecture and "tradition" have been mustered against working class and social justice movements, and for aristocratic... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2011
(I actually have come to love brutalism. There are a LOT of beautiful brutalist buildings, but they are of course not classical buildings. The thing is, there's a snob/culture tendency to value classical architecture so much that it's the only thing we can see as beautiful - just like Vogue magazine retrains your eye so that you can't see the beauty around you, only high fashion beauty. Owen Hatherley has a lot of interesting stuff to say about modern... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 AM on November 17, 2011
Until about a month ago, I worked in a Gehry building, and man, did I work up a complicated set of feelings.

I suspect that I know this building, based on your location. I've always hated it, actually. It doesn't fit well with anything around it (although there have certainly been a couple of godawful monstrosities put up nearby). But what I really, truly hate about it is how it's unsuited to our climate - watching the wood bits deteriorate really... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:25 AM on November 17, 2011
That, clearly, is very much a minority view and should be of no more interest to those of us who admire those buildings than would be the view of whatever minority dislikes the buildings you, personally, happen to like. No one can make architecture that pleases everyone; Gehry has demonstrably succeeded in creating architecture that pleases most.

Most of whom? On a day to day basis, I rarely meet people who like the local Gehry -... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:37 AM on November 17, 2011
I have been enjoying a blog by an otherwise-unknown-to-me British left-wing architect guy with an unaccountable fondness for the postmodern, Fantastic Journal. Just as with Owen Hatherley's writing, it really helps me see a style in a new way.

I, personally, am far more outraged by a perfectly serviceable but utterly tedious and unadventurous design than I am by even an ugly building that at least represents an effort at achieving some kind of vision. The... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:58 AM on November 17, 2011
And of course you are strongly opposed to all classical architecture unless it appears in Greece, right? Oh, and all that imported Palladian crap in England should be torn down and shipped back to Italy?

No, I'm opposed to dropping a generic "world" piece of architecture into whatever random city can stump up the architect's fees and is under the delusion that they can replicate the Bilbao experience...and thinks that shitty tourist jobs... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:47 PM on November 17, 2011
Well, fine; but that's a completely different argument; it has nothing at all to do with reflecting local vernaculars or what have you.

We may have gotten our arguments crossed - I'm not obsessed by local vernaculars and I would define "takes its surroundings into account" as "things look good together and are appropriate for climate and use" not "things are all similar". The Gehry building does not irritate me because... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 PM on November 17, 2011

Ahmed Salman Rushdie
I've officially become a crank now.

My family and friends have stopped pestering me about having a Facebook page. You know who keeps "inviting" me now? Businesses. I get asked all the time by my dentist, my on-line nursery, my chicken supply guy, my pizza place, etc. Everybody wants me to start an account so that I can befriend them and get coupons! Whooo Hoo. It's not going to happen.

I really think you guys have given
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:53 AM on November 16, 2011
(Also, Rushdie is kind of sexist and creepy, but I truly loved The Satanic Verses and some of his earlier stuff. Celebrity and the fatwa kind of destroyed him as an intellectual, I think - he turned into this wishy-washy neoliberal bore, all you need to do is contrast his first book of essays (awesome!) with his later ones (NYRB-level upper-middle blah).
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:56 AM on November 16, 2011

Teeth, Interrupted
...And it's more horrible than you could possibly imagine. If I hadn't already abandoned all that rationalist/unified-subject/bounded-non-monstrous-subjects stuff, this would do it. Oh god, baby teeth are way more effective than Bakhtin.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:15 AM on November 16, 2011

Why Americans won't do dirty jobs?
Capitalists are such frauds. They appeal to "market logic" when it's for themselves - "oh, we can't offer benefits, we can't afford it!" or whatever - but when people who are not desperate economic refugees refuse to work for minimum wage and no benefits under dire and unsafe conditions, why, it's not any kind of market logic, it's a character flaw among workers. Fuck them sideways.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:40 PM on November 11, 2011

"We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil." ~C.A.R. Hoare, quoted by Donald Knuth
I truly hate that autoloading "infinite scroll" business. I'd be very interested to hear why folks like it, if you do.

I often find myself needing to scroll rapidly through a page to look for something or to get to something that I know is located late in the document, and the infinite scroll/slow-loading thing gets horribly in the way. Or else I want to know something like "is this [THING] too long to have people read for [meeting]" and I can't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:43 AM on November 10, 2011

Bucket list.
It's amusing that folks are all "oh, these old white guys couldn't do anything sinister" when there are plenty of sinister old white guys who do godawful things - Henry Kissinger, for example, was in his sixties when he was jetting around to enable the massacre of several hundred thousand East Timorese. If only age prevented evil!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:26 PM on November 9, 2011

Yes Dad.
(IMO, people get dramatically hostile to this kind of article because they are on some level terrified of being perceived as weak - so they are driven by the need to tear down anything that could taint them. Geek says something that might make him look weak or silly or just plain lets some feelings show on the internet even if they're not correct "mature" feelings? Have to distance yourself from that shit, or someone might... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:02 AM on November 9, 2011

I don't speak Xiang, but I can if you like.
Those seniors look pretty healthy and vital to me. I wonder if they were hand-picked. If not, it says a lot for tofu, rice, hard work, not too much meat, and having something cool to do.

Also, not being despised. You try despising old folks in China the way they get despised and patronized over here and you will not be welcome anyplace.

Also, a cultural note: in my experience of China, there was a lot... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:16 PM on November 8, 2011

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