Activity from Frowner

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Is Culture the Key to College Success?
See, this whole business is the result of a chronic inability to address the truths of capitalism. It's just like how the United States absolutely will not endorse a living wage or meaningful worker protections, so we sneak in social welfare measures as food stamps. Workers don't get a living wage because that would mean that we as a society were limiting or critiquing the free market, but the "free market" would collapse into workers starving unless their food was… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:41 AM on December 26, 2012

It's not a bag, it's a coat
This is actually how it worked in the early days of flight. Then the airlines realized that they'd get more customers if they didn't force people to confront their weight every time they flew.

This is one of those ideas that appeals to a certain horrible "common sense" mentality..but consider this:

1. How would people pre-buy tickets? I can say that I weigh 95 pounds and will be flying with nothing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:02 PM on December 19, 2012

The Brutality of Experience
Although I know absolutely zip about European modernist churches, I do know that if you're passing near Columbus IN it's worthwhile to check out North Christian Church. You might need to take the architecture tour (which is worth it) to get to go in. Call first and make sure the tour you're taking goes inside - different ones have slightly different itineraries.

It's a really beautiful church with an odd sort of full immersion baptismal tub with stairs...but sort of a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:47 AM on December 13, 2012

Epigenetics possibly responsible for homosexuality
I will be interested to see how all this stuff works into the popular culture discourse of "women are naturally sexually fluid and men are naturally not, so basically straight chicks can totally get into making out with each other or having girl-girl-guy threesomes but non-gay-guys would rather gnaw off their own forearms than do anything like that!"

As a queer person with many years' experience reading "what can possibly explain the gays" news… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:07 AM on December 12, 2012

I Remember Cold Steel Bars & an Inch of Hard Rubber Below As A Kid
It strikes me that none of these are as physically challenging as the playgrounds I grew up with - really tall climbing structures, lots of monkey bars, lots of balancing structures, geodesic domes with the top higher than the reach of the tallest adult, swings on which you could swing really high. These all look really nice, but they don't look like they support really active play like the ones I grew up on did. (And I say this as a former sluggish, fat little kid who nonetheless climbed and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:51 AM on December 7, 2012

Not Great Men, Great Gamelan
That is so cool. I wish I could ask them why they decided to pick this song. It sort of reminds me of the Raincoats in that it has a sweet yet eerie quality. I mean, who are these women? What other songs do they play?

In a reverse way, it reminds me of 23 Skiddoo's Urban Gamelan where it's Asian-British guys writing industrial/dance tracks many of which involve gamelan, a really good sort of reverse-colonialist musical approach in both cases.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2012

privilege-checking and call-out culture
I think one thing that tends to happen is that individual corners of the internet tend to develop highly specialized analysis and vocabulary - often very good analysis and vocabulary, I consider that I've learned a lot from the much-demonized 'SJ' side of tumblr - but because of the echo chamber effect of the internet, people tend to forget both how long it took them to evolve their analysis and that they're a fairly small group. It feels like The Absolute… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:44 AM on December 2, 2012

Also regarding Tumblr (and with apologies for multiposting), see these three excellent comments from Frowner.

Thanks, er, oops, er...those comments said pretty much everything I said in the comment I actually made in this thread...except for being a little more negative about tumblr than I am feeling this morning.

It is worth noting that Ira Grey, linked in the OP, actually is pretty much off the internet since he… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:56 AM on December 2, 2012
I mean, at least two of the "bullies" clearly used sexist words themselves. "white fairy vagina" (wtf?) and "transphobic cunt" (really?) That sure as fuck doesn't sound like language of an "ally"... Meh.

I think that commenter with the death threat probably was a troll, but more based on the overall structure of the comment than the specific language. The things you quote are pretty standard… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:02 AM on December 2, 2012
Some people like to engineer psychodramas to reenact certain situations that are important to them. There are parts that have to be cast. The bully who creates your victim status (and who is, if you're choosing the cast, not going to be somebody who would actually pursue and bully you, because that involves far too much risk to yourself). The Wrong person you can angelically educate and save (and who will garner great resentment if they won't conform to that role, even if what you're… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:35 PM on December 2, 2012
In that headspace, maybe we can react with compassion and a sort of emotional "reaching out" rather than with anxiety, fear, or a sense of existential threat when there are dramaz on the internets. I think for a lot of us - at least a lot of people like me! - we've experienced enough actual bullying, violence or other bad stuff that any challenge to our regular behavior (especially stuff we haven't thought about, stuff that is completely unintentional) feels like such a big… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:49 PM on December 2, 2012
There exists an environment in which the concerns of many minorities are constantly misrepresented and said minorities patronised and the rage that comes out of that is, in my opinion, not only understandable but so insignificant I'm automatically disappointed in any cis or white or straight or able-bodied person who expresses frustration and concern with the level of vitriol directed at them for having placed their foot in their mouth.

See, I hear… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:01 PM on December 2, 2012

this is the gayest of all the possible things: going to a meshell ndegeocello concert, with a goddamned lesbian, that is being held in a motherfucking FOLK MUSIC SCHOOL.
“I'm trying to visualize how much hate I would be subjected to if I said anything like this as a straight male...”

You know, it's true that if a straight male friend said something like "how do lesbians know they're on a date or if they're just two hot chicks hanging out", which is probably how the only type of person who would say such a thing would phrase it, I would loose most of my respect for that person, because: 1. men who get all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:27 AM on November 30, 2012
Men who get obsessed with Real Lesbians are grosser.

But IME rarer! And much more likely to keep quiet about it. (Unless you mean "men who stalk women they know who are lesbians" which, yes, is worse - but I feel like it falls under the heading of "men who stalk women they know", and men who do that tend to be creeps to all the women they know.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2012

Point of View, Depth of Focus
SEK is great!

I add that I like his writing style, although de gustibus and so on.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:58 AM on November 29, 2012

A small step for inclusivity
I think the trouble with tumblr is that it combines the worst aspects of the echo chamber and the generic-newspaper-comments-section - everyone can see all the cruel and offensive sludge that everyone else posts while also each developing their own cheering section and vocabulary. It's a platform that has really generated some of the most racist, stalky, misogynist crap I've ever seen while also generating the most classically left wing… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:34 PM on November 19, 2012
Is it just that people have a problem with criticism / analysis from the social justice POV full stop, or... what? Genuine question. I just thought they were interesting reads.

See, this is why I think tumblr is a bad system rather than an aggregate of bad ideologies, and I think it's something that isn't immediately obvious if you don't spend time on tumblr.

For the purposes of this argument, I'm going to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:15 AM on November 20, 2012

Man, it is hard to say this without sounding like I'm crying 'Political correctness gone maaaaaad!!!' But I think that we respond to art most perceptively when we have more than a checklist, and some of this criticism feels like it doesn't have a lot more.

One of the reasons I'm trying to trend away from tumblr is precisely that most activists/radicals/sj types/whatever are smart, subtle and compassionate people in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:50 AM on November 20, 2012
As a general issue, I tend to care more about fiction being good than it being inclusive, and can see over-anxious inclusiveness as something that can mar quality (not that I'm calling QC over-anxious)

I do think that seeing yourself in media is really, really important for marginalized people - if only because that's had a transformative effect for me (via tumblr, honestly).

I think the hardest things to write as a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:12 PM on November 20, 2012
Just so you know, the concept of triggers and being triggered and the like is something that is far beyond tumblr, and for someone who actually has PTSD, comes off as a bit demeaning.

Oh, no - totally the opposite! Actually I was trying to say that people on tumblr talk about being triggered by reading and watching things and that's a real thing, even though in non-tumblr world people often use different language to describe it. ( I feel like I know… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:47 PM on November 20, 2012
It did make me wonder what you'd think of Requires only that You Hate, the most visible and loudest blog criticising nerd culture/literature for its inclusiveness and lack thereof.

I actually adore Requires Only That You Hate. I think it gets a needlessly bad rap (or at least, I only ever seem to hear it held up as a bad example) and I've really enjoyed acrackedmoon's book recommendations when she recs. (She's a really subtle and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:09 PM on November 21, 2012

I think I mentioned we also saw an actual knife fight in this same alley! With big giant meat cleavers!
Is this real? I mean, he didn't make it up? We could have swapped - he could have spent a year at my house in the US and bankrolled me to spend a year in China and we both would have been happier, I guess. Wish I was walking between Nanjing Lu and Hainan Lu.

See now, it's been a while since I've lived in mainland China, but a lot of those things he mentions happened to me too - confusion about shipping stuff home, snot on the floor, various forms of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2012
I mean, I add that there were days when I felt what I even then knew to be irrationally angry - trying to negotiate a complicated bureaucracy when your Mandarin breaks down at "Which one is cheaper? I would like that one please!" and "I am very interested in Chinese literature!" can make you feel just insane with rage. Or trying to get your bike repaired in a remote part of the city when everyone is like "lol, look at the foreigner who can't even… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2012
Seriously, some of this is fascinating, but I get the sense the author is writing like an asshole just to troll the readers.

I'm sure some of it is "trollery" (I don't see how you could have spent a year in China without having at least some 'and then I ate the most delicious food I have ever had in my life and had a really hilarious conversation with the waiter, who suggested that we go to this little park the next day where we saw the best… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:36 AM on November 21, 2012
Fan looks really happy. We grab all the beer available and sit down and then one of our friends basically just reaches into the middle of the table, picks up the cake, and basically just fucking smashes it into Fan’s face in front of all his friends!

How did I miss seeing that paragraph? I think I was skimming a little because there was so much cringe-inducing stuff involved.

I am full of hatred now, except for the part of me that feels kind of like crying.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:15 AM on November 21, 2012
I think it's super interesting that the enlightened souls on metafilter are so quick to call a guy racist that's reporting on his experiences in rural China where he's a *victim* of of four or five westerners in a city of four or five million who is regularly pushed, slapped, cursed, overcharged, and generally mistreated. And when he expresses his befuddlement that people do things like shit in the street and hack live dogs to pieces it's not that he's living in a backwards… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:22 PM on November 21, 2012

social impact bonds
Hasn't some of this happened with the NHS? I thought I'd read an article talking about public/private partnerships with health services in the UK (or maybe it was "internal markets"?) that had raised prices and just generally screwed things up.

See, the commies talk about the "falling rate of profit", how there's less profits to go around so the rich have to keep screwing more and more out of the poor to live the lifestyles to which they've become… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:36 PM on November 20, 2012

Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy, the literature of Reactionism
I caution here that 1. Moorcock was writing in 1978 (which IIRC was before his big "feminist moment") and was certainly when feminist SF was still a scattered thing and Mieville was writing in 2002, when I'd argue that Mieville's thought on this stuff was not perhaps as formed as it is today. Not that both aren't great writers who have shown a lot of real political solidarity, and not that these aren't good pieces, but they need to be read in context.

For one… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:02 AM on November 18, 2012
(It would have been better grammar to write "book, The Iron Dragon's Daughter, by a kind of....")

Also, I think Moorcock's work is worth a revisit because fantasy and science fiction are having a moment again - certainly there's a huge amount of really retrograde fantasy and science fiction out there. (Wizardry and Wild Romance, which is a lot more of the same plus some potted history of fantasy, was republished a few… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:11 AM on November 18, 2012
The thing is, when I read Mieville's list, the work by women and people of color feels like really glib choices - not that Woman On The Edge of Time and Beloved aren't terrific, but they're sort of strange and facile choices compared to everything else. This leads me to suspect that back in 2002 when Mieville was younger (as were we all!) perhaps he was less familiar with work by women writers and by men and women writers of color and thus knew fewer books… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2012
I read in an interview that he felt revolution changed a society, changed language and changed thought so utterly that you couldn't write it unless you had been through it. And, in books like Iron Council, he wanted to avoid falling into the standard reactionary narrative of the revolution that eats its own children. (I can't find a reference for either of these, so please take with a pinch of salt!)

I read that interview - I think it was the Crooked… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:12 PM on November 18, 2012

Mieville himself notes this isn't a "best of" list. Which Gentle do you think better belongs on a list of SF which socialists should read? I think Ash is clearly a much better book but it doesn't seem like it would fit this list better than R&G.

I just don't think that it's really in a league, intellectually or thematically, with most of the rest of the work by male writers on the list - and I suspect that this is because… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:07 PM on November 18, 2012
(I want to add that I think Mieville is the tops, own most of his books and regularly quote the "every branny breakfast item in a New York Starbucks is a fucking Blood Muffin" line from his blog. Also, The Scar is one of the finest fantasy novels anywhere.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:16 PM on November 18, 2012

I do like his list in the OP, but I've only ever read one Mieville book, Perdido Street Station. And by about halfway I was sick of his bullshit.

Why? I've only read PSS once - it is a bit different from his later novels, more "a bit of everything" (although I think there's some formal reasons for that) and I kind of wish the part with the bird creature had been handled differently - it felt rather sanctimonious instead of estranging to me.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:47 PM on November 18, 2012
I think trying to put a really perfect, symmetrical symbolic reading onto most books is a mistake. Obviously, the orcs are in some ways the proletariat of the dark satanic mills and the trolls are coarse and uncultured lower-class ruffians. That doesn't mean that they aren't anything else, nor does it mean that you can't put a sort of 19th-century-class-nostalgia reading onto the Shire. If Tolkien had wanted to write nothing more than "how I think social classes should… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:22 AM on November 20, 2012

High school ends at 9:30pm
Recently I read a comment by a Korean-American girl (on a tumblr, no idea where it was from) talking about how she felt that the trauma of the war was still present in S. Korea, and the trauma of the sundering of the country, and that these things were often ignored when people talked about how "sick" and competitive Korean culture is. I don't have any more thoughts on that at all, but it was a new and plausible perspective to me.

Sometimes I also think that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:19 AM on November 19, 2012
Can you explain what you recall about this perspective? I'm not seeing the connection between the war and Korean ideas about beauty and "success" as measured via competition, both of which are much older than the war.

I would if I could, but I can't! It was just a tumblr comment that I read reblogged from somewhere else.

I don't think it was framed as "no one in Korea was competitive or cared about looks until… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:46 PM on November 19, 2012

Confronting Irony
I have an old zine somewhere (possibly it was Bunnyhop) in which Lisa Suckdog wrote a much more sincere and engaged version of this article wherein she basically talked about how she felt like she'd surrounded herself with hideous thriftstore art and done her hair in ways she hated and spent time in places she didn't like purely to prove some kind of point about ugliness and immiseration and she was going to stop doing that now, thank you. I think that was probably published… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:31 AM on November 19, 2012
Honestly, I think all of this "I hate the ironic hipsters" business is motivated by fear - fear that someone might "see through" your own pretenses; fear that someone is having a better time than you; fear that you have invested your feelings (your sincerity!) into something that someone, somewhere might view as rather small and pathetic.

The thing is, a lot of people are all cathected onto this hipster thing - it isn't just "eh, people… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:25 AM on November 19, 2012

Tensions Rising
One of the reasons that Hamas is popular is that they do things - distribute food, advocate for people, etc. Another is that day to day life for many Palestinians is extremely difficult - not enough food, not enough schools, sharply limited access to they type of medical care that Israelis take for granted, settlers and IDF occasionally firing guns at Palestinian children as they play. Average Palestinians are stuck. They have very,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2012

That makes no sense. If 10 cops arrest and throw a single unarmed psychopath in prison, is that a bad thing? If the majority of the Palestinian population would never accept Israel's existence peacefully -- why should Israel ever relent?

1. On a literal level, yes, what I wrote was over simplifying - we could say "strong groups and institutions against weak in contest over resources" and call it square, perhaps. Although I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2012
So - it's a bit like the "gay panic" defense... Only instead of "teh gays" it's "teh arabs"... Arab Panic? Palestenian Panic? Palesteinophobes (to make a corollary with homophobes)?

I think so, yes. I think it's intellectually dishonest to claim that the Palestinians have anything like the capacity to inflict harm that the Israelis have. That doesn't mean that everything Palestinians do is right, or… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2012
Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?

I'd say it's much more that no one wants to take a compassionate approach, because it would be psychically costly for ordinary people (no more enemy), materially costly for settlers, politically costly for the appalling government (I mean, what's more appalling than using this kind of thing to gain electoral advantage?).… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2012
I think your analysis here is flawed. The 9/11 attackers weren't poor and desperate with nothing else to do. You are glossing the very public sentiment among many Palestinians that the destruction of Israel is the best possible, and maybe only allowable, endpoint. That does not excuse all Israeli actions, but concentrating too much on the wrongs done to Palestinians without considering their stated goals leads to solutions that may not actually be solutions.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2012
I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Oh sure, it's silly. It's not something I seriously believe. It's just a bit of emotional leftover from childhood reading done in a very right-wing Christian milieu. I don't think I conveyed that very well!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2012
I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Also, I apologize if it sounded creepy and fetishizing! Which I could see how it would, sadly.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2012
It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.

I know it's in poor taste to link to Wikipedia, but there have been Jewish people in Palestine for a long time. Relations did not used to be terrible. If my memory of Doris Lessing's memoirs serves me well, even some of the Jewish socialists who emigrated to Palestine in the early 20th century were not… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:31 PM on November 16, 2012

No rights are absolute and there is no hierarchy of rights.
(I add that I live in a milieu where there have been coalitions between non-Muslim GLBT folks and Muslim immigrants' organizations working on voting and immigrants' rights, and if GLBT people, Muslim and non- (and there are Muslim GLBT people, which fact sometimes gets dropped out of discussions like this) want to build good relationships with traditionalist Muslim communities, making a big ol' fuss because you can't get a haircut - especially in a climate of Islamophobia and ZOMG-Sharia-law -… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:52 AM on November 15, 2012
I mean, I do want to add that there is cultural crap that makes it hard for a woman to get a "man's" haircut, and I hate that cultural crap. (I wish I had a good barbershop nearby - there used to be one run by a really old-school butch dyke, but it closed in the recession.) You don't need to be a conservative Muslim to be a sexist asshole to a woman who wants a butch haircut - there are plenty of barbershops run by men of all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:08 AM on November 15, 2012
Looking at Yelp it doesn't look like there are too many Barbershops in Toronto.

But there are lots of men in Toronto, and unless they're getting their hair cut at home or they all have long, luxuriant nineties-style hair (a fashion that's coming back, men of metafilter!) they're getting their hair cut somewhere.

The real reason to go to a male haircutting-person if you want a man's haircut… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2012

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