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Janet Flanner
Janet Flanner was a really neat woman (although honestly her politics leave a bit to be desired, some irritatingly sniffy anti-radicalism in there). Paris Was Yesterday is a book of her short New Yorker pieces from the twenties through before the war; it's an amazing, sharp little set of snapshots of art, culture and daily life, with various interesting bits along the lines of "and there is this young playwright named Jean Paul Sartre who..." She could be... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:39 PM on February 15, 2012

Confessions of a middle-aged Ecstasy eater
And then the unthinkable happened, or rather, two things happened. I met someone, a woman, and while I in my recalcitrant fashion followed up on that meeting so that she might eventually save me (as she eventually did),

Yes, yes of course you did. Yes, yes of course she did. It's interesting to note that this man seems actually to have brought every cliche of the 'literary' white straight dude novelist alive in his own life. It... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2012
"baring the scar"
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 15, 2012

Nobody is that bad of a person
The US State Department has criticised Honduras for “harsh prison conditions” and violence against detainees.

As Adorno said somewhere, you've got to lol because the other alternative is hysterical weeping.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:49 PM on February 15, 2012

That just means he likes you!
I was a big gross dork who was a jerk-target, not a crush-target.

Precisely! I remember being so angry that my parents refused to see the lived reality of my life, and also I remember feeling very ashamed because I knew that the boys found me unattractive (because I was a fat little butch nerd) and thus I wasn't living up to my parents' (admittedly screwed-up) view of me as someone who could attract abuse because she was attractive.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2012
The thing is, I feel like we ought to trust girls on this stuff. I was able at a young age to identify friendly-thought-aggressive teasing (which was not what was directed at me) when I saw it. In general, the girls I knew were not angry about friendly-but-aggressive teasing; they were angry about bullying. This idea that girls themselves need to have the sekrit motives of the boys revealed to them because their undeveloped female brains can't work it... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2012

The reality is that even though I genuinely do like her as a person, I’ve always thought her opinions and her veganism were ridiculous. I never respected them (which really means I never fully respected her), secretly harboring an opinion of her cognitive abilities that is less than kind. I wasn’t teasing her because I liked her. I was teasing her because I thought it was funny, because I thought her opinions and beliefs had no value beyond a cheap laugh.
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2012

A perfect 10 - but she wears a 12
It's not the sizing, it's the cut. I'm a 2-4 and J Crew clothing makes me look like an infant orangutan. J Crew's clothing is cut for some strange species of human with no noticeable fleshy protuberances on any area of their bodies. Giant playmobil people, maybe.

Weirdly, J Crew's pants are among the only pants anywhere that actually fit me - although sadly they make very few styles in a size 16. They cut for people with very straight bodies, as you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:51 AM on February 15, 2012

Nevermore?
I love crows and I look forward all year to their winter flocking behavior. Once I walked through the city's main park just at sunset when thousands and thousands of crows had roosted in the trees, so many that they weighed the trees down. Another time, the Official Local Flock roosted in the trees around and down the street from my house.

I guess I'm not really sure what the problem is. People tolerate nasty, mean geese and their abominable shit and seem to consider... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:49 AM on February 14, 2012

Second Coming
Is this a white nineties revival? It's difficult to say that without it sounding really accusatory, but I'm curious. Like, is it a revival primarily by white people, or maybe a revival primarily of white music, art and fashion from the nineties? I mean, I was a punk rocker of sorts back then, from a very provincial and racist background, so what I knew of cultural production by people of color was, like, almost zero. There was Public Enemy, and that's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2012
(Oh, to clarify - what I meant was not "was there media produced by artists of color during the nineties which one might theoretically revive?" but rather "what is the content of the actually existing nineties revival and how does this relate to race?")
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:13 PM on February 13, 2012
Pretty broad brush you've got there, good luck with fitting the irish-scots diaspora of trainspotting into that.

See, it's really interesting that simply bringing up the question of whiteness is seen as accusatory - IME, that's one of the things that, like, renders it very difficult to ask questions about race and cultural production. . Also, are you really coming back with "but [white ethnic group] isn't... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:43 PM on February 13, 2012

The Misunderstood Power of Michael Jackson's Music
I feel like people like Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson get drawn into this abusive celebrity machine at ridiculously young ages, then have all kinds of scurrilous abuse thrown at them about their race, whether it's about "trying to be white" or "not being black enough" or crappy anti-black racism from white people. Like a lot of celebrities, whatever secure, ordinary community they might have had gets ripped away. They're always positioned as abnormal, even if they... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2012

Occupy McGill?
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with some groups being available for opt out by students and others not. I can't opt out of paying the university president's pay cheque, Nothing in any university is really self sustainable.

I don't like opt-outs. I'm a froth-at-the-mouth radical, and I'd rather have some fraction of my fees go to the Right-Wing Anti-Abortion Gay-Haters' Club or whatever than have the sort of stupid, dishonest game-playing that always... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:06 PM on February 10, 2012

Don't Phone Home From America's Prisons
Maybe high prices lead to mobile phones in part, but I think mostly it's got to be driven by the inmates' desire for secrecy. They "randomly" monitor land-line phone calls in and out of prisons.

This is not true at all.

It just so happens that I know someone who is in jail (pending trial due to some really fucked-up criminalization stuff that's basically about "being alive while poor and transgendered", but... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2012
Oh, yeah, the other kicker in this: many of the person I know's friends are themselves pretty vulnerable, since being young, poor trans women of color is really, really hard - employers discriminate on multiple axes, and that means no regular income which means no regular housing...which means no landline. Which means cell phones only and extra charges to talk to the person in prison. Not to mention all the "how can I make rent this month" horrible stuff.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2012
There are prisoners have done bad things to whatever degree. There are also people who should not be there at all. And there are a whole lot of people who screwed up, are paying the price, but are just trying to get through their sentence with a little btg of human dignity and not necessarily contributing to the crime rate on the outside.

I think this is really important, not least because the more you dehumanize and fuck with people who committed... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:29 PM on February 9, 2012

Sonic Life

in honor of his crush on actress Eliza Dushku


Okay, I just have to say this because it's been gnawing at me. While I think I have a healthy non-investment in rock stars' marriages, it is so demoralizing that the way it always works is "famous dude dumps age-appropriate partner to pursue, like, way younger women". More is 53; Dushku is 31. It just makes me really cynical about straight guys and their capacity... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:08 AM on February 8, 2012
It's not even the divorce, because divorces happen. It's the perpetual "women approximately my own age are ugly and boring! I will use my social power to date someone lots younger because I should not be judged by the standards I apply to women my own age! "

Thank god I'm queer.

Seriously, this shit spoils music for me. I can't hear Le Tigre without thinking "band contains bad ideas about... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:43 AM on February 8, 2012

Is online dating destroying love?
New miseries, new potentials - that's what I'd expect. The point would be to take as much advantage of the new potentials as possible while minimizing the miseries. In which case, honestly, being aware of the "ooh look new shiny!" tendency of the internet is useful, yes.

Although I was trying to set up an OKCupid profile a while back and I kept bogging down on the questions - I kept thinking, for example, "I am not spiritual and wouldn't date a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:13 AM on February 7, 2012
There is sort of a philosophical problem with online dating, but it's a philosophical problem with How We Live Now, so it doesn't seem like a reason not to use online dating services - anyway, the idea that all problems - and all people - are subject to a bit-by-bit analysis and that you can create a list that accurately represents a person, and that this is the most true source of knowledge about people. Turning people into technology, I suppose, or commodities. That you... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2012
Maintaining a devoted customer base over the lifetime of a product is a difficult prospect, something people train all their lives to figure out.

See, this is very interesting - the naturalness with which folks analogize themselves and their relationships to consumer products. I suggest that this is a comparatively new phenomenon, that "the brand is YOU!" is pretty much the result of a dramatically different interpretation of human purpose and subjectivity.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2012
Even Alain Badiou should know better than to believe that a few silly hyperbolic ad slogans can encapsulate a new social reality.

Of course there isn't anything that encapsulates all aspects of human experience, but when you have a new and pervasive way of thinking about what people are and how they experience the world, and what makes for good human relations, that's a big deal. It's not so much "if only I personally can... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:57 AM on February 7, 2012

Memorize a landline number RIGHT NOW
I'm sorry, but I feel like they kind of glossed over the part where he was keeping a pregnant heroin addict locked in his home, resulting in false imprisonment charges to which he ultimately plead guilty.

Look, there are very few perfect victims in jail - by which I mean white, photogenic, well-spoken, middle-class people who obviously did not do the thing they're accused of. This fact is routinely used to cover up abuse of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:38 PM on February 6, 2012
(To clarify - the media is far more interested when white people are abused, not that white people deserve abuse less by virtue of being white)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:39 PM on February 6, 2012

I don't feel any guilt.................. because in this case...
... if science increasingly erodes its last refuges (the beginnings of a deterministic theory of human behaviour might be doing that already) then where do we go for value?

The deterministic theory of human behavior is itself a value. If you spend a lot of time around scientists (which I do, as it happens) you quickly realize that while research is often broadly useful, it certainly isn't a rational enterprise clearing away the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:55 AM on February 6, 2012

Battle hymn of the frog mother
I seem to have been raised by parents who carefully concealed their French nationality to the point of speaking with a Chicago accent.

As much as I disapprove of all this "here's how to be a good parent! No, here! Let's use another nation as a stick to beat US women with!" routine, I am a bit confused by what the article assumes are the norms of US parenting. My family was a bit odd and authoritarian in some ways, but I never felt that our day to day lives... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:28 PM on February 4, 2012


Remember when Jimmy Kimmel challenged parents to give their kid a terrible Christmas present yt and tape it and upload it to YouTube?

There was about 1 pair of kids that I'm pretty sure most people would not mind having as their own kids. But a number of the other kids were just awful: high strung, whiny, humorless, and demanding.

I can't imagine having the time or energy to have children or teach them how to
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:16 PM on February 5, 2012

Switched on..
I have an aesthetic distaste for programs like this one, even though I tend to like classical music more than I like, say, Beyonce. It just seems so contemptuous, like we're all supposed to snicker about how the yout' are so stupid and so uncultured that we can drive them away by playing intellectual music! It's of a piece with that thing where older folks will sometimes drive around playing classical music really, really loudly on their car stereos,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:40 AM on February 3, 2012
It's of a piece with that thing where older folks will sometimes drive around playing classical music really, really loudly on their car stereos, thinking that they are just being hiLARiously transgressive.

Not familiar with that particular thing. Maybe they're just upping the volume for deafness on account of being old?


Oh, I have ridden in the car with an older folk doing this - and by older, I mean "older than teens and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:42 AM on February 3, 2012
I was totally taken aback by that. My initial reaction was: "That would never happen in America. Instead, the mayor would say that the homeless people should have known better than to try and sleep outside in this weather instead of going to a shelter. And then the city govt would take stronger measures to make sure that 'improper use' of subway stations didn't increase during the winter months."

Absolutely. Here in liberal Minneapolis/St... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2012

He cried during the last “Lord of the Rings” movie.
Many of these dealbreakers make me think "but that wouldn't bother me if I liked the person enough"...but perhaps that's because I tend to know people fairly well before we actually progress to dating.

Vis-a-vis books: None the less, I wouldn't want to date someone who doesn't read much because a lot of what I talk and think about is stuff I'm reading, and it's not very general things along the lines of "I'm reading a book about abortion politics, let's... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:16 PM on February 3, 2012

Neutrality Policy and the Wall of Silence
Speaking from direct, personal experience... Minnesota in the mid-80s to mid-90s was the land of Mondale and Humphrey--with a handful of extremist conservatives. It was a place dominated by lilly white people and snowy landscapes. The population had a penchant for doing good deeds. One of them was attracting people of different cultures who had serious needs. First, the Hmong, then Korean adoptions, then South Asians, then Somalis.

It is indeed very... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:08 AM on February 3, 2012
But it seems like that didnt happen with the Somalis.

I don't feel that this is true at all. I think that some Somali folks have had a hard time being accepted because of anti-black racism and because of bias against Muslims. But I live in a neighborhood with lots of Somali people and there are tons of Somali businesses - some serving mostly Somalis, some more general. There are also a number of Somali hires at my job, and of... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2012

there's no time to remove the bones. just eat the whole thing!
I remember reading an article in Gourmet back in the eighties - when I was a mere slip of a girl - in which the writer talked about how he was going on some intentionally super-high-cholesterol kick, eating all these fancy but terrible-for-you foods in large quantities and a short timespan. He said that he'd been to the doctor and had found that he had a really fast metabolism and extremely low cholesterol and specifically dis-recommended his project to most people. I am... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 3, 2012

Top five regrets of the dying
I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I'm struggling a little to believe that anyone actually said that, whatever it means. It sounds more like what Ware thinks they ought to have said.


Huh. To me, this sounds like the most plausible one - or at least the one where there's the most possibility for not having it as a regret.

Although I am weirdly reminded of Peter Beagle's deeply... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:33 AM on February 2, 2012
It's interesting that lists like these are used as sort of a hedge - a way to make even death fit neatly into the practical middle class approach to capitalism. They turn death into just one more thing where you have a checklist - Make sure I don't regret not calling mom! Make sure I don't regret not going to Hawai'i! And they extend death through life, right? Your whole life becomes an exercise in "how shall I prepare to regret nothing on my deathbed?" When by contrast you could... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2012
It's interesting that lists like these are used as sort of a hedge - a way to make even death fit neatly into the practical middle class approach to capitalism. They turn death into just one more thing where you have a checklist - Make sure I don't regret not calling mom! Make sure I don't regret not going to Hawai'i!

Okay, it's poor form to quote oneself, but I realized that I hadn't expressed my thought very well (and lord knows I don't want to... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:11 AM on February 2, 2012
(armchair Marxists polemicize

I always wonder how one transitions from "armchair Marxist" to some other kind. Like, do you literally have to run a marxist state or can you just engage in social justice and community activism based on marxist principles? Not that I personally am a marxist, of course. And I would classify myself more as an "in bed reading the internet anarchist" since honestly the armchairs at my house are not as... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:01 AM on February 2, 2012

Professor: today's students vs his memories
"last year, I read a paper that advanced the idea that "back in the day" — by which the writer meant the 1990s — people didn’t commit adultery, and homosexuality didn't exist."

I just want to point out that I, a deeply nerdy person who actually read a ton of 19th century novels in their teens and who enjoyed almost everything assigned in high school lit classes with the exception of A Member of the Wedding, once... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:23 AM on February 1, 2012

Do you love what you do?
It says they've found some new names for workaholism - it's now called "meaning" and "passion".

The rhetoric of "meaning" comes to the fore now because
1. Most people can't have "meaningful" work under capitalism as it's presently constituted - seriously, the folks harvesting tomatoes and washing diapers in the retirement home and scrubbing the toilets at the mall and working the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:26 PM on January 31, 2012

“I would love to have like 3 close friends."

The article presents a large amount of evidence that Ravi was, in fact, deliberately harassing his roomate, did, in fact, attempt to tape his roomate having sex and broadcast it to as many people as he had access to via Twitter, and did, in fact, do this because he was disgusted by the idea that his roomate was having sex with another man. After he found out his roomate was on to him, he moved to cover his tracks and encouraged Wei to lie to the police. I don't see how the
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:21 AM on January 30, 2012

If there is tacit agreement that individuals as old as 18 are still "half-formed," careless babes, we should up the age of majority rather than extend a special understanding to a particular few. What I see developing is a strange, counter-intuitive pattern in which the meaner, more spiteful and premeditated the behavior, the more likely it is to attract claims that it's just "kids being kids." Even if those kids can, e.g., enlist in the armed forces and
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2012

Are animal rescues doing animals a disservice?
Thank goodness we just found our little cat hunting mice in our yard. She was so tiny and skinny that you could see all her ribs, and so anxious and tired that she literally fell asleep in my arms when we finally built enough trust to pick her up. Now she is the boss of our creaky old Victorian, which I suppose would not have passed muster with the shelter since we're still fixing it up. She goes to the fanciest vet in town and eats only the best food from the yuppie pet store (while we shop... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:47 AM on January 30, 2012

History doesn't always repeat itself; sometimes it rhymes
I've always had a soft spot for Old Fritz ever since I learnt his asshole father forced him to watch the execution of the man who was almost certainly his lover, Hans Hermann von Katte. It's a wonder that Fritz did not govern as a monster after that experience and turned out as well as he did.

When they figure out time travel, I am so going to destroy history by going back and making this not happen.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:28 AM on January 25, 2012

What're the profit margins on a Trojan Horse?
80000hours makes a related argument. Rather than emphasizing changing the system from within, they make a utilitarian argument for the amount of good a wealthy person can do, essentially suggesting people become professional philanphropists.

Not to knock some wealthy people I know who've supported good local causes, but:

1. The process of becoming wealthy (or being integrated into any strongly ideological system) changes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:11 AM on January 25, 2012

Oxycontin - The Pill of Pain
The draconian regulations around the prescription painkiller that he takes - vicodin - are such that he typically goes a week or two between refills, so every time he gets, yes, physical withdrawal symptoms. Every time he has to suffer for no god damn reason. Every time he has to go back on vicodin, which makes it very difficult to get to sleep for a couple days on its own.

This kind of thing, yes. I am far, far more worried that I'll get cancer or... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:24 AM on January 24, 2012

Disco Inferno: The Five EPs
Oh, dude, I love Disco Inferno! Although they have one of the most misleading-on-first-hearing band names ever. "Even the sea sides against us", "a crash at every speed", wow, they are so brilliant. (I'm not sure when "dude" became my cri de coeur of enthusiasm, though. Perhaps it's better than 'woot")
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:27 PM on January 23, 2012

Part of the D-Tour Collection
You know, I think there are a lot of French marxists who would consider this only too, too appropriate. American imperialism, Disney, fascism, etc etc.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2012

Nerd Girlfriend
Okay, see, I just had a flash of insight. The thing is, back before the internet, developing a nerd level of knowledge about a non-standard topic was really difficult - whether the topic was the work of Spinoza (which is still sort of difficult) or the history of Legos or the minor record labels of the early seventies. That information was really specialized and it was all on tiny pieces of paper and old magazines and specialist books somewhere. I remember, for crying out loud, that it was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:44 AM on January 22, 2012

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