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

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

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

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

See, this is one of the things that I like about Minnesota. There are certainly a lot of white people here who do have that whole savior/helper complex that's very "lookit me I'm a good person" and patronizing,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:41 AM on July 2, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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