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I am large, I contain multitudes
"What is identity?" is always a question with political implications. If I argue that being queer is innate, then de-gaying people is wrong and there's some traction for equal rights; if I believe that sexual identity is completely fluid and situational, then I can argue that it's better for society if queer folks use the fluidity of their sexual identity to perform straightness, and I can say that it's not cruel or abusive to try to de-gay people, because you're just lobbying them... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:35 AM on June 9, 2011
So identity is relational.

It's not necessarily that identity is relational - I could argue, for example, that public policy about gay rights should be determined based on an assumption of "innate" sexual identity because saying "sexual identity is fluid so if someone feels coerced to perform a particular identity it is really no worse than being "coerced" to get a job and pay rent". It's that the... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on June 9, 2011
"because otherwise you end up saying "sexual identity is fluid so if someone feels coerced to perform a particular identity it is really no worse than being "coerced" to get a job and pay rent""
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:50 AM on June 9, 2011

Ouch
I don't wear a helmet. I didn't grow up wearing one; my head is hard to fit; I commute to work at a front desk job and can't have helmet hair; I find helmets distracting and seem to hear and see less well when I have pressure on my head. I am a very cautious cyclist who depends heavily on looking and listening - a lot of people seem to focus on going very fast (which seems reasonable to me) or want to wear one earbud from an iPod.

I too have a friend who dented a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:34 AM on June 9, 2011
(Oh, I meant to digress on racism and perceptions about bike safety but didn't - that's why I mentioned that my friend was white - I wrote and deleted a bit more about racism and fear but forgot to delete that.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:35 AM on June 9, 2011

"Five minutes later, Winfield got eaten by giant cockroaches."
(Just parenthetically, I kind of wish this article didn't go all "dudes and their genetically-determined hard-wired territorialness over their ladies!" at the end. Also, the "all white women are fascinated by black actors having sex while all white men are repulsed" bit was a bit unappealing.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on June 8, 2011
While I'm baffled by people who are reacting to the whole "women leaned forward while men leaned back" issue by saying "what's this about 'leaning forward' if you think something's hot" (poetic license, people, ever hear of it?), I was myself skeptical of this being "proof' of his claims -- but for a different reason.

Namely: how do we know that the men were recoiling because of race? Maybe it was just a matter of, "ew, watching a
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:04 AM on June 8, 2011

Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?
1. "Anti-intellectualism" among the young is only to be expected - when I was in my late teens and early twenties I did not have much mastery of the facts I'd learned, any way to theorize about them or enough theory to identify things I wanted to know but didn't. I felt threatened, honestly, by people who knew more than I did. I had few models for acquiring in-depth knowledge and no sense of how to distinguish reliable information from iffy.

2.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2011

Is Syria approaching meltdown.

I really hope she survives this, and I hope the same for the other protesters. I am so moved by their bravery, I wish there was something I could do.


I emailed every email at the Syrian embassy I could find, on the theory that if she's being held by someone who is directly responsible to the regime they may be less likely to kill her the bigger the public outcry is. If they're freelance paramilitaries or "will no... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:05 PM on June 7, 2011

There's a little quantum mechanics involved.
It'd be easy to spout off some lazy sitcom tropes about marriage and sex and how they seem to be incongruous, but I struggle to understand, honestly: where does this level of resentment come from? I've BEEN in that relationship:

Honestly, for me it's popular culture that makes me really not want to have it off - has very little to do with chores or emotional intimacy and everything to do with the fact that once the thrill of novelty is gone I can no... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2011

It airs right after "Teen Mom"
I've always (quietly, personally) categorized fatherhood in with terminal illness, floods, boils, Windows Vista, and the like.

I simultaneously like my friends' kids and am pleased that they're happy and have this completely contradictory "OMG having kids will mess up your life so why are you doing it!!!" feeling every time I see a pregnant stranger. I attribute this second reaction to my own personal fear of intimacy,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:03 PM on June 3, 2011

Yes but no but yes but no...
To this USian, the acceptability of "chav" in the UK has been astonishing, shocking and disappointing. It's so clearly about the resentment of any working class person who does not make an attempt to conform to middle class norms - if it's not, why is the absolutely farcical behavior of the British hereditary aristocracy accepted but people get all worked up about a few tacky hats and some drinking? Prince William dressed up as a Nazi; the royals pop out with all... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:29 AM on June 3, 2011
Oh, and about working class status symbols - what really offends the middle class is when working class status symbols either trash something rich people used to own (Burberry in the UK; the thing of poor people driving old Cadillacs that helped mess up the brand in the US) or when the working class status symbols aren't an imitation of rich people, so that rich people can't automatically have higher status in that hierarchy.

To clarify - in my... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 AM on June 3, 2011
and they would beat you up for walking in front of them

I have no problem with a critique of the whole beating-people-up thing. But it's always working class violence that's described as pathological; when a working class kid beats someone up, it says something about the working class as a whole, but when a middle class kid shoots up a school, it's mental illness or a tragedy or an individual gone wrong. Working class... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:13 AM on June 3, 2011
Actual people get more worked up about how travelers have a tendency trespass on your property and steal all your shit. My sister-in-law lives on a farm in Co. Laois, and they have a TERRIBLE time with travelers around those parts.

But the thing is, the rhetoric of working class violence is used to muster a consensus among people who don't experience (or only trivially experience) the violence in question - there's a big difference between "I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:48 AM on June 3, 2011

Madison Avenue no longer marketing to the middle-class as the rich have all the money.
So this means that no one will market crap to me anymore? I guess there's an upside to everything.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2011

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine."
While I think that mainstream Egyptian culture has some specific problems about gender that are a lot more dramatic and overt than those in the US, it is worth noting that police rape and sexually abuse women in the US fairly regularly. As I've said before here, I know several young women protesters who were strip-searched (and in one case filmed) in front of an audience after a faked-up arrest during the 2008 RNC convention - no one else in that batch of arrestees was strip... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:01 AM on June 1, 2011

The Rise of Chinese anti-semitism and contemporary support for Hitler as a display of Chinese nationalism.
When I lived in Shanghai in the nineties, I observed these things:

- Han Chinese students who praised Hitler as a nationalist leader and who either did not know about or minimized the Holocaust - I suspect partly because Han people are encouraged by the state to believe that they are superior to other ethnicities in China and violence/expropriation of minority people happens all the time in Tibet and Xinjiang.

- A group of Japanese exchange... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:17 AM on May 31, 2011

What Proof Does a Woman Have to Have?
You know, police target vulnerable people who are less likely to be believed. I, for example, am not very likely to be raped by a cop - I'm white, I'm middle class, I don't drink or use drugs, I am not a sex worker, I am in full possession of my mental faculties at the moment and I am [ahem] no longer that young. Police target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:33 PM on May 27, 2011
If you're going to slander an entire profession of public workers, it would be great if you could include a citation or a link or something.

The tricky bit is that police are rarely convicted and complaints are rarely made because the victims are poor, messed up or already marginalized, and civilian review boards (like ours in Minneapolis) are routinely weakened and defunded. So yeah, I can't. I have spent a lot of time doing various... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011

Camp Cranky is all about periods.
I'm still surprised I don't see more reusable menstrual cups in these sorts of situations. Yeah, you need potable water, but I'd imagine you'd need a lot less than what you'd need to wash out a reusable pad. I suppose the cups are more expensive to begin with, but you can use them for such a long, long time.

Of course, the Always commercials that try to imply that women in these countries need "happy periods" are half right: yes, they deserve MUCH
... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:24 PM on May 24, 2011
Okay, look, the tags appeared closed in the preview window. They really did. I checked.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:25 PM on May 24, 2011

Cancer Victim Loses Custody of her Children
How would you feel about your dad, later, when you fully processed that he had basically denied you your last couple of years with your dying mom? Hate him like poison, probably.

Losing a parent when you're young is terrible anyway; everyone I know in that situation is pretty messed up. Having your dad yank you away so that all you get is a phonecall, "sorry, your mom died last night, guess you won't be seeing her at the holidays this year"....that is... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:16 AM on May 24, 2011

Perverse Incentives
And it is "trends" like this that make me never, ever want to have sex again. When I get past the depression about how I'm inadequate, I'm just filled with rage that the world really, seriously expects me to spend all this precious time and money on really dumb, invasive stuff when instead I could be doing fun or important things.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:52 PM on May 22, 2011

Now I just don't give a damn. Not hurting anyone else? Go for it.


Over my lifetime, the amount of effort, money and time women are expected to spend making themselves minimum-sexually-acceptable has increased dramatically. Back when I was in high school, I had to shave my legs [to be acceptable to men; I no longer bother] and that was about it. Then I was supposed to wax my legs or pay to have them done, plus get pedicures. Then I was... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:03 PM on May 22, 2011

I, for one, fully expect Frowner to trim those labia and turn that frown upside-down.


Okay, that was kind of inappropriate but also hilarious. I am not really sure about metafilter norms, though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:13 PM on May 22, 2011

“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.
I find it absolutely bizarre how much this freaks people out. There are all kinds of things which we gently deplore - raising kids to be homophobes, raising them to be against evolution, raising them in houses with unsecured guns, feeding them horrible food, refusing to vaccinate - but no, it's the "let them sort out their gender more slowly and based on fewer social cues" thing that get cries of "this is child abuse".

I do find the "the kids... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:32 PM on May 22, 2011
The "tyranny of pronouns" thing sounds weird to me. In my circles, when someone's gender is unknown or they're genderqueer or whatever, we just say "they", as in "I saw Lee on the bus, and they said they'd be at the show tonight". IIRC, "they" was initially an acceptable gender-neutral singular anyway.

And you'd be surprised how often - if you move in queer/hippie/trans circles - you're not sure of someone's gender. Sometimes... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:57 PM on May 22, 2011

Land of 10,000 Hates?
How the hell am I supposed to push more progressive politics by complaining that both sides of the partisan divide are basically the same when the one side starts acting so strenuously to assert itself as freakishly bad in comparison?

And what is so progressive about centrism? In Minnesota (where I've lived since 1992) our dalliance with "centrism" has...um...progressively stripped away everything that used to make this state great - Ventura... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:15 PM on May 21, 2011

Tubecrush
women objectifying men is relatively harmless because men hold the power in terms of sex and more generally in terms of whatever comes between flirting and sexual harassment.

I strongly suspect that feminist women are generally not the women posting to that site.

Obviously, men posting/rating pictures of women would be meaner and creepier, because women are judged much, much more harshly on their appearances,... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:17 AM on May 20, 2011
No.

Look, I recognize that we basically can't have this conversation without it getting all flame-y. I will say that I wish that just once men-who-don't-like-the-artifacts-of-patriarchy could say that, yes, patriarchy generally benefits men more than women even if it doesn't benefit them personally. I wish that we could be allies instead of competitors, and I view it, in fact, as an artifact of patriarchy when men feel that they must be just... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:24 AM on May 20, 2011

The Angry, Outspoken, Activist Larry Kramer
But HIV infection rates have gone back up among younger gay men (and men and women of color!). Isn't that the Scandal of Larry Kramer, that he says this over and over in public and that he says that certain types of casual sex are unsafe and foolish? I mean, a LOT of people really hate him because he's (rumor has it) very difficult and a bit controlling AND because he's seen as "sex negative".

In my sadder moments, I feel like all that... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:28 AM on May 19, 2011
"Yes for one brief moment in time we got angry. Correction, a few of us got angry. Of all our many many millions of gay people in this country, about 10,000 of us or so got angry enough to accomplish something. We got drugs. We got aids care. We got enough so we could continue fucking again. That in the end is what it amounted to. As soon as we got the drugs, you went right back to what got us into such trouble in the first place."

I read... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:36 AM on May 19, 2011
That might be one thing that hasn't changed -- that gay men in the 1970s didn't want to hear that, and people today still don't want to hear it.

I collect old activist/queer/movement books and magazines, so I have this small press anthology of gay men's writing from San Francisco that was published in 1978 and most of the pieces revolve around "pushing your sexual boundaries is a radical political act by which you constitute a radical... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:18 AM on May 19, 2011
Look, I am very much not a fan of hedge fund managers, gay or straight, but the whole radical community/radical sexual practice thing... again, tens of thousands of men, old and young, died. THAT is the problem. Not that there are just too many damn gay capitalists.

But there is this narrative (that I think is Kramer's underlying narrative and which is certainly the subtext of And The Band Played On) which goes "promiscuity... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:41 AM on May 19, 2011
Holleran and Shilts (and to a lesser degree Kramer) and others make, I think, a pretty compelling case that it was horrible to begin with. The case for "everyone really was having fun and making an awesome new community" just doesn't strike me as very strong. I mean, Christ, the vagueness of it! Maybe my problem is that I'm approaching all this from a literature standpoint, and you're approaching it from a political standpoint. Good literature can't be vague, because it's a... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:24 AM on May 19, 2011
I think it's really interesting that your vision is to replace all that yucky bourgeois stuff with something you say you'd "hate." I just don't get that at all. Why not advocate replacing it with something that you actually care about and like?

I think we're miscommunicating slightly - I'm not so interested in what I'd like, because even in future-casual-sex-utopia I'm going to be home with a book. I'm interested in... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:00 AM on May 19, 2011
It's very odd to me to approach, heck, Human Society from a perspective of "it doesn't matter what I've found to be true from my own personal experience of the world."

1. I feel differently when a choice has to be made - my experience can be ignored if no possible outcome is negative for me. If I like Thai food and pizza but you can't eat dairy, you get to pick the restaurant.

2. I don't really trust any individual... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on May 19, 2011
IIRC, Larry Kramer was there screaming about closing the bath houses (where we could hand out condoms and try to educate people, once we found out how it was spread) and calling for outrage

Wasn't there a lot of pushback from bathhouse owners against doing education and making condoms available? Like, either direct refusal or total marginalization of the efforts?
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:33 AM on May 19, 2011
(the stories are great.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:41 AM on May 19, 2011

The Stockholm Syndrome Theory of Long Novels
I read The Tale of Genji in college for a tutorial - weeks of immersion in the extremely alien world of the Heian court. I would surface from reading the novel and my actual life would seem like a dream.

It's difficult to read long novels because of the immersion - I don't want to pull myself out of 19th century Russia or future dystopian America to deal with my regular life, and all I can think of is the world of the novel so sometimes that's all I... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:02 AM on May 19, 2011

Chester Brown Pays For It
I don't know why it is that I have no problem with people doing sex work, have friends who have done sex work, absolutely believe it should be legalized and sex workers protected...and yet every time I read some dude's work about being a client, I am totally, totally skeeved out and want to cry.

Of course, maybe a better industry would generate better clients.

I have a couple of old Chester Brown books and... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:59 AM on May 16, 2011

Lara Logan's tale
Either way, this isn't about conscious thoughts being perverted into something else, it's about conditioning someone from a very young age so that their sexuality remains off-limits to them in every way except those sanctioned by their society.

See, I just don't think that many types of sexual assault are "about" sex at all. They're about proving masculinity, men showing off for men or proving something to the Big Other about their power.... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:48 PM on May 8, 2011

We're different from classic feminists.
I live in San Francisco, where situations that involve both nudity and protesting result in seeing people that you would never want to see naked in a million years. These ladies look great. More power to them.

I'm late to the party, but from far upthread - this is precisely the wrong attitude to have, because it's basically "you can show your body for artistic or political purposes if and only if it's a body I want to see; other bodies disgust me... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:39 PM on May 7, 2011

The Long Con
More than just abused and intimidated. They create a climate of distrust, where people who are doing anything which may go against what The System wants find themselves questioning the loyalties of any new face who comes within their midst. It's a form of instilling guilt-by-association only coming from the other way around the issue. If enough of these kinds of operations are mounted, soon those who may be working against the wishes of the powers that be (whether they are doing so... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:25 AM on May 6, 2011
Let me tell you something that happened to a friend of mine during the RNC protests. Oh, that will be after I tell you about my other friend who had a gun held to her head during an anti-road protest, with the cop saying he'd kill her and get away with it.

So I have this friend from activist stuff, see, a nice kid - really a kid, a young guy, very slight in build. During the 2008 RNC protests, he was arrested and beaten hard. Then while he was cuffed the cops slammed... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:41 AM on May 6, 2011
About to go read the article--I'll bet this is mentioned in there, but I don't see it in the discussion. Seattle was the site of a very serious act of eco-terrorism in 2001, when the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture was torched by what turned out the be the ELF

I think folks outside of the arts and activist scenes really, basically don't know how this stuff works. "ELF" is basically anyone who wants... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:29 AM on May 6, 2011

"We have no idea what to do next."
The collective decision has already been made (like 30+ years ago): we are going to keep relying on and using fossil fuels until we run out it becomes uneconomical to do so despite the consequences.

But a collective decision hasn't been made; there is no "collective" mechanism for major decisions about society. There is an ineffective, corrupt mechanism for decisions about small, immediate but nebulous issues - should we... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:07 AM on May 5, 2011

"He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it."
This stuff happens all the time - it baffles me why there is actually more room for dissent about Israeli policy in Israel than in the US. For example, one of the essays in The Revolution Will Not Be Funded describes how a women of color organization (the Incite Collective itself? I don't have the book handy) had a grant for a media project yanked because of their unrelated support for Palestine.

I can only surmise that because average Americans know... [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2011

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel
Wow, it took reading several posts to get my head around the part where this isn't Don Cherry the genius musician. I'm kind of disappointed, actually, because Don Cherry, jazz great, was a pretty sharp dresser, at least in my opinion. I wouldn't mind a blog about the fashion choices of the great free jazz musicians.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:27 AM on May 4, 2011

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