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If only I had a tiger mom or started a fake charity.
This individual girl sounds awful, it's true - but I'd like to point out that back in the early nineties I was accepted everywhere I applied (and I applied to pretty good schools - Carleton rather than Harvard, so not absolutely the tippety top, etc) based on high SATS (obtained with zero SAT prep classes) and one extracurricular. Admittedly, I had a lot of opinions about that extra-curricular (it was our school's then-novel environmental activism group, mostly concerned… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2013
I'm a high school dropout who never intended to go to a "real" college, with a single mom that never pushed me to do anything academic, and even *I* knew that you needed extra-curriculars, leadership roles, and damned lies IN ADDITION to a stellar GPA and test scores for a successful college application.

See, I really hate this stuff. If everyone needs a "leadership role" who are they leading? The poor dumb proletariat who won't… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2013

Many a Maester have tried to play the Game of Weather Patterns
Perhaps some people reading this thread might enjoy Dianna Wynne Jones's Tough Guide To Fantasyland.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:21 AM on April 5, 2013

The Gleaners Kitchen
I dunno, I know lots of people who dumpster dive; I've done it myself and eaten food dumpstered by others. You must not imagine it as "gas station sandwiches past their sell-by date"; think of it more as "slightly dinged-up lemons, the onions that didn't fit in the display and some bagged bread that was on the shelf yesterday". Although I have met people bringing around some Odwallas that had sat in the dumpster on a hot day and started to swell up and… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:43 AM on April 1, 2013
I don't know how bad it is in America (I'm sure it's much worse), but many supermarkets in France will even pour bleach into their dumpsters at closing time to make sure no "bad elements" (i.e. impoverished and starving people) will show up to eat perfectly good food that they have thrown away en masse.

This kind of thing does happen. Although around here it's more likely to be, as I say, locking the dumpsters and pulping the food, or mixing it in with other kinds of waste.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:45 AM on April 1, 2013
I add that one reason I stopped dumpstering is that I can afford my own food, and I didn't want to be drawing attention to dumpstering locations and taking food for myself when there were others out there who really needed it. (Although if finances get tight again I will go right back if needed.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:49 AM on April 1, 2013
Although I suppose he means well. I was a bit of a fool about a lot of stuff when I was twenty-two. I mean, I feel kind of bad for him because he's doing a project which is actually going to make it harder for broke people to get food in the long run, a project which is not led by the people he wants to help. What middle class white person among us hasn't done, participated in or advocated for some similar kind of foolery? It's such a shame that people of this general type… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2013
I knew a guy in college who actually did this. He is extremely charismatic and managed to get an entire restaurant kitchen donated, and installed in the basement of his rental house. Over 100 people were involved in dumpster diving, cooking, and maintaining the kitchen. There were huge commercial refrigerators full of awesome produce. When I went there I had gnocci in a pumpkin cream sauce and homemade apple juice (they had a giant commercial juicer).… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2013

Are you a giver, a matcher or a taker?
I would submit that perhaps this "giving" model works for a professor at a non-profit university. Good for him (I mean that sincerely). Sounds like a lovely guy.

I do think it's worth asking why the NYT is running a profile on a selfless giver and why there's this ideological emphasis on happiness through giving. I mean, I am a chronic activist, do a lot of stuff for free and inconvenience myself no little thereby...but...… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:14 AM on March 28, 2013
I think just looking at this through the lens of your paid job is rather limiting. Plenty of people are involved in organizations outside of work that this can be applied to. Organizations that you care about are a potential source of future employment, good friends, good times and helping the community. Giving yourself generously to non-profits or just the board game night at the community center - that's rewarding and a good way to network and build relationships. I hear what people… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:28 AM on March 28, 2013
Oh, and I add: what about the politically necessary work that is controversial and ruffles feathers? This academic dude is doing work that the middle class social consensus agrees is valuable. What if you're a sex worker organizing sex workers to agitate for health care? What if you're a militant black radical? What if you're disabled and working on disability projects because you need them to benefit yourself?

Everyone talks about "giving" as this… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:31 AM on March 28, 2013

"somebody took the time to make a doll in your likeness"
I remember back in the nineties, Mattel had this really neat line of African-American barbies with different skin tones, hair and (as I recall, but I may be making this up) slightly different face sculpts. They struck me as being sort of 90s-multicultural/Afrocentric in aspect, more adult-looking than a lot of barbies. But they were just regular barbies intended for kids, not special collector ones. I was in college at the time but even so I was tempted to buy them since they were so nice. I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:09 AM on March 28, 2013

Ayn Contra Tau
I loathe CS Lewis, even though I'm awfully fond of certain aspects of his books, and could probably quote bits and pieces of them. I do really love the parts in Perelandra where Ransom is wandering under the mountain.

Why? The endless snobbism in the Narnia books and their naked hatred of democracy (consider the island in Dawn Treader and its governor); the racism and orientalism; the nasty little swipes at anything he deemed "progressive"… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:37 PM on March 27, 2013
What I remember too, when I was little, was reading "The Shabby Lands" and, later, That Hideous Strength and feeling just absolutely baffled and betrayed. I'd really, really liked the Narnia books (since I'd totally ignored the "Susan, monster of vanity who does not get to go to heaven" part) and encountering Lewis's contempt for women and belief that we were intellectual inferiors who should submit to men - I still remember the hurt and upset I felt.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:53 PM on March 27, 2013
The thing about Lewis's good female characters is that they are all young girls. As soon as they develop any kind of adult interests or sexuality, they are either evil (Fairy Harcastle, White Witch, Silver Chair witch) or godawful wise naives (the Star's Daughter in Dawn Treader; the first woman in Perelandra)

I realize now that I'd always assumed Lewis was some weird kind of gay and that his discomfort around women was about… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:03 PM on March 27, 2013

"My Gucci Addiction"
I think it's worth looking at this guy as a product of a system more than as an individual.

If you have a lot of money and few social constraints, you get weird and your norms get weird. It's not because of you; it's because of the distancing effect of the situation and the fact that you have nothing at all to guide you but your own wants. On a smaller, scale, I realized this when I worked in Shanghai and Beijing - I wasn't rich by… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2013

What Fresh El is This?
"Ayn Rand was similar to Martin Luther King in the sense that she taught the power of an individual who stands up to popular convention ... in order to advance a cause which is noble or purposeful," Claypool said. "And that individuals are the ones in society who tend to advance society--not groups, not the collective, not the state."

This just about has to take the biscuit as "dishonest use of MLK's name", since of… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:19 AM on March 21, 2013

Come Over Here And Say That
I don't care for this "someone harasses me on Twitter and the crowd cheers as I go off to [implicitly] beat him up" business - and I was bullied quite severely in school, have various issues about feeling safe around strangers, etc.

I don't like it because it's not rational - it's just the feeling that "someone who deserves it" is going to get theirs. "Someone who deserves it" can be anyone the crowd doesn't like - it… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:59 AM on March 13, 2013
Yeah, I am 100 percent certain that if this were a story about some nearsighted video-game designer doing exactly the same thing, MetaFilter would cheer roundly. It's only because Woodhouse is a boxer that people feel differently, and most are explicit about it.

Yeah, actually - or let's assume that this is a socially marginalized video game designer, not some kind of vaguely Mark Zuckerberg-esque successful and important tech guy. And the reason is… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:22 AM on March 13, 2013
Indeed, let's. Because revenge violence is very much about gender and the performance of it, and I would argue also about race and the intersections thereof. The people who feel free to dish out stalking and violence tend not to be socially marginalized, for example. (I do recommend Richard Slotkin's Gunfighter Nation on some of this - it's about the US, true, but it lays out quite a lot about wounded masculinity.)

I add that… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2013

This post entirely SFW
My goodness, how weird make-up is. Also, those giant doll-eyes that seem to be a tumblr make-up standard - I had no idea that you can have fairly small eyes and still do them, I'd just assumed that all those girls had large eyes to begin with.

I don't know - I think there's a fundamental philosophical issue here, on which I don't claim to be on the right side. Things-on-top-of-things disturb me - I used to live in a place where the living room floor had ingrained… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:29 PM on March 9, 2013

I mean, everyone will look different with make-up on. Sure. But some of these, I recognized them with make-up on, but totally didn't recognize them without. Like could not recognize them. How many porn stars am I passing every day, but just not recognizing them?

Which probably provides a measure of safety for them, right? I mean, if you want to go out in your star persona, you can wear the make-up - or you can just run down to the bodega… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:34 PM on March 9, 2013
It is fascinating how much of that look we consider conventionally sexy and beautiful is just... paint.

Which is kind of neat, actually. I bet you could put a ton of make-up on me and squeeze me into some sort of sequin corset and I'd look....well, startlingly different from my lived gender presentation and likely to get a very different sort of attention. I'd always assumed - back when I thought/cared about it - that my problem was that I was ugly, but perhaps not.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2013
Vis-a-vis reddit: well, the whole point of the social economy of sex work is to have a class of women it's safe to hate and mock in the "daylight" of regular life who are then also sexually available at "night". I'm not sure whether it's because a lot of guys can't actually handle both loving a woman and being sexual with her because that is too much like equality or even vulnerability, so maybe there has to be some contempt and control in the mix for them to be able to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:45 PM on March 9, 2013
But what do you do when someone whom you like goes the extra distance and puts on make-up for a special occasion? I don't need to enforce my prejudices but it's hard to feign excitement when you are thinking to yourself "Well, I'm GGG but I'm not all that into making out with a clown."

Me personally? By the time I'm into someone enough to want to make out with them, their actions and appearance are invested with an allure of their own.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 4:15 PM on March 9, 2013
You know, I bet a lot of us know women (or guys) who have done a little porn. I know I know a reasonable number of people who have done sex work, ranging from a fairly trivial "I did a little go-go dancing at a club when I was 20" to more intense stuff. When I look at some of these girls, they could easily be, like, girls I used to know from going to punk shows. It could be that we've all got friends who've done this work and who are too ashamed or nervous of the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:18 PM on March 9, 2013
They just want to be pretty, to be looked at and admired, while the machinery that turns lost girls into profit for unscrupulous men churns and grinds away their lives.

See, I'm really uneasy about this logic - certainly it's a better approach than, like, "look at all the meth-heads who are dumb enough to get into this business, now let's go watch some porn", which is where a lot of people go with this type of thing IME.… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:27 PM on March 9, 2013

TSA troubles
Actually, IIRC, we could bring small pocket knives to school when I was in high school.

We actually did have a stabbing (bullied kid turns on the bully, chases him down the hall, stabs him in the chest; bully had also bullied me pretty badly and consistently, so this gave me some complicated feelings) - turns out it's really hard to kill someone with a small pocket knife.

Of course, in my entire familiarity with that high school - about twenty… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:28 PM on March 9, 2013

Godwin Orwelled
It's worth noticing that right at the end of the essay Rall makes sure to point out that a young guy who was entrapped by the Feds into some kind of fake "blow up a Christmas tree in a crowded location" plot - a young guy who was Somali and thus I assume Muslim - "really meant it" and thus deserved to go to jail. Scary misogynist creeper who at the very least was using his cop powers to stalk women? A victim of jackbooted state thuggery! Young Somali dude who was actually… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2013

The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble
One story about his search for a new wife certainly bolstered this view. Shortly after his divorce, Frampton, then 64, expressed concern about finding a wife between the ages of 18 and 35, which Frampton understood to be the period when women are most fertile. One particularly promising candidate was a young Chinese woman.

It's relatively rare that misogynist entitlement actually lands a dude in jail. As someone who is basically anti-prison, I am… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:34 AM on March 8, 2013

#followmeto one paradise after another
Wouldn't it be awful if he had taken these same pictures but he and especially his girlfriend were just average-looking? Or his girlfriend didn't like to wear really short shorts? Or worse, if they were old? Or still worse, fat? That would totally mar the experience and the concept.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:43 AM on March 7, 2013

Hotkey ',' to Corner the Global Energy Market.
I have stolen a tray and used it as a sled - admittedly, this was in 1993 and it was a different world. The practice was called traying, and it was wonderful - trays make great sleds. College students today probably just take trays to make porn photos on tumblr or something; things have gotten a lot more sophisticated than when I was that age.

I recognize, though, that there is a problem involved in all of this - the people who take the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:25 AM on March 7, 2013
I don't know - my college dining experience was actually pretty healthy, and the food court that we have here at the Large Land Grant Institution is just jumped up fast food, basically - pizza or bagels and cream cheese or fancy-yet-very-caloric mexican food for every meal is just way more fat and salt and calories than a pretty ordinary plate of, like, the Sunday red-beans-and-rice or the pretty ordinary sandwich bar and salad choices we had. I don't know what I'd do if I were a college kid… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:53 AM on March 7, 2013
My college went from having (when I was there) real staff who got paid meaningful wages and benefits and who were employees of the college (and therefore, whose kids got the employee tuition break) to being an outsourced service (shortly after I left). The outsourced service was more deluxe, or so I hear - pizza available at every non-breakfast meal, fancier desserts - but the wages were shitty, the benefits were shitty and the cafeteria workers lost the tuition break. And this at a nominally… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:33 AM on March 7, 2013

2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years
I'm not actually worried about the whole "you live in the city what will you do when there is less food" thing, or the "buy farmland and train your kids to [do useful thing]" line.

What do you all think is going to happen when there are shortages massive enough to affect those of us in the well-situated parts of the world? Do you think government is going to disappear and the lucky and smart will retreat to their farms? No,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:30 AM on March 6, 2013
At this rate, why should I bother putting money in my 401k?

I was just talking with a friend about whether we thought things were going to be bad enough fast enough that we didn't need to worry about retirement. Our consensus was that we were slightly too old (late thirties and late forties) to trust to total social collapse coming in time.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:55 AM on March 6, 2013

Don't call it the Harlem Shake
The dance "craze" at the time was best described as "white man's overbite"—if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about.

What is the white man's overbite? I must know.

I've played music at some dance parties where the vast majority of people were white...I have mixed feelings about the whole "lol white people dancing" thing because if you spend some time watching a white… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:48 AM on March 5, 2013
Yes, we can all say that if I dance at all to popular music I am dancing styles originated by African Americans and therefore [reducing arguments about race, context and specifics to a flat abstraction]. But I'm still going to look and feel stupid if I try to twerk, and I'm still going to have people of color who I actually know think that it's a stupid, bad, culturally appropriative idea, even though they don't care if I'm also out there flailing away to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:59 AM on March 5, 2013

How Pegging Can Save the World
I read the Hugo "planning to murder his ex" piece when it was live. This is what I remember:

That he decided that he and his girlfriend would both be better off dead - both were depressed and messed up and drunks, if I remember correctly. He tried to kill them by turning on the gas but it didn't work.

The part that was creepy to a lot of people was how he had this whole sort of gross "I am so special and I was really messed up… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:43 PM on March 1, 2013
Or did he actually turn on the gas? Maybe he just planned to and was too high? Oh lord it was creepy though.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:44 PM on March 1, 2013
I mean, what would be nice would be if people could work through their anxieties (which I think are kind of about homophobia and toxic ideas of masculinity and femininity) to the point where people could genuinely try this whole pegging business to see whether they'd like it, not because it would be a social justice transformation but because quite a few people enjoy the process and it seems a shame to miss out because you have stupid received ideas that men… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2013

Privilege to pee
a) "The whole idea of 'gender' is a social construct and completely meaningless/damaging, especially to gay men and all women"

b) "My child is VERY firm in being a male/female and must be treated by these same norms as he/she wishes regardless of the wishes of the cisgendered majority"

This is actually an interesting question!

I feel like it's sort of a trick question, though,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:02 PM on February 27, 2013
Don't get me wrong - I'm all for allowing people who have gender-reassignment surgery switch the bathroom they use. These people have made significant sacrifices to change their lifestyle, so I'm willing to assume good faith on their part."

Until I started actually learning about this stuff, both for myself and because of my milieu, I had a lot of wrong ideas about how easy it is to access and afford gender-reassignment surgery,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:08 PM on February 27, 2013
I actually would like all the biological details. I know that surgery is expensive, and I have friends who can't afford it and have fundraisers and such, but I do not have any trans friends who do not want the surgery on anything but financial grounds. In fact, that has been raised a lot in the thread - that you have body parts that are wrong and don't belong there. I know if I woke up tomorrow with a penis I would freak out and try like hell to get it fixed. I cannot imagine, as a… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:20 PM on February 27, 2013
end up with a working

Okay, that was a hugely bad way to phrase that. "Working" genitals are the ones that do what you want them to do. I was trying to get at "some folks would prefer not to have a surgically created penis that does not function in the way that a non-surgically-created one does in terms of getting hard and getting not-hard, etc".

I want to state clearly that everyone gets to pick!… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:27 PM on February 27, 2013
Including, among others, that they like the genitalia they currently have and see no need to change.

That too! I was thinking that but somehow got nervous about saying it because I feel some anxiety myself about not wanting to change certain aspects of my gender presentation and body because I am comfortable with them for me, even if they may read as feminine.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:30 PM on February 27, 2013
Also, thread, we seem to have forgotten that trans men exist. Either because of the situation in the FPP or because it's lazy to talk about trans women as a dangerous other, I don't know.

Trans men get a pass on a lot of this stuff while everyone panics about trans women, I think, due to a weird mixture of sexism and misogyny - it's really all about the centrality of cis men and their anxieties about their genitals. A trans woman must not be a real… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:13 AM on February 28, 2013
You know what? I've seen some penises in my time and they did not blind me. I am alternately bemused and disturbed by this whole "there is a penis in the locker room! Whatever shall we do?" line. If there's someone staring at you or behaving badly in some other way in the locker room, it's reasonable to complain. If you're not expecting a penis-having person in the locker room, it's reasonable to find out what is going on; if you are a penis-having person who… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:15 PM on March 1, 2013
(I add that as a girl-living person of eight years old, I was actively instructed by the staff at my local YMCA to use the boys' locker room - there was some work being done on the girls', the boys' was supposed to be cleared out for girls to use, but between the time that I left my stuff there and the time my swim lesson ended, the staff had finished the work and (very stupidly) decided that now girls should go back in the girls and boys in the boys. (I assumed they'd been… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:24 PM on March 1, 2013

Also, who is harmed by this accomodation? Colleen Francis still was able to use the locker room - even the main, big one. The swim team of girls got to have their own space.

Honestly, the accommodation is "eh" to me - I think things like that need to be worked out among people who treat each other respectfully as individuals. In some situations, that accommodation could be respectful - like, if Colleen Francis felt comfortable… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:35 PM on March 1, 2013

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