Being likable is easy.
January 5, 2019 9:19 AM   Subscribe

You should, of course, not be annoying. You must divine what this means. (SLNTAP)
posted by HotToddy (20 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
I remember when she was the likeable one, but now that she is an option, she isn't. ("An imagined date between two straight men", 2016.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:34 AM on January 5 [7 favorites]


What is NTAP?
posted by quaking fajita at 10:27 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri
posted by vespabelle at 10:30 AM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Foul language is for ill-bred people not fit to be seen in polite company, such as the president of the United States.

That is wonderfully ambiguous.
posted by TedW at 10:33 AM on January 5 [9 favorites]


Wow, this resonates. It's right up there with all the advice women get about how "there's nothing sexier than confidence," mixed in with all the comments about how nobody will ever be attracted to you (or want to hire you) if your pores are visible at high noon.

Screw that. Time to live life, speak truth, and let the world like it or not.
posted by rpfields at 10:44 AM on January 5 [11 favorites]


A little while a go I was having a conversation with a (male) friend and musing that I thought men tended to be more concerned with what's "normal" than women do, and that I thought maybe it was because there are traditionally more clearly defined paths to success for men: get a lot of sexual experience, make a lot of money (preferably in a professional or business career), etc., so that there's an objective yardstick by which to measure yourself, whereas women grow up knowing that almost everything we do is wrong in some way, so we're less likely to be concerned with what's "normal" because it really doesn't exist for us in the same way that it does for men.

My when I got to my point about almost everything we do being wrong in some way, my friend dismissively said "Oh, please." It was really upsetting. Waking up to this little item got me upset all over again. It's bad enough to be able to relate, from personal experience, to every single point she's making here, but then to have that lived experience dismissed out of hand . . . flames!
posted by HotToddy at 11:36 AM on January 5 [35 favorites]


I wish that was true HotToddy but I know so many women who spend every minute of the day fretting over what’s normal and how much guilt and shame they feel for everything they do and don’t do fast enough or cheerfully enough. I think it takes a certain degree of mindfulness to get past that and start saying who fuh-hucking caaaaares to all of it.

I thought this essay was very good. Especially in light of all the gen x folks on my timeline acting like they’re scandalized from hearing a SWAER WORD. Oh goodness no not THAT. From the generation that never shuts the fuck up about how square millennials are and how they spent the entire 80s and 90s doing drugs and having sex and punk rock maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAn. Give me a break.
posted by bleep at 12:02 PM on January 5 [8 favorites]


Never lecture. But, of course, you must be an expert.

I was having a conversation about Elizabeth Warren online recently and hit upon something I've been trying to articulate for a long time (as a MA born person who loves Warren): The issue with her being seen as uncharismatic is that she IS a downer. She has a clear, complex understanding of the harsh economic truths facing the middle class and she talks about them constantly. It's the reason she's working in politics. But that's inherently a bummer. She doesn't stick to vague platitudes and slogans like Bernie does (which is something I always found disheartening about him). But he gets to be a feisty hippy-jew grampa while she comes across as stern because she's ACTUALLY discussing the issues on a granular level. This combines with the pervasive kneejerk misogyny of our culture to make her read as unlikable.

My lady subscribes to all her campaign stuff, which is flooded with media about her family and her dogs and all sorts of folksy, charming things about her, but the media will not pick up on any of this stuff because there simply isn't an allowance made in the same way for a female politician to have both a wonky side and a folksy side. Contrast that with Obama or Paul Ryan. And Warren is NOT going to downplay her wonky side, because that's her point. We also won't allow her to just be a hyper-competent serious person, like some men get away with (see: every Trump cabinet member that was supposed to save us). Interviews with Warren will continue to be hugely informative with state-of-policy info about what is and isn't being done to level the playing field for the middle class, and a large part of the audience will just see stern woman being upset about something.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:02 PM on January 5 [43 favorites]


ctrl/f for "beer" ... and sure enough:

(Anyone would be glad to have a beer with you.)
posted by philip-random at 1:26 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


"She has a clear, complex understanding of the harsh economic truths facing the middle class and she talks about them constantly. It's the reason she's working in politics. But that's inherently a bummer. She doesn't stick to vague platitudes and slogans like Bernie does (which is something I always found disheartening about him). But he gets to be a feisty hippy-jew grampa while she comes across as stern because she's ACTUALLY discussing the issues on a granular level. This combines with the pervasive kneejerk misogyny of our culture to make her read as unlikable."

Yup. Honestly, I don't really like Bernie too much because he is vague and promises ponies. Warren actually knows things, like Hillary did, and we all know how that ended. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:05 PM on January 5 [20 favorites]


You must not float when placed in water.

Uh oh...

You must not be too familiar with cats.

I'm out.
posted by heatherlogan at 2:23 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


"You must not be seen exiting a clearing if the crops or the economy or the election fails." I'm hooting with laughter!
posted by feste at 3:26 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


See also.
posted by charmedimsure at 4:26 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Yup. Honestly, I don't really like Bernie too much because he is vague and promises ponies. Warren actually knows things, like Hillary did, and we all know how that ended. Sigh.

For sure. That’s probably why people with no sense of policy whatsoever like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez supported his platform with many hours of their own time.
posted by invitapriore at 9:07 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the state of liking starts with one's own choice to be appreciative of another. The accusation "You're not likable" can mean "I'm refusing to make the effort to educate myself on how to appreciate you".
posted by otherchaz at 5:49 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


NTAP = National Treasure Alexadra Petri
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 10:05 AM on January 6


America loves women like Hillary Clinton–as long as they’re not asking for a promotion

Sadly, her final paragraph has not come to pass: Personally, I think that we’ll start liking Clinton again sooner rather than later. After all, she can’t keep campaigning forever. If she loses the Democratic primaries or the general election, she’ll have run out of rungs to climb. The loss would let us forgive her.

Instead she is permanently framed in her act of seeking the promotion and failing to get it.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:16 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


On a personal level I have always been entertained by the men who felt the need to explain how my feminism and ambiguously lesbianish clothes and lack of interest in pretending all men were smarter than me was going to ruin!!! my prospects!! with men! OMG!

"Are you... AWARE.... that men don't like women who aren't catering to this sad flat stereotype of what men care about?"
"Are you...AWARE.... that I have been dating dudes forever and this hasn't been a problem since high school when everyone was stupid and had acne?"
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:22 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


For sure. That’s probably why people with no sense of policy whatsoever like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez supported his platform with many hours of their own time.

To be fair, I think Ocasio-Cortez is what you want in a young politician. There is a place and a utility to slightly nebulous idealism in politics, and it's a spirit you hope never quite goes out once said politician finds a niche and gets to work. But Bernie is an elder statesmen. I have no doubt that he's got his wonk chops, but he almost seemed to be hiding them, like he was afraid to make a serious argument, even though I think he was 99% in the right. As for Ocasio-Cortez, she's smart, fearless, and motivated. Going into politics is an exercise in exposing yourself to endless corrosive cynicism, and I believe in the strength of her ideals and adaptability.

on review, being unambiguously socialist is actually a pretty bold move in US politics, and I may not be giving Bernie enough credit for shrewdly avoiding nuance
posted by es_de_bah at 8:29 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The details of Sanders' platform were and remain publicly available for scrutiny. The disconnect, I think, comes from the fact that those details are derived forwardly from basic ethical principles concerning what a society owes to the individuals that comprise it, and from there it enumerates the necessary modifications to our current system of governance to realize those principles. The neoliberal approach, on the other hand, has two classes of principles: the inalienable ones concerning how government and political economy is structured, and the negotiable ones, concerning, again, what a society owes to the individuals that comprise it. Mainline Democrats seek to satisfy the principles of the latter class to the greatest extent possible without violating the principles of the former (since the maintenance of the former class benefits them heavily), and Republicans seek to satisfy the former class at all costs, even expand it, since they've developed an effective rhetorical machine that lets them do so while still appealing to a sizeable demographic that doesn't actually benefit from the current structure of government or political economy.

Since those same mainline Democrats benefit so much from the system as it is (even if only because they're now financially beholden to interests that benefit from it even more), it's in their interest to portray platforms that entail some radical change to that system as unrealistic, and moreover to portray the candidates that run on those platforms as idealists unconnected from reality. People like Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez are pretty obviously not under the impression that they would or will be immediately able to realize their vision of a truly equitable society if elected to whatever office they might be, but they know that rhetoric and policy are deeply intertwined, and since they have no obligation to temper their rhetoric or policy in response to the wishes of wealthy donors, they can use rhetoric to enhance the likelihood of equitable policy being enacted. Just look at how the conversation of Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a 70% marginal tax rate is going: all of a sudden, we have the media concerning themselves with the question of whether that's reasonable, or whether it could work (and thereby normalizing it!), as opposed to asking the same questions about immigration bans or tax cuts for the wealthy or whatever nasty shit is coming from Republicans right now. They're not stupid idealists: they know that this is a long process of adjusting norms, and that's the function of their rhetoric. Meanwhile, the wonks who advocate incremental change and caution against any radical measures are doing so because their fortunes would suffer, or the fortunes of the people who ensure their fortunes would suffer. Clinton advocates against immigration to the EU, Biden defends billionaires against any class-based criticism, the pattern should be clear. Their "realism" is self-serving and self-enforcing, but it has very little connection to reality in any sense that matters to most people who live in this country.
posted by invitapriore at 5:37 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


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