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wj: you asked: One interesting question, which you might have some insight into, is why girls don't have that same insecurity. Or, if they do, how their reaction differs. Girls are *plenty* insecure, of course, but it's different. The core difference is that, for a boy (and man), femininity is seen as *degrading*, a loss of the status they already have. Girls know that they *start* from a position of lower status. Being "feminine" doesn't raise your status by itself, it's presented as a way to make yourself more lovable, and then if you're loved by a man that attraction or love raises your status. Girls (and women) get very insecure that they won't get or deserve love and status; boys (and men) are insecure about *losing* status. What's worse, for males, is that in our society, men are the default value of "people": (white, straight) men automatically have the status of "full human being". In other words, if you're not masculine, you're not *really* a person. So for boys, insecurity about your gender performance is actually existential: it determines not just whether you're going to be loved, but whether you're going to be a *person*. This is one respect in which I think the patriarchy is worse for men than for women. Being threatened with the loss of love is bad, but loss of personhood is much, much worse. And that's why guys who feel their masculinity threatened can go into a violent, toxic meltdown -- because it feels like an actual life-or-death threat.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2014 on Subtractive Masculinity at Obsidian Wings
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Actually, wj, this very good article by Logan Hill in Men's Health says that the training regimen for today's stars is *much* tougher than what Arnold did in the day. Yes, the fashion isn't for heavy muscles -- because it's impossible to put them on *quickly*. But Brad Pitt in "Fight Club" proved you could put on *some* muscle and lower your body fat into the basement, so you look really strongly muscled without being Arnold. What Hill's article shows is that the appearance demands for male stars are now even more unrealistic and difficult to maintain than the demands on female stars. The women have to get their weight down and keep it there, but the men have appearance goals that literally cannot be maintained -- they have to train to "peak" on specific shooting days (for shirtless or action scenes). And then do pushups right before the cameras start, to look as pumped as possible.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2014 on Subtractive Masculinity at Obsidian Wings
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Turb -- Wow, that may be the most extreme example of the "cootie effect" I've heard of yet. My jaw dropped watching that video -- not least because the moves overlap heavily with high-level *men's* gymnastics (especially the rings), and the incredible upper-body strength involved. What did R say, when you pointed out that his attempted macho-posturing couldn't possibly work?
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2014 on Subtractive Masculinity at Obsidian Wings
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wj: I actually think "keeping women in their place" was part of subtractive masculinity all along, that our culture was working with a basically subtractive model back to the late 1700s if not earlier. It just only became clear in the mid-20th century, and only became a fundamental marketing strategy in the late 20th century. Yes, I know what you mean about American comic characters of both sexes. Once you're used to manga/anime characters, characters in Western comics & animation all look ... inflated, or something.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2014 on Subtractive Masculinity at Obsidian Wings
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I want Ugh (or similar) to put up a post about the FCC and Net Neutrality and whether internet connections should be regulated like a public utility or why not. Because I don't feel as though I really understand it enough to put up a post. Though I suppose I could put up a "explain this to me" post.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2014 on Your wonderseat open thread at Obsidian Wings
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I'm struck by how many of you report power-cord issues with your laptops, regardless of brand. Sprog the Elder had so many power-cord problems with her old Lenovo that she swore she'd never buy that brand again, but maybe it's just something about the basic technology. They can't seem to make the right kind of connector between the poower supply (inside the laptop) and an external source.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2014 on The problem with laptops at Obsidian Wings
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Percysowner: I didn't know about the free cleaning service, that definitely tips the scales towards Apple when looking for college-student laptops. A *lot* of the problem with laptops is, well, *laps*: full of fibers and pet hair and crumbs and every kind of dust. No wonder they so often get fan/power supply problems.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2014 on The problem with laptops at Obsidian Wings
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Me too, joel, me too.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2014 on OH HUGO GERNSBACK NO at Obsidian Wings
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Just in time: MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU! Actually, Pi Day is my favorite -- because there's pie.
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Brett: That's one reason I don't care for non-fiction audiobooks -- you can't skim. But clearly "might get so boring you die" is another good reason. I'm heading out to NYC for a wedding now. Back late Sunday.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2014 on Hopey Changey Open Thread at Obsidian Wings
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Count: Quit it with the fat-shaming. Ailes' weight has *nothing* to do with it. Steve Jobs was also a massive jerk, despite having much less mass. And Jobs' arrogance, paranoia, and inability to listen to things he didn't want to hear cost him his life.
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My belief about the antisemitism is that Sayers was actually *trying* to be anti-antisemitic, while also faithfully depicting a pretty antisemitic society. For instance, the plot of Whose Body revolves (spoilers!) around a marriage between a Jewish man and an upper-class Englishwoman, and there is no indication whatsoever that Wimsey or his family disapprove of the match. When Lord Peter calls someone a "child of Abraham", for instance, I think he's trying to be *respectful*. Really! but within the parameters of his class and upbringing.
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Re: my understanding (or not) of the Golden Rule. I agree that as we usually understand it the Golden Rule is not threatening, it's exhorting. The threat is implied by logic, or something: if you have been using your power to treat people badly, you're basically telling everyone by your actions how you expect people in power to behave. It's related, IMHO, to the South's obsessive fear of slave insurrections before the Civil War, and of what freedmen might do after it. Although white Southerners always *phrased* it as "Negroes are terrible people! think what they would do!", there is nothing they were afraid of blacks doing that they had not done to blacks first and worse.
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McTX: I'm curious, what is the cultural or whatever difference between Houston & Dallas that you hate Dallas so much? From my distance, I tend to think of Texas as divided into "The People's Republic of Austin" and "Regular Texas" -- and I admit, a lot of my image of Regular Texas is from Dallas, the TV show.
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McTX: I know that in Atlanta there's a considerable racial element to the reluctance to extend mass transit enough to be truly useful. This is an effective block in part because Atlanta is a multi-county city, so it's easy (inevitable) that the counties struggle against each other over the issue. Do racial factors also come into play in Houston? Does the fact that it's a one-county city help, or not make any effective difference?
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I was going to bring up Hartmut's point re: how the CIA found Bin Laden. The method they chose, a fake vaccination campaign, should have been discarded out of hand as both morally reprehensible and likely to damage US reputation (and power and interests) for many years to come. The bad consequences were not merely "unintended", they were *obvious* and *huge*. Like invading Iraq without a post-war plan, I don't think it's honest to call the dead of thousands of children and a severe blow to US credibility "unintended consequences": they are either the result of damning unprofessionalism and incompetence, *or* of people who see the likely consequences and Just. Don't. Care. It's the old "Stupid or Evil? Why not both!" I'm in the camp who thinks that both the CIA and the NSA need to have their hard drives formatted. That is, we probably need *some* kind of "intelligence" services, but radically smaller and with a different structure and accountability.
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dr ngo: I notice that Hong Kong, too, is in a climate where mold and mildew must be unavoidable problems. It's possible that people there, like in Japan, have developed an expectation that houses will be short-lived, not something you're going to keep for generations.
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I've formed a theory about this, mostly after a couple of years reading Orchid64 about living in Japan. The climate of Japan's core Kansai region is like that of the southeastern US, even the Gulf Coast. This means that mold and mildew are, I gather, continual problems. Traditional Japanese home construction materials (paper, light wood) and home furnishings (cotton, straw) are *not* particularly mold-resistant. I hypothesize that instead of keep up a continual losing struggle against mold, Japanese culture has grown to value new, clean-looking materials for housing, furnishings, and textiles. For instance, there's more of a market for antique kimonos in the US than in Japan -- the Japanese do not expect old textiles to be other than musty. My theory, which is mine.
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johnw: It's a little hard to see why any misinterpretation of the Bible was needed to support slavery, since in the Bible, all the great and the good save a few prophets owned slaves. And this was precisely the argument that was being made in the US in the early 19th century. But remember, the abolitionists were *also* basing their beliefs on the Bible, and they could be plenty literalist (e.g. Wilberforce). The abolitionists said, yes, there are lots of slave-owners in the Bible, and there are verses about how you should treat your slaves. But the overall message of the Bible, both OT & NT, is to bend the arc of the universe toward Justice and Love. If you read the Bible such that some cherry-picked pro-slavery texts are *more important* than the message of Justice and Love, you are reading it wrong.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2014 on Who Ken Ham should really debate at Obsidian Wings
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It's not you, cleek, it's Typepad. I'm pulling russell out of the spam filter multiple times a day.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2014 on Who Ken Ham should really debate at Obsidian Wings
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I assume neither russell nor thompson has ever seriously worried about being turned away from a store, a job, housing, or a school because someone in power didn't like their kind. The trouble with saying "you shouldn't be forced to bake a cake" is that it is *exactly* the same thing as "you shouldn't be forced to serve everyone at your lunch counter." It's true that the apparatus of discrimination against gays in Kansas is less elaborate than the Jim Crow laws were, but that doesn't mean there isn't still systemic, institutional, and legal discrimination against them. If you have a business that serves the paying public you have an actual legal obligation to serve The Paying Public -- which means treating *everyone* as though the only thing that matters is the color of their money. The trouble with permitting "freedom of association" on the part of vendors is that *that trick never works*. It always ends up with invidious effects -- like, for instance, different price schedules for the Right People.
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Marty: The Dobe?!? google fails me.
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PJC (hi! long time no see!): writers just don't know how to make college interesting As I said to NV, it should be a piece of cake to make stories about 18-22 y.o.s interesting, whether they're in college or not. People change a *lot* in those years, in all kinds of ways that are naturally both dramatic and funny -- getting stories out of it *should* be laughably easy. But I think maybe the real problem is what you're talking about. People stay in high school whether they want to or not: it's something you *survive*. College is actually, at core, about *learning*: if you're not there to learn, you're doing it wrong. And even if they're more coasting than involved in the life of the mind, college students actually spend a lot of their time talking and thinking about their studies. TV is, generally speaking, crap about showing people thinking. But I may be being unfair to TV, a little, because I can't think offhand of many books about college-age kids, either -- much less the sort of book series that often gets made into TV shows.
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Nombrilisme Vide: a) Yes, HS is more universal. But most TV shows have specialized settings, especially those related to law and/or crime. b) high schoolers are probably more interested in HS than they are in college -- but generally speaking, when you're writing for young people, they're more interested in stories about kids at the *next* stage of development than they are in stories about characters their own age. Children look *up* -- classic example being that Seventeen magazine is never read by girls over 16. Teenagers *should* be eager for shows about 18-22 y.os, about college students and kids just leaving home. Most people change enormously in those years, whether they're in college or not, so the stories should come really easily.
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A couple weeks ago you ask me, lj, about my religious background. My parents, both of whom are still alive, had what was then called a "mixed marriage": my father is an Irish Catholic from Brooklyn, my mother a Swedish-German Lutheran from north-central Wisconsin. Both were and are leftists and intellectuals. My father's family was working-class in the 20s, very poor in the Depression; my mother's family were factory-owners, so though things got tight in the 30s (*lots* of people living in the one house) they were never less than upper-middle class. They met in the 50s at the University of Wisconsin, thanks to the GI Bill. As was usual with Catholic "mixed marriages" in those days, my mother "had to sign a paper", she bitterly recalled, promising to raise the children as Catholics. So my brother & I went to Catholic church and Sunday School -- but to public school, not to the parochial school. I only realized years later that my father was part of the movement that led to the reforms of Vatican II: he was a close friend of Joe Cunneen, and there were always copies of CrossCurrents scattered about the house. My mother was always of a historical-intellectual bent: she was a charter subscriber to The Anchor Bible, volumes of which arrived on a regular basis. So I grew up in a household that was very seriously and devoutly Christian, but in a way that was intellectually liberal and flexible. Where it wasn't flexible was about social justice. Indeed, when she was 80 years old my mother made the wrenching decision to leave the Lutheran Church -- because the local Lutherans had decided that they had to reduce their budget, and they cut out the soup kitchen. She moved over to the Episcopal Church, which was also wrenching (she *hates* the English! she's not too keen on bells & smells!), but they at least are talking about Christianity as she understands it. And the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church are next to each other, so it's convenient -- though I think these days maybe they go to Episcopal services together most of the time, while my dad picks up extra Masses at the Catholic Church. And so now I'm a practicing Jew (never converted, but that's mostly because my husband doesn't feel comfortable with it), and my brother is a Catholic priest (Capuchin). Is this a great country, or what?
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