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Creative Commons License

 

The Very Best Background Noise

Posted by Ogged
on 07.26.17

My mind is going, so I might have just posted about this, but we need a TV show to watch. We only kind of "watch" when we're watching (I'm coding, my wife is charting) so it can't be something that requires sustained concentration, or relies on small details for its effects (nothing novelistic like The Wire or Mad Men). It can also include only a teeny tiny bit of violence, or my wife won't watch it. And it can't be a straight comedy, or I won't watch it. Recent success: Master of None. Recent near misses: Luther (good, but a little overheated for pleasant night-time viewing--I realize we sound 80), Lost (we tried to get into this, gave up halfway through the first season, read the plot summaries, and thought "good call").

It seems like there a million TV shows these days, so surely there are a few that fit the bill.



 

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Long way to go. Three days to get there.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.25.17

We're starting the drive to Montana tomorrow. I'm looking forward to listening to hours and hours of My Favorite Murder. It's so great. (I've only barely listened to it, but it was easy to fall in love.)



 

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Your Day In Politics

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.17

--Are we allowed to make fun of Jared Kushner looking and sounding like a slightly dim mid-pubescent?

--I've always disliked John McCain, so this dramatic rising from his deathbed to fuck the poor seems fitting, but he's a complicated guy and I can see why others might feel differently.

--Jeff Sessions, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.



 

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The Big Sick

Posted by Ogged
on 07.25.17

Is good. It does a couple of things very well. First, you really get a feel for why Kumail and Emily fall for each other. So many falling in love movie narratives are just I met this person and this person is pretty and look at us being adorkable together. Here, they each have convincingly idiosyncratic ways of interacting with people, and you see it dawn on each of them that the other is an amazing surprise.

Second, the moments where Kumail says or does something unsympathetic don't feel like forced attempts to "complicate" the character, and there's no attempt to elicit sympathy for a faux pas. It just sounds like a believably jerky moment. I wonder if that's a product of Nanjiani and Gordon having co-written it, so that he couldn't even subconsciously spin it to his benefit.

There's also a bunch of good stuff with both sets of parents. Recommended!



 

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Honest Caretakers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.24.17

Enjoy a good, righteous, and entirely justified angry rant.



 

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Deez

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.24.17

Have a long, tiring story of the Hatfields and McCoys of truck nutz. I keep saying that one day I'll start carrying a pair of scissors and a little white string - then the next time I see a pair in a parking lot, I could liberate them and replace them with a tampon string. But honestly, it's been a while since I've noticed a pair.



 

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du jour

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.23.17

Mango chili lime is having a moment, yes? I like it a lot. For funsie, I put some siracha sauce (a sauce whose moment has passed, I think, and has returned to being regular old siracha sauce) on some slices of mango and thought it was sooooo good. Just the faintest little bit, so as not to overpower the mango.



 

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Sunday wtfuckery?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.23.17

Sean Spicer lugging the fridge down the driveway is the best.

Just like every week, I think, "Surely this is the week when everything collapses dramatically and irrefutably." But by some measures, the collapse has already begun, and by other measures, it will never be irrefutable. It's so unsatisfying.



 

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Guest Post - The Online Right (and Left)

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.22.17

Nick S writes: Vox has an interview with the author of a book about the alt-right, which includes this definition which describes it in a way that I hadn't seen before:

[Angela Nagle]: If they're using the term in the strict sense, it says they're against the idea that problems in society are socially constructed or even that most of our experiences are socially constructed. So they would say that gender is not socially constructed but a biological category. They say the same thing about race. They reject the idea that America is founded on abstract principles and instead believe it's a product of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and that it could be no other way.

[Sean Illing]: I always wonder when it comes to stuff like this if it's more about a mischievous contrarianism or if they actually believe what they're propounding.

[Angela Nagle]: I think a lot of them start off by trolling and doing the anti-PC thing and resisting what they feel is dogma being shoved down their throats by liberal professors and parents, but where do you go from there? Do you reject all of these principles? There's not much else there in the way of new ideas to replace them, so it's very easy to end up going very far to the right at that point.

That sounds like a weird and somewhat surprising place to end up at intellectually. If true, I wonder how that relates to another comment I've seen about the alt-right which is that it celebrates weakness and failure as much as strength. A belief that major problems in society are based immutable reality has the effect of saying that it doesn't matter what an individual does to respond to those issues -- including ways that could be bad for either society or for the person in question.

Also, for reference, a link to a previous post on the subject.

Separately, the interview also end up being surprisingly critical of particular elements of the online left:

[Angela Nagle]: I think that you cannot take the left out of the picture and make any sense of what's going on, because particularly in these very online younger forms of politics, there was a battle of the subcultures going on online and then it spilled over into campus stuff as that generation of teenagers went to college.

People on the left were annoyed with me because they thought I portrayed a very small subculture on the left as representative of the left in general, but I don't think that's the case. I had to describe the online left accurately as I saw it, and the right was in an absolute state of panic about the fact that they were seeing all of these things happening on college campuses: speakers being shut down, platforms being denied, large groups of people ganging up on dissident voices.

...

What I criticized wasn't identity politics in general but a specific version of identity politics that was about performative wokeness, and in particular the reason I didn't like it was because it was very inclined to censor and it was very inclined to gang up on people. I hate that, and I think it deserves to be criticized

I'd be inclined to treat that as an overreaction. However I recently came across a of articles (which I see, looking them up, are from 2015) about "calling-out" vs "calling-in" which just sound exhausting and make that flavor of activism sound like not much fun.

Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and language use by others. People can be called out for statements and actions that are sexist, racist, ableist, and the list goes on. Because call-outs tend to be public, they can enable a particularly armchair and academic brand of activism: one in which the act of calling out is seen as an end in itself.

What makes call-out culture so toxic is not necessarily its frequency so much as the nature and performance of the call-out itself. Especially in online venues like Twitter and Facebook, calling someone out isn't just a private interaction between two individuals: it's a public performance where people can demonstrate their wit or how pure their politics are. Indeed, sometimes it can feel like the performance itself is more significant than the content of the call-out. This is why "calling in" has been proposed as an alternative to calling out: calling in means speaking privately with an individual who has done some wrong, in order to address the behaviour without making a spectacle of the address itself.

I have no interest in criticizing people who are doing the work, and I'm not part of either online left-wing groups or activist-y groups. But I would be interested in hearing from people who are to find out how much of that dynamic goes on?

Heebie's take: First rule - no false equivalences here about the online right and the online left. One is perpetuating morally abhorrent practices, and the other is sometimes bossy and smug, and the first is also sometimes bossy and smug. Both are bossy and smug.

On the alt-right: there's a certain kind of CS undergraduate who doesn't believe in shades of gray and thinks they're smarter than their humanities professor because they're better at algebra than she is. It's a dangerous combination of very concrete thinking and arrogance.

On the alt-left: "Performative wokeness" does capture something that I also found grating back when I was a young adult. That phrase itself is almost too ridiculous to utter. Sane people observe ostentatious wokality and are reminded that all of humanity is annoying. Insane people observe it and drift towards the alt-right.



 

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