Re: Smelly boys

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It would be really great if boys were socialized more like girls.

I'm guessing the girls don't spit tobacco into pop cans with the top ripped open either. They must have been tough enough not to need to spit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:51 AM
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There's certainly a huge gender difference in how compliant boys and girls are socialized to be. I've been thinking about this from another angle over the last couple of days, and I have the impression that in a lot of adult professional contexts, socialized compliance is perceived as a negative -- as signalling a lack of initiative or skill -- and systems are set up so that compliance with explicit rules often precludes success.

So, socializing boys to be non-compliant works as a bit of a lottery -- it screws some of them over, because it's harder to actually get an education behaving that way. But for those who manage to make it to the workforce with an acceptable level of skills, it gets rewarded.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:52 AM
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It would be really great if boys were socialized more like girls.

Yeah, why should y'all get all the eating disorders?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:56 AM
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Yeah, why should y'all get all the eating disorders?

Apparently, the boys aren't good enough with math to count calories.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:59 AM
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Professor Heebie G reminds me of that other famous Professor H.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:00 AM
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Stuffwhitepeople Like University did extensive surveys of its students on all sorts of matters like this, and found huge gender gaps, particularly on measures of public service. Women were very expressed interest and actually participated in all sorts of things to benefit our community (Crystal Meth County, NY). They also listed things like "doing good in the world" as important factors in their career choice. Boys, not so much. Not at all, really.

(Since the female college students are being mature here, I'm going to call them "women." Since the males are being immature, I will call them "boys.")


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:03 AM
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Are we allowed to make math club jokes?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:04 AM
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I think part of the problem is that boys often are socialized to become _men_, either.

It's hard to talk about these things without sounding like some retrogressive chauvinist hankering after days of yore, or some ancient duffer hankering after National Service, and that _really_ isn't what I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:06 AM
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Gah.

aren't socialized to become men, I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:06 AM
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Are we allowed to complain that nobody was sending college age females into my math class when I was in middle school?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:06 AM
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10: No.

And I think that ttaM is pretty much right. The endless fratboy period that is apparently the norm nowadays is just ridiculous.

I'm not a blame-the-Boomers kind of guy, but is this their fault, for never wanting to grow up and become The Man. Which, in effect, has meant that they get older and get more responsibility, but refuse to take on the trappings of responsibility*, which means 50-y.o. men acting like children.

* we'll set aside whether they ever became responsible


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:15 AM
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...systems are set up so that compliance with explicit rules often precludes success.

This drives me up the fucking wall. There are a lot of situations where there are explicit rules that are in fact not the real rules. The real rules require or at least condone violation of the formal rules, and violating the real rules gets you slapped down hard, while violating the formal ones does not (unless you cross the wrong people).

I like clarity and I hate cheaters. That leaves me at a double disadvantage in these situations. I don't object to skirting the rules if the rules are inappropriate, but I have a hard time with the notion that the formal rules should be ignored while some other set of informal (and often equally arbitrary) rules is sacrosanct. Once you're across the line, IMO, you're just making it up as you go along, and my arbitrary self serving rules are just as valid as yours.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:15 AM
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I don't mean, btw, that ttaM's explanation covers the whole thing - LB makes an extremely good point - but that it's a big chunk of the problem.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:16 AM
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In general I don't think age 18 is a great time to go to college, and that goes double for young men. A year or two of doing something else (either overly productive or just exploratory; just as long as it's not actively anti-social) is highly recommended.

there's a big difference between a 20-year-old man with a couple of years of figuring out the world under his belt, and an 18-year-old who's just proceeded along the conveyor belt from HS to college.

Unfortunately, I don't think we're well set up right now as a society to manage that gap transition. Instead, there's immense focus on making sure that boys especially don't fall *off* the path, and it's hard to blame people for focusing on that because there are often such harsh social consequences if you do. (I'm thinking in particular of young men from working-class, poor, and/or ethnic minority backgrounds.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:17 AM
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In retrospect, I think if I had figured out the whole "hygene" thing when I was in college, I probably would have gotten laid a lot more. This is a selling point that may actually have traction with the college-aged male demographic.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:17 AM
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8.1 is correct for some values of _men_.

For at least some people the endless fratboy phase *is* what it means to be a man (Kim DuToit is the type specimen).


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:20 AM
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12: And that's just arbitrary power in a nutshell, isn't it? Everyone speeds, so the cops get to pull over and harass (or let go with just a warning) whomever they wish. If the boss doesn't like the mouthy guy, then he needs to shut up and go through channels; if he likes the mouthy guy, then he gets rewarded for being willing to speak his mind. Etc.

I straddle this a bit (also the issues in the OP) - I'm too goody-goody to be a true slacker or rule-breaker, but I'm smart enough to get away with a fair bit of slack and clever/nice enough to get away with being the mouthy guy. I will say that I was always the type to volunteer - I never had that sense of irresponsibility. I don't do anything charitable now, which I feel kind of bad about, but goddamn I've got a lot on my plate.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:23 AM
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3, 14: The formal rules are all too often set-up by somebody who doesn't actually have to get anything done and whose only incentive is to avoid getting sued or having 60 minutes show-up at the door. The rules may make somebody else's job take twice as long or impossible to do while actually following the rules, but that is somebody else's problem. The informal rules have a better chance of being set by somebody who actually does something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:23 AM
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18 was to 3 and 12. I blame poor socialization and the fact that my middle school math class had no 20 year old tutors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:24 AM
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Whatever, dudes.

(scratches armpit)

Gonna go walk dogs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:25 AM
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Women were very expressed interest and actually participated in all sorts of things to benefit our community (Crystal Meth County, NY). They also listed things like "doing good in the world" as important factors in their career choice. Boys, not so much.

This is interesting because it's actually two separate issues. The career choice part doesn't surprise me -- men are repeatedly told that they have to be providers; "do-gooder" careers are repeatedly coded as female; it's not hard to figure out why young men (as a class, not individually) might not be jumping up and down to say they wanted a (low-paying) do-gooder job.

But the community-building activities while in college is frustrating and discouraging. It certainly tracks my anecdotal experience -- while I know men who did tutoring and anti-violence and making-the-campus-or-the-world-better activities in college, they are the exception. Whereas a significant number of the women I know were involved in those sorts of activities (some good, some bad -- but they did them).

To ttaM's point, I think part of it has to do with how we (fail to) socialize boys into manhood. The men I know who are most engaged with the world were raised by adults who actively and consciously encouraged an other-oriented response to the world (as opposed to just self-oriented).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:25 AM
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I am in the midst of writing undergrad letters of recommendation for summer internships and the like. I ask them to send a little list of stuff that makes them specially qualified or that they're hoping I'll mention. It is striking how the women tend to respond with an overview of their clinical/servicey volunteer experience, while the men tend to respond with an overview of their take-charge personalities.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:27 AM
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This behavior by women is disappointing in the extreme, in a world where we've been striving for decades to turn people into the emotionless seekers of personal gain that will be needed to compete with their fellow citizens, the sleek and rational corporations.

Of course, it's a shame that men don't think with more of a long-term framework either.


Posted by: Opinionated Economist | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:29 AM
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An Unsocialized Boy ...not nice like Hutchinson, Collins, and DiFi.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:30 AM
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18 is correct up to a point. Incompetently drawn up rules are part of the problem, but there's also the issue in 17.1 and the fact that even competently written rules get bypassed when it suits people and there are informal rules about when that is and is not OK. My Ex had an outstanding sense of what she could get away with in this regard, and it shows in her ability to get ahead. I, OTOH, have the social intelligence of a potted plant, meaning I'm almost certain to get busted if I break the formal rules since I have no clue about what the informal ones are.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:31 AM
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17.1 is very much the case.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:36 AM
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social intelligence

Yes, in my observation the skills required to identify the formal rules are really different than the skills you need to identify the informal rules. Most people seem to be better at one than the other.

For many people, the informal rules of their own society or social group are invisible, which can be really costly if you end up in a different group.

If you adapt to a new group by just learning the formal rulebook, you're likely to get some funny and not-so-funny surprises.

If you use the informal rules of the old group in the new group, you're also likely to get some harsh surprises.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:36 AM
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I, OTOH, have the social intelligence of a potted plant, meaning I'm almost certain to get busted if I break the formal rules since I have no clue about what the informal ones are.

Outside of certain neurological disorders, you can build your social intelligence. It involves carefully watching other people and listening to a ton of really boring stories. It's probably easier to just follow the rules.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:37 AM
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Inside of certain neurological disorders, it's too dark to read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:38 AM
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Yes, in my observation the skills required to identify the formal rules are really different than the skills you need to identify the informal rules. Most people seem to be better at one than the other.

That's true. In my experience, the people who write the formal rules need to be beaten over the head until they learn to come to the point in fewer words.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:46 AM
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Disorder
You know say daddy me socialize me fail
A licky boom-boom down


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:48 AM
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31 me.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:49 AM
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I've just moved into a new job (with, like, a tiny pay increase which will be entirely eaten up by furlough days this year) and have been working with the person who replaced me in my old job as a secretary to a Very Large Research Lab.

This has revealed to me that I've been either dumb or spectrum-y all along, because she -- very high-powered and competent but not actually a better fit than I was--has basically refused to do all the really pointless parts of my job and gotten them dropped. She's also refusing to do all the little time-waster cosseting things like calling in other people's IT problems even though this makes it harder for both the IT person and the secretary than if the actual computer owner called in the problem. And they've fancied up her office! And done all these things they made noises about doing for me but never actually did!

And it's purely because I'm very literal and approached that job as "do exactly what you're told, no pushback, and be grateful that anyone would hire you". I was joking with her about how I was a doormat and then I realized that, yes, I am. And this is why I will have a lower-middle-class pink-collar job all my days, because I can't read the unwritten rules.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:58 AM
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1) I have no clue about the appropriate way to participate in this thread, although it certainly feels like an appropriate thread to troll.

2) The Ueberfraulein makes her own rules! You can't become partially free, or conditionally socialized. It's like, ya know, moving from the deontological to the consequential ground.

3) Watched this show last night on a Tony Kushner/Meryl Streep production of Mutter Courage and Her Kinder. A lot of info about Brecht; Brecht's HUAC testimony was hilarious. Streep was a little off, she has been strutting and swaggering for twenty years now, and has a tough time time playing beaten and broken.

But as far as rules and socialization and any expected payoff from being a good or smart kid...the play seems relevant. Break them all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:01 AM
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20 to 34.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:03 AM
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I'm really appreciating 34.1.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:06 AM
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While 30.2 makes an excellent point, the biggest challenge I see is not that the formal rules are unclear, but that the informal rules assume a homogeneity that does not exist.

Here's an example:

Imagine a young teenager standing in front of an audience telling a story about a terrible injury that he suffered. He tells the story calmly, without overt emotion. At the end there is silence. Nobody expresses concern or sympathy. Nobody says they are sorry for what happened to him (as in regretful, not as in apologetic). Nobody goes up and hugs him. Nobody squeezes his hand. The moderator awkwardly asks him a handful of demographic questions and then as he sits down there is scattered applause.

That, to me, is a terrible case of informal-rules collision. The informal rules of the group in power included: "Do not say anything that indicates partisanship or belief of the person testifying," "Do not say anything that could cause you to seem to accept responsibility for the injury," and "Assume that person is not distressed unless they cry."

The informal rules of other groups present included "Assume that anyone describing a great injury should receive sympathy and compassion," "Assume that the lack of expressions of such sympathy indicates cowardice and/or lack of belief in the witness's story."

You can't solve this problem by writing a formal rule that says "When faced with a bruised and bloodied victim, the moderator shall express sympathy."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:10 AM
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5: Why can't a boy be more like a girl?
Boys are all smelly, make me want to hurl.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:12 AM
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I'm not a blame-the-Boomers kind of guy, but is this their fault, for never wanting to grow up and become The Man.

I am a blame-the-boomers kind of guy, and it is their fault.

Also their fault: the decline of the importance of the labor movement in the political left.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:16 AM
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And Billy Joel.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:16 AM
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And the disconnect between formal and informal rules drives me absolutely insane as well.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:16 AM
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Heebie's Math Club.

I tend to agree with the people who situate the root of the problem with the boomers, but I'm not sure I don't blame the parents. I'm a boomer myself, but near the front of the boom and my father was 40 when I was born, so he was the age of most boomers' granddads, and the eternal frat boy strikes me as an argument for bringing back hanging and flogging.

I think the culpable generation is the one that was too young for WWII and too old to get their heads broken marching in the 60s - people whose working lives were mostly during the long boom, who never had any reason not to feel entitled or to take anything very seriously. And then they had children.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:19 AM
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Alright, I have a related question that I've wondered about for a long time:

My college years spanned from '90 to '95. Frats played a major, but not dominant, role in social activities at my mid-sized school. I witnessed and was aware of a fair amount of fratboyish activity. However, I feel as if, immediately after I graduated, unapologetic fratboy culture exploded - the style (Abercrombie), the childish misogyny (Maxim), the idiocy (gross-out movies).

Now, I know that Animal House came out in 1979 and was based on happenings 20 years before that - this isn't some pining for a nonexistent past when college boys were college men, discussing literature and treating women as human beings. What I'm trying to figure out is whether my sense - that this minority culture suddenly became dominant - is at all correct.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:20 AM
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I think it was slightly suppressed during the early 90's, what with grunge and all. The 80s were certainly glory years of frat holes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:21 AM
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Male homo sapiens have basically outlived their usefulness. Female-female reproduction for humans is right around the corner--let's go with it. Why try to fix what can be abandoned?

I'm semi-serious about this; men suck--especially in aggregate. I know.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:22 AM
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I'm not a blame-the-Boomers kind of person. I would much rather blame the right wing. If we're going to throw around loose cultural assertions, I think that the annoying-boy phenomenon has more to do with resistance to any real change to gender roles even as the critique of gender roles has been accepted. Why on earth would you want to grow up and become The Man? What exactly is so awesome about the much-critiqued heavy father who is all manly and authoritarian and despises emotions and brings in all the money and dumps his wife for a woman his daughter's age who then takes him for everything he's got, etc? And yet, not only would acting on the critique be scary and difficult but it would involve material loss of privilege. Culturally, dominant classes (men, white people, etc) want to give up the awful bits of being dominant but are afraid to lose the privileges. Hence, awful boys.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:23 AM
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45: Homo sapiens have outgrown their use. All the strangers came today . . .


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:24 AM
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I'm semi-serious about this; men suck--especially in aggregate. I know.

You really shouldn't be. Men don't suck in any ineradicable kind of way, and feeling that way about it just leads to unproductive despair.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:25 AM
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Culturally, dominant classes (men, white people, etc) want to give up the awful bits of being dominant but are afraid to lose the privileges

I yield to our esteemed colleague from Minnesota.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:25 AM
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42.2: Huh. My parents, and those of most of my good friends over the years, were born during WW2 - iow, pre-Boomer - and I've always felt that there was a certain cultural/parenting distinction between them and their Boomer near-peers. My cohort is about equally divided between kids of Boomers and kids of pre-Boomers, and I always identified best with the kids of pre-Boomers. There was none of that Boomer angst, no pining for the Summer of Love (when my mom was 7 months pregnant with my sister), no attempt by the parents to be friends to their kids.... I feel as if there was a sea change in parenting between those who gave birth before the Boom and those who gave birth during it.

But maybe this is all self-selection.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:27 AM
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leads to unproductive despair.

Is it time for a global warming thread?

Alternately:

If I didn't have unproductive despair, I wouldn't have any despair at all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:29 AM
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Culturally, dominant classes (men, white people, etc) want to give up the awful bits of being dominant but are afraid to lose the privileges.

Yes, but can't you still blame the Boomers for this? Surely lots of privileged people must have tried to give up the responsibilities tied to that privilege but until the Boomers, they mostly failed at it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:29 AM
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21: while I know men who did tutoring and anti-violence and making-the-campus-or-the-world-better activities in college, they are the exception

For real? 'Cause one of the things we always talk about in the anarchist scene is how the gender balance is skewed towards men, usually fairly young men (18-25). Now, partly that's because we can offer some perquisites that are lacking at say, the Crisis Nursery, like occasionally getting to run down the street yelling and smashing things. People usually attribute the usually pretty severe imbalance to a couple of things (1) in unstructured group meetings, it is very alienating to be someone who has not been socialized to keep yelling until their point is heard and (2) women in the scene wind up with too many household tasks, childcare responsibilities and emotional labor, so they don't get to do the stuff that makes a name for you in the scene as much. Interestingly, I'd say a lot of this is better than when I first got into the scene, despite the fact that I think people's basic gender politics have backslid.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:29 AM
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I am JRoth -- parents born 1938 and 1940, and they seemed very different from my friends' Boomer parents in the way JRoth describes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:30 AM
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54: Me also. Except I'm pretty much the same age as JRoth, so I can't disallow the idea that it was just the difference between people who had kids in their thirties and people who had kids in their twenties.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:33 AM
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55: I babysat for kids of Boomers who had kids in their thirties (my friends were kids of Boomers who had kids in their twenties), and I'd say Boomer parents were Boomer parents. The couples I was babysitting for had kids at the same age my parents did, but didn't resemble them in parenting style.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:35 AM
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I think suburbanization has a lot more to do with these changing patterns of middle-class child-rearing than generational differences (which still are a factor).
The whole process of taking people out of the cities and moving them to the land of no sidewalks could hardly help but be alienating. It's like, you have all the trappings of being wealthy of 100 years ago, more in fact because of all the new inventions, and yet you are less secure than ever, compared to the middle classes of yore. That's clearly going to generate some sturm und drang.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:36 AM
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46.last is, obviously, brilliant, but I'm not sure that the previous picture of being The Man is quite right. Or, rather, it's right about what being The Man was, and why that's undesirable, but it ignores what's desirable about being a Grownup (Male Division).

I have no interest in revisiting gender arguments - I have no idea whether "men act like this while women act like this" is inherent - but I do think it's functionally important for there to be visible role models for responsible adulthood that are gendered, if only because it seems to be that, otherwise, people will find shitty gendered models.

IOW, being Don Draper is no longer an option, on so many levels. For whatever reason, the Cliff Huxtable model failed, and so we're left with Will fucking Ferrel, and it sucks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:37 AM
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50: Boomer-wise, there are surely class/region/generation variations among them? My parents--Very Serious Heavy Father (except for the dumping the wife part) and Granddaughter-of-Authoritarian-Immigrants--are left-liberal politically but disapproved intensely of all that dancing, having fun, smoking pot, marching in protests, wearing silly clothes business. Critique of the boomers for their frivolity by my parents was pretty standard and constant in our household.

Running around with anarchists means I often meet older folks who don't act much like proper adults but who are really pleasant and not markedly irresponsible. Absolutely unlike most serious proper adults I know, they have interests beyond family and money-making (some interests being pretty dorky, I admit). They sing, or they raise birds, or they play the oud or the sacred harp, or they do other hippie kinds of things. And many of them have kids, generally perfectly presentable ones (one of the hippiest of them has a daughter who was heavily recruited by all kinds of Ivies). And they are in general not rich--it's not that they've outsourced the hard work of parenting or house-keeping. And I think these particular adults are directly the product of changed expectations about adulthood that came from the sixties. Lord, compare them to my sad parents!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:38 AM
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59: Well, yes. Ideally, the 60s would have led to a new model of adulthood incorporating responsibility and maturity without stifling conformity and stodgyness. In practice, it seems to often have gone the other way around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:41 AM
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57.1: I'm not one to shy from assigning importance to the built environment, but I don't think that I buy this at all - my dad grew up in very urban Chicago, my mom in a house her dad built at the edge of an industrial town in Connecticut, and I never lived anyplace non-suburban. I don't see any pattern there. And of course, my pre-college classmates were all suburban (in Miami there was busing for integration, but the black neighborhood was just as suburban as ours, complete with swimming pools).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:42 AM
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What's wrong with Will Ferrell? (Who is, interestingly, an early Xer with pre-Boomer parents.) He has decent Hollywood-left politics, he's funny, he doesn't indulge overmuch in the decadence.
If you want a real mascot for the frat boy-ization of New Jersey, Kevin Smith would be a much better choice.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:43 AM
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56: I guess in my social-circle being a non-Boomer's child was correlated being one of the younger siblings in a very large family*. I was pretty much the only kid with non-Boomer parents who was also the oldest child.

*"Hey, is your brother home and will he make a quick beer run for us?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:43 AM
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60 gets it exactly right.

I will say that my personal circle seems to be approaching that ideal, but I've no idea whether this is happening in large enough numbers to matter.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:44 AM
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57: I grew-up 160 miles from the anything that could be called a suburb.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:46 AM
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62: Nothing wrong with him as a human being, as far as I know. I don't imagine that he intends for the characters he plays to serve as role model for today's young men.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:46 AM
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to be visible role models for responsible adulthood that are gendered,

Part of the adult-frat-boy thing, I think, is backlash against feminism; a belief that behaving responsibly in a family/emotional context is disadvantageous to men in the absence of male dominance. Um, when I started writing this it seemed clearly to respond to the quoted language, but I've lost the connection -- does it make sense to anyone else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:46 AM
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61: But the sixties weren't that long ago! I would like it very much if deep-rooted and wide-reaching positive changes in behavior could be achieved in the course of a generation and their children, but I don't expect it. We're talking about a change in an understanding of parenting and adulthood which needs to be fairly subtle and complex and which involves relinquishing certain privileges. I will make vague verbal gestures about dialectics here.

I also wonder how, er, capitalism plays into this. Doesn't the perpetual man-boy spend more on consumer goods rather than socking money away for education, retirement, etc? Isn't this desirable in a consumer economy?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:46 AM
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62: Ferrell himself seems to be fine - and some of the Funny or Die stuff is quite good - but his SNL characters and his crotch-shot movies are nauseating. Farrely Bros. are probably more what I had in mind.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:47 AM
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My parents are anarchist hippie boomers; which, funnily enough, didn't involve cutting us much slack in terms of our behaviour. I always felt there was a noticeable difference between my peer group [born early 70s]* and kids even a couple of years younger. Most of immediate peers' parents were born in the 1940s. My parents were _very_ young when I was born, so the cohort I grew up with mostly had parents a good few years older than mine.

That ties into the rise of the frat sort of culture that jroth mentions above. My friends my age are hardly faultless from a feminist perspective, but there does seem to be a significant [negative] shift in gender attitudes once you go a few years younger than that.

I look at the males among my younger family members and I despair, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:47 AM
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68.2: Precisely!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:47 AM
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64: To be cheerful, mine too. I know plenty of responsible adult men who don't have the frat-boy thing going on at all -- my neighborhood is riddled with them. My sense of the dominance of frat-boy culture is much more media-driven than firsthand.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:47 AM
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60 is awesome.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:48 AM
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You can't solve this problem by writing a formal rule that says "When faced with a bruised and bloodied victim, the moderator shall express sympathy."

These seem like different rule-situations, not like workplace rules concerning, say, deadlines. I mean, what are the formal rules here?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:49 AM
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I guess in my social-circle being a non-Boomer's child was correlated being one of the younger siblings in a very large family

This, exactly - probably having older siblings was also part of the socialization that bound me together with my friends. I was just barely 7 when the '70s ended, but I was culturally aware of the '70s while my peers who were eldest siblings were more '80s-immersed (a lot of my cohort's touchstones from the '80s are things that I disdained at the time).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:49 AM
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70: And to be depressing again, the responsible adult men I'm thinking of are ttaM's age or older -- I don't know a lot of twenty-somethings other than through blog comments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:50 AM
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Ideally, the 60s would have led to a new model of adulthood incorporating responsibility and maturity without stifling conformity and stodgyness. In practice, it seems to often have gone the other way around.

It's been said with only a little exaggeration that the 60s in Britain happened to two thousand people in London. No doubt a similar formulation could be applied to the USA. For everybody else, the stifling conformity and stodgyness just kept on keeping on for another 25 years. That doesn't explain the explosion of irresponsibility and immaturity.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:50 AM
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I'm leery of generalizing about a cohort as huge and heterogenous as every American born over a 15-20 year span. My parents were both born in 1946, which puts them squarely in the baby boom, but really didn't/don't correspond to almost any of the commonly accepted stereotypes of that generation. And they weren't particularly different than the parents of the rest of my friends either.

For my money, the more likely culprit is the I-got-mine-so-fuck-you Reaganism of the 80s, which was not at all generationally bounded.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:50 AM
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re: 67

I think that's true among the middle-classes. My own younger male family members aren't really part of that culture at all. Being a couple of socio-economic classes below that. Their behaviour isn't really fratty in that way.

However, the fecklessness and failure to 'man up'* is definitely there.**

* for want of a better word ..

** much as I love them, it is a bit depressing ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:50 AM
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Doesn't the perpetual man-boy spend more on consumer goods rather than socking money away for education, retirement, etc? Isn't this desirable in a consumer economy?

Not solely a perpetual man-boy thing—it is well known that diamond engagement rings were, before they were the norm, marketed to men, rather than women, who would have preferred the money to be invested in a house or the like. (And diamonds are still basically all marketed at men, for their presumed effects on women.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:54 AM
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68.last - I was thinking about that as I wrote 58.last - was Cliff Huxtable torpedoed by Big Snackfood?

On hating Boomer parents: AB insisted on watching thirtysomething (a show I avoided at the time), and the first couple episodes made me want to put my fist through either a screen or the face of a self-indulgent Boomer parent. It gets better quickly, as the characters settle in a bit, but honestly, the first 2 episodes could be State's Evidence in any prosecution of Baby Boomers for awful solipsism. It's hard to believe that it was created by these people themselves.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:54 AM
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So with the Reagan era (and I hate the Reagan era! Also Margaret Thatcher!) what were the material underpinnings of the cultural shift? Presumably everyone didn't just voluntaristly decide to be selfish and evil and wear suits with big shoulders. I can make big gestures toward union-busting and the power of the military industrial complex generating first-tragedy-then-farce anti-left/anti-Soviet propaganda, but what else?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:55 AM
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61: Well, there can be counter-examples of course, but I'm thinking about the largest chunk of non-bohemian young men I know, the folx I met when I was back in college 02-05 and the people I worked with in my financial industry job from 05 to 09. Almost to a person, their lives were oriented around getting credentialed with a BA, getting a corporate job, buying a house or townhouse in the deep suburbs and spending most of their time doing nauseatingly normal things like barbecues, sports and very occasionally some kind of super-safe volunteer thing (through work) like Habitat for Humanity.
It just seems to me like the getting-a-place-in-the-suburbs is the keystone of the whole thing. You know, you show that you're an adult by conspicuous consumption, not by being a mensch (thinking of The Apartment here). I don't know that at their core the women of this class are so different, but all they'll ever tell you is BABIES! BABIES! CRUISE! BABIES! so it's hard to figure out where they stand.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:55 AM
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I don't know a lot of twenty-somethings other than through blog comments.

And they're just awful.

Hi, 74!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:57 AM
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81: Christ, I hated that show so much at the time. I remember it's defenders always repeating "But it's shot on filmmmmmmm!" Ugh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:58 AM
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Ugh: sans apostrophe.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:59 AM
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re: 81

Ditto. Mind you, I also mostly hated the fecking West Wing ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:03 AM
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"But it's shot on filmmmmmmm!"

No comprenny. As opposed to being shot at dawn, or what? (Actually that wouldn't have been such a bad idea, on the basis of the couple of episodes I saw.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:03 AM
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Catching up on a busy thread, I wanted to mention that the discussion of formal/informal rule systems above made me think of this rant by Clay Shirky which I just came across recently (via --> via)

I'm not concerned that women don't engage in enough building of self-confidence or self-esteem. I'm worried about something much simpler: not enough women have what it takes to behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks.

As somebody who is very bad at behaving like a self-aggrandizing jerk my immediate reaction was to be depressed, again, at how often that behavior is rewarded.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:04 AM
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88: As opposed to videotape -- it looks slightly different. But I don't think I ever saw an episode.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:04 AM
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re: 88

As opposed to video, I assume.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:04 AM
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82: Doesn't mindless cultural backlash get you most of the way there? As you've been saying, there was a lot of change/attempted change, very quickly, and on some level it was inevitable that there'd be a response against it. The fact that it coincided with 2 oil shocks and the deindustrialization of most of America is going to make it much more salient.

On some level, I think disco+oil crisis=Reagan. You had a new seemingly-dominant culture* correlating (in the minds of hoi polloi) with the worst economy anyone under the age of 50 could remember.

* maybe my sense of this is skewed, but I feel as if TV in the late 70s was dominated by youth-celebrating fluff like "Happy Days" and new-culture stuff like "MASH", "One Day at a Time," "The Jeffersons." It's worth noting that the Archie Bunkers of the world loved Archie Bunker, and thought that he got it exactly right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:05 AM
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82: That's a good question, and I don't have a ready answer. I suspect a large part of it was driven by racial resentment and gay panic following a period of tangible advances for minorities, but I can't marshal any evidence to support my theory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:05 AM
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Hmmm... I liked thirtysomething.

But I guess even then I was older and stupider than you folks.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:07 AM
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82: I think part of it was a "If that's the game, I'm going to take my ball and go home." In other words, somebody would say "If I've lost some of my privileges, I'm going to dump all of my responsibilities." Also, the Reagan tax cuts were a huge big deal and the ending of the rapid inflation of the 70s were a huge big deal in terms of increasing disposable income and reducing financial fear for the professional class.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:10 AM
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it just leads to unproductive despair.

Yeah, sure, "be constructive with your blues."

I would like to point out that it is possible to be anti-social or a-social, in some relevant sense, but not out of immaturity or ambitious careerism. Isn't the real problem the lack of compassion and empathy -- or, at least, the lack of an internalized sense that it is a good thing to consider and help other people (even if it doesn't feel good) -- not the other incidental things that happen to go along with being a young-ish dude?

Doesn't "You need to 'grow up', stop acting like a fratboy, improve your personal hygiene, drink fewer beers, stop smoking weed on the reg, stop playing those rad video games, watch better movies, ditch the comic books, etc." pale in comparison with "You have near sociopathic lack of concern for the well-being of the people in your community, consider 'doing good for others' to be effeminate, etc."?

Pairing lifestyle inessentials with essentials of moral foundation, social sympathy, etc. under the general rubric of 'growing up' makes for a much weaker charge.


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:11 AM
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semi-pwned by 92.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:11 AM
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94: Why did you like it, though? (I was not permitted after-dinner television until around 1990, so I didn't see it. On the face of it, it doesn't sound any worse than any other program about the better-off among middle class white people.)

(Your name reminds me that soon it will be marshmallow peep season, and I must decide whether to have a secret non-vegan peep binge as I did last year or to hold firm to my principles.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:11 AM
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83: I take your point, and there's definitely an alarming cohort of 2nd-generation suburbanites who can't conceive of a non-suburban lifestyle (but who may occasionally visit the city as a sort of Disneylike place) and are raising their children the same way. But I don't actually think there's a strong cause/effect here - as I said, we were raised wholly suburban*, but neither my sister nor I will ever live in suburbs.

* albeit with a strong link to NYC in our youth - we were half an hour by Metro-North from Grand Central, and "the City" loomed large in our consciousness.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:11 AM
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re: 93

That seems too simplistic, though. For example, today's twenty-somethings and teens seem genuinely less homophobic and racist. I realize that racial resentment and gay panic might still lead to a successor generation that doesn't really go in for either, but it does seem less obviously intuitive that that should be so.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:11 AM
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non-vegan peep

I'm surprised there are any identifiable organic ingredients at all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:13 AM
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today's twenty-somethings and teens seem genuinely less homophobic and racist

The pendulum swings, after all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:14 AM
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101: Hooves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:15 AM
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101: A quick google confirms that they contain gelatin. The same helpful website also offers advice on storing peeps "so that they will keep through the off season", remaining "fresh but not too ripe".

When I start my small business, I will be making vegan candy. Delicious vegan candy, such as roast pine-nut brittle.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:16 AM
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104: Brittle, that is, made from roasted pine nuts. Not brittle that has been roasted, because that would be messy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:17 AM
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100: But the point is that the backlash against those things, by people who had been raised without any notion of equal rights or even gays existing, led to a very reactionary age, which in turn led to reactionary kids - who are, as it happens, less racist and homophobic because they grew up in a post-'70s era.

IOW, the genie of race/sex/GLBT equality can't be put back in the bottle, and so those things progress inevitably*, but that doesn't stop people from freaking out about the situation and rejecting the entire liberal project.

* a bit less inevitably wrt sex, imo


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:17 AM
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104: I think the good brand of Swedish Fish is vegan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:17 AM
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107: It is! Basically any gummi, rather than chewy, candy is going to be out. All those Haribo fruits? Gelatin. Delicious Sour Fruity Pasta -- good to go!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:20 AM
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107: They are! I eat a lot of Swedish Fish. Also expensive fruit pectin gummy bears from the co-op when money is no object, because those things cost, for serious, about $11/pound.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:20 AM
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we were half an hour by Metro-North from Grand Central

Metro North goes to NJ?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:21 AM
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98: What did I like about thirtysomething?
Well, everybody complains about the characters' navel-gazing -- but to me that made the show much closer to my own experience of life than almost any other TV show. From a political perspective, its portrayal of gays was path-breaking, and late in its run it had a powerful anti-Gulf War episode.

It had lots of stupid stuff too, and I'm not claiming it was a great work of art....but as far as TV shows go I think it was very good.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:26 AM
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Basically any gummi, rather than chewy, candy is going to be out. All those Haribo fruits? Gelatin. Delicious Sour Fruity Pasta -- good to go!

I think a lot of gummy candies have pectin instead of gelatin, especially Japanese ones.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:26 AM
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Are we really seeing a decline in boy's behavior or an increase in boys being held accountable. Pre baby boom, if white boys misbehaved the way frat boys do now, it just got swept under the table. (Come to think of it, it still does.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:27 AM
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89: Yeah, that Clay Shirky rant has been in my head, and is a part of what I was thinking about above. It's not exactly formal/informal rules I'm thinking of -- "Don't submit a ludicrously self-aggrandizing recommendation to a professor for signature" isn't a formal rule everyplace, it's an, um, openly accepted informal norm. But one that you can profit by disregarding.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:28 AM
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77: It's been said with only a little exaggeration that the 60s in Britain happened to two thousand people in London.

And yet "lad culture" happened to 20 million on both sides of the Atlantic. I think Frowner's right that a big part of this was the marketing budget associated with recuperating 18-25 y.o. men back into the consumer fold, post-punk, post-grunge. And yet, if you look at the magazine advertisements from the late-60s/early-70s, that same recuperation was attempted pretty successfully with hippie culture. Gap ads from that era in particular show that process perfectly. (See also The Conquest of Cool of course.)
Being in the gross demographic target market for lad culture, and yet having been utterly repelled by it, it's hard to analyze exactly what made it take off so well. At the time it was all happening I was looking back to the 60s for lifestyle cues -- Diggers, Mod, lounge culture. Probably that's something to do with my innate irritation with capitalism, but there were others like me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:30 AM
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Btw, as I've mentioned before, I'm not named after the candy. My mother told me I'm named after the tiny sound I make.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:31 AM
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Gah. I don't have time to catch up on the thread and see if comment 2 went anywhere. But, God, yes. Amen sister. Plus the added fact that not only are girls socialized to be compliant, with compliance viewed as lack of initiative etc., BUT ALSO everyone is socialized to expect girls to be compliant such that non-compliant professional women are also viewed negatively. Finding that sweet spot of non-threatening non-compliance is a real bitch sometimes.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:31 AM
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Sex seems to be the thing missing from this conversation. For whatever reason, being a responsible, volunteer minded member of the community is a relatively attractive characteristic in a potential female partner, but not so much for men. It might be all other things being equal more attractive to be a volunteer-minded man, but that is crowded out by the incredible salience of breadwinning to male sexual value. Considering that both breadwinning and volunteerism are competing for the same limited resource of time, it's not really surprising that volunteerism and responsibility isn't attractive to men in the same way it is for woman.

Now, if someone wants to argue that this is a secondary effect of a more basic cause, I'm all ears, but it seems naive to attribute to male uncouthness and/or Reagenomics.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:32 AM
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re: 113

I think there's been a fairly real change. However, I don't really think it's _bad_ behaviour as such. I don't think they are any more violent or inclined to criminality than my peers were growing up. They just seem like ... fuck-ups. If that's not too opaque a way to put it. Selfish, feckless infants.

And that's a gross generalisation, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:33 AM
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116: I suspected something like that. But it takes very little to remind me of peeps, my favorite candy after the Cadbury's Creme Egg. (Both of which are, I recognize, somewhat disgusting. But fondant! Fondant is mysterious!)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:34 AM
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For whatever reason, being a responsible, volunteer minded member of the community is a relatively attractive characteristic in a potential female partner, but not so much for men.

Except that the alternative to volunteering doesn't generally seem to be making lots of money to produce the fat wallet that was so attractive back on the veldt, it's feckless goofing around.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:35 AM
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Back on the veldt, men who tutored disadvantaged children were eaten by ferocious gazelles.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:35 AM
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Standpipe is veldt-pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:36 AM
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They just seem like ... fuck-ups.

This is a fairly evergreen complaint of one generation about the following one, isn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:36 AM
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I would have beat you to it, but I was busy fending off a gazelle.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:37 AM
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124: Vegans are allowed to eat gazelles if they were trying to eat us first.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:38 AM
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If your wallet were big enough, that gazelle would have bounced right off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:39 AM
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126: I can totally see that as a moral principle -- eat meat, but only predators, and only if the predator started it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:40 AM
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128: I suspect it would generate some predator baiting: "Oh, yeah, I was just poking the lion with a stick when, out of the blue, it tried to eat me! Hence, delicious lion jerky!"


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:41 AM
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COMMUNITY CENTER MASSACRE
Volunteers slaughtered by nominal herbivores


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:42 AM
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129: Also, "Lambs are totally predators! This one was trying to bite my finger off!"


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:42 AM
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Once I was taunted by a very plump goose.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:43 AM
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re: 124

Yes, but I think, in this case, there's some truth in it. I also think it extends into my own peer group, too, so it's not strictly a generational thing, so much as a process that starts somewhere [and has probably always been around in certain subcultures or groups of individuals] and seems to accelerate. It's a bit depressing to see some of my own younger family members, and others, essentially repeating the worst mistakes of some of my peers during late-Thatcherism, only without any of the (minor) redeeming features.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:43 AM
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121: Right, let me tell you about my friend's ex-roommate. 23 y.o., graduate of the local well-regarded-but-full-of-idiots business school, lived with his parents his whole life, drives a BMW (a nice one), wears multiple AXE products, gets high all the time with his bros, and is sort of a muscle-bound pinhead. He got a job at a large national financial institution in IT -- exactly what someone of his class and position would dream of -- but wound up fucking around so much that he was fired for repeated tardiness. Not a big success with the ladies, in fact, pretty much 100% clueless on that score, and has no cultural interests outside of net pron and video games (and what's the difference nowadays anyhow?) So my friend gave him an ultimatum (he had lost his job after only a month in this living arrangement) and this kid moved out. But he and his friends had drawn in pen all over the bedroom walls while they were smoking those funny cigarettes, and he left all kinds of garbage piled up and bills unpaid. Pretty much exactly who we're talking about here. And I'll be damned if I can figure out any reason other than that he basically bought into the mainstream media nonsense about how to live your life. It's fucking bizarre.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:44 AM
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126: Don't forget the roadkill exception. All those poor gazelles run down. Ah, well, have to make the best of things.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:46 AM
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"Except that the alternative to volunteering doesn't generally seem to be making lots of money to produce the fat wallet that was so attractive back on the veldt, it's feckless goofing around."

Is that true? I mean, there is plenty of fuckups, but even high-status men who have their shit together don't really seem to prize philanthropy except as an ancillary project when they are so rich they don't need to work anymore. See, I.E., all those lean and hungry finance types... Isn't it plausible that the fuck-ups inherit there conception of high-status male behavior from the sharks, but lack the competence/ruthlessness to pull it off? So they end up fucking around with their own lives and doing nothing socially redeeming to boot.

(For what it's worth, people not kneejerk memeing would note that I didn't make any sort of veldt-based evobio argument in 118. )


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:46 AM
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Feckful SWM seeks SWF for friendship and maybe something more. Enjoys feck.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:47 AM
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Metro North goes to NJ?

Yonkers. Or, actually, Crestwood, where I lived from 0-6. Didn't get to Jersey until HS.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:50 AM
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Fetal Pfeiffer ficked a feck of fickle fuckers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:50 AM
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(For what it's worth, people not kneejerk memeing would note that I didn't make any sort of veldt-based evobio argument in 118. )

Sorry, I got a whiff of gender essentialism and the next thing I knew there were all these snide comments with my name on them.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:51 AM
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My mother told me I'm named after the tiny sound I make.

How would you describe that sound?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:52 AM
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140: the next thing I knew there were all these snide comments with my name on them

CURSES! FOILED AGAIN!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SNIDELY WHIPLASH | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:53 AM
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In response to this:

Sex seems to be the thing missing from this conversation.

I should have said, You might forgive us for overlooking the edgy new theories of biological determinism.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:54 AM
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If 126 were more widely understood, vegans would be better-respected.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:55 AM
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On its own terms, 136 is a pretty inaccurate depiction of who actually succeeds in getting laid in life. Also of note: most of the finance types I know aren't particularly lean, though they do tend to be hungry.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:56 AM
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143.last: I assume sal meant fucking, not gender.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:58 AM
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I do not care for Clay Shirky. Short attention span, disposable culture as a fucking virtue, just keeps talking-- waste of space, a tragedy that such a personality can produce useful insights.

Also, most volunteer efforts that I've been part of are poorly organized and underfunded, and do not have any realistic way of reconciling those facts with grandiose goals. I don't have a lot of patience for well-intentioned milling around and polite "what should we do next." They have felt more like clubs with a little activity thrown in.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:59 AM
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I suppose I should distinguish between the Chet Ivy League frat archetypeI intended to refer to and the...less appealing....Larry Summers' model that also fall into the category of "finance types"


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:01 AM
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143.last: I assume sal meant fucking, not gender.

Hm, yeah. I still don't like the idea that involuntary urges are key to understanding gender-correlated personality types.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:03 AM
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Forces largely economic have been steadily shredding communities. If one is looking to explain a deficit of social conscience in men, this might be a good starting point. Why men, more than women? Look over there! Veldt.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:04 AM
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"types" s/b "traits"


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:09 AM
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This is hilarious.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:14 AM
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Personally, I think a lot of the reason boys of this age are lazy and resent authority is that, for much of their childhood, authority was a semi-literate old man with chaw in his lip, standing in the rain and making them run up a hill, telling them they make him puke and have shit in their heads and so on. Our sports are weird and damaging. Personally, I loved them, but I don't think they were great for me. The math teacher can't make you run or humiliate you in front of your peers, and you push back where you can. This mentality is so pervasive among adolescent boys that it spreads even to those who don't run for the old man after school.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:15 AM
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I do not care for Clay Shirky

It's funny, I just read Here Comes Everybody* about two weeks ago (it made good airplane reading, if a little light) and it struck me as interesting and even careful, in it's way, but narrow minded in a way that I found difficult to pin down.

* I picked it up because of the recommendation here and, obviously didn't get around to reading it for a while. I was glad to read it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:17 AM
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136: I join in Standpipe's apology -- you didn't bring up the veldt, or talk about biological innateness. Still, I think this isn't all that plausible. Do men who work so hard that they just don't have time for volunteerism get laid more because they're wealthier? Um, maybe? Or maybe they don't get laid much because they never get out of the office to have a social life?

And the next step (if I understood your argument correctly), from men-who-get-laid-alot are hardworking rich men who don't have time for being responsible about anything but earning money, so men who also don't earn a lot of money nonetheless eschew volunteering and responsibility because they think that will make them resemble the rich guys who get laid, seems very farfetched.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:18 AM
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152: Oh wow. Sure is, isn't it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:22 AM
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I think the current gender ratios in colleges makes a difference here.

When there are more men than women, men tend to compete to be responsible to get girlfriends and wives. When there are more women than men, this doesn't happen as much and things tend to frat out.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:26 AM
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On the veldt, commenters who used the on-the-veldt gambit were disproportionately successful at finding gazelle roadkill.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:27 AM
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I think pursuing massive amounts of wealth for sexual display can function as your reason for engaging in the behavior, even if it doesn't actually lead to more sex.

Not that I believe this has anything to do with frat boys and volunteering. As a feckless manchild of the coffeehouse variety who also volunteers a lot, I also have no idea what to make of this thread.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:31 AM
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men tend to compete to be responsible to get girlfriends

Or you date stoner chicks, who are generally way more fun anyhow. On the veldt, the guys with the biggest bongs screwed like gazelles.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:32 AM
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When there are more men than women, men tend to compete to be responsible to get girlfriends and wives.

Wait. When did 'being responsible' turn into something that only had application to romantic relationships? Don't men have professional responsibilities? Academic responsibilities? Social responsibilities? Non-romantic relationships with other people, male and female, with associated responsibilities?

I'm not disagreeing with you. I think that framing -- that acting responsibly is something women impose on men -- is out there, so you've identified something that's going on in people's heads. But it's awfully weird sounding to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:33 AM
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159: I think pursuing massive amounts of wealth for sexual display can function as your reason for engaging in the behavior, even if it doesn't actually lead to more sex.

Oh, sure, this seems absolutely true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:35 AM
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Everyone has jumped on the volunteering thing, but I want to point out the stupidity--more men are failing the basic math test.

I see this all the time--college age boys under-perform relative to their abilities and I think the problem is actually the reverse of the one mentioned. They are not jettisoning their responsibilities along with their privilige. They haven't gotten the message that privilige is gone and so, with an ever-so-slightly meritocratic society, they are going to need to do the fucking work as pure patriarchy isn't going to save their entitled asses.

Now, patriarchy is still saving their asses somewhat as I believe that men, despite their low college gpas, are still earning the same, if not higher, salary on entering the workforce. However, men are doing so poorly academically at college right now that I assume some of that will have to change.

I have absolutely no evidence but experience, but going to college in the late 80s, I would swear that there were a few more academically successful men around. Today, there are basically none, at least at the very lower-tier teaching college that I work at (mostly lower and working class white students)


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:37 AM
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LB, I think it's more about what type of behavior gets modeled as a successful manifestation of masculinity/femininity, which is undoubtedly related to relative ability to get laid. Hormone-driven teenagers seeking sex are going to base their attempts to procure sex on the perceived successfulness of various role models, both local and in the media, in getting laid.

See pageant queens, which strike me as a decent standin for bog-standard femininity and culturally sanctioned sexual desirability. They (I think) are mainly ranked on two factors, physical attractiveness and the kind of community minded save-the-children volunteerism discussed here. Male sexual role model, I.E. athletes, rock stars, rich men, just don't seem to place the same emphasis on volunteer-ish activities.

I'm not opposed to placing economics/politics/whatever as the ultimate cause here, but I don't think you can ignore people doing what they think will get them laid as the proximate cause of this kind of behavior.


Posted by: salacious | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:39 AM
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163: Right -- that's part of why salacious's argument didn't ring true for me. What heebie was talking about wasn't just 'failure to do nice things', it was failure to put work into anything -- her students aren't nose to the grindstone in pursuit of the almighty dollar, they're just goofing off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:41 AM
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Reading this thread makes me want to move to the suburbs so I can get a large veldt-like lawn and yell at young people to stay off it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:42 AM
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On the veldt, the guys with the biggest bdongs screwed like gazelles.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:44 AM
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but I don't think you can ignore people doing what they think will get them laid as the proximate cause of this kind of behavior.

This, certainly. What I was pushing back against was the argument that there really was any kind of tight causual connection between irresponsibility and sexual success. An argument along the lines of 'Current models of sexually successful masculinity are irresponsible, so young men emulate them' I'd buy, and then wonder why those models were the currently salient ones.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:45 AM
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and then wonder why those models were the currently salient ones.

It's because their surrogate daddies yelled at them. Seriously, I think adolescent boys and girls have very different attitudes towards authority, and it's because their childhood authority figures treated them very differently. I guess this isn't a groundbreaking point.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:49 AM
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It seems that Susan Faludi's Stiffed ought to enter the conversation at some point, but the only Unfoggetarian I know who's read it doesn't comment here anymore.

My mother told me I'm named after the tiny sound I make.

Like the cartoon character whose friends are Chirp and Quack?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:54 AM
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their childhood authority figures treated them very differently

There's a lot to this. I don't know that it's all about abusive coaches, but Sally and Newt have very different school personalities and home personalities, and I think a lot of it is that very similar behavior gets treated differently by teachers coming from a boy than from a girl. (Like, at the grade school level, behavior gets interpreted as compliant coming from a girl, and the same behavior is assertive/aggressive coming from a boy.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:54 AM
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for much of their childhood, authority was a semi-literate old man with chaw in his lip, standing in the rain and making them run up a hill, telling them they make him puke and have shit in their heads and so on.

The scary thing is he was right about the chaw and the shit in our heads. I'm thinking of running-up hills.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:54 AM
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one of the things we always talk about in the anarchist scene is how the gender balance is skewed towards men

I don't doubt this at all, but aren't anarchists a tiny, tiny percentage of society?

I was talking about a broader swath of people who might be said to be civic-minded. Not the ones who put on a t-shirt once a year to do a "team building" exercise with their work colleagues cleaning up a park, but the ones who:

- Mentor a teenager through Big Brothers/Big Sisters type organization
- Run a flea market or other event to raise money for charity
- Put on a theatrical performance such as The Vagina Monologues to benefit charity
- Open up their home for a "Hosts for Hospitals" type program in which they house a family member of someone receiving medical care in their community
- Volunteer to coach a children's rec-level sports team
- Coordinate a collection of canned food for a local pantry
- Plan and participate in an event like Take Back the Night
- Volunteer to do light carpentry or painting for elderly homeowners

All of the above examples have some drawbacks, and some people are always going to resonate more with some causes than others. But overall, among *the people I know* (not citing research data here), it skews way more female. And I can't figure out some charitable thing that the men are doing that I'm just somehow failing to recognize.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:55 AM
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170: We have a copy at home. If it'll make you feel better, I'll put it in my pile to read.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:56 AM
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To this day, I often feel compelled to run up hills.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:57 AM
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We watched Thirtysomething for the first season or two. ! was 29 with a one year old when it started, and so it was easy enough to identify with the characters. Certainly more relevant than cop shows, and maybe a little more realistic than LA Law. It was better than a lot of stuff on then (hence those Emmys). And Mel Harris' sister taught at the same high school as my wife.

We moved away, and drifted off, though, and missed (and didn't miss) the later run of the thing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:01 PM
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rereading the thread linked in 170, I remain convinced that the search for an appropriate, contemporary image of masculinity was one of the major themes of unfogged (or, more specifically, ogged) back in the day.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:03 PM
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177: We settled on D-Squared, and then soon regretted that.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:06 PM
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173:
The study examined how people responded to a need within an "ingroup" and an "outgroup." An ingroup has an obvious connection to the potential donor, such as physical proximity or ethnicity, while the outgroup might have nothing more than humanity to relate it to the donor.

In the study, participants completed a survey to gauge their moral identity. Later, each was given five $1 bills and three options: keep the cash, give it to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund, or give it to a relief fund for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

The results were very consistent. Women with higher moral identity were more likely to split their dollars evenly between the two charities. Women with lower moral identities gave more to the ingroup (Katrina victims).

Men with high moral identities gave to the ingroup, but seldom to the outgroup (tsunami victims). Men with low moral identities pocketed the cash.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:06 PM
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177: [T]he search for an appropriate, contemporary image of masculinity spirals ever downward.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:06 PM
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177: And now we see the tragic results of our failed search.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:07 PM
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173: Most of the people I know who do that stuff* are doing it for through a church and are pretty evenly mixed by gender. I tend to just write checks and show-up at events that serve liquor.

* Though not so much The Vagina Monologues and Take Back the Night.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:08 PM
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178 and 180 are both funny.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:09 PM
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174: I skipped right away to the chapter on male porn stars, read it eagerly, and then put the book down. Although I know I should read the rest, I can't say I regret my approach to the book.

Also, I have at best thumbed through Backlash.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:09 PM
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Also with respect to

It would be really great if boys were socialized more like girls.

This post on the American Scene blog is guaranteed to raise cackles in an infuriating, despair-causing manner.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:12 PM
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The study in 179 sounds interesting. One of my questions was answered by the write-up at the link:

Moral identity does not measure how moral a person actually is, but rather how important it is to that person to be caring, kind, fair, honest, etc.

My other question would be whether this holds true in the real world. Giving five $1 bills to your research subjects and seeing how they respond is going to tell you something about socially observed charity, but not necessarily anything about how actually charitably inclined people are when nobody's watching.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:12 PM
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Giving five $1 bills to your research subjects and seeing how they respond is going to tell you something about socially observed charity, but not necessarily anything about how actually charitably inclined people are when nobody's watching.

But a lot of charity (like volunteer work) is done with people watching. My sense is that among young guys peer pressure is working to make them less charitable.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:15 PM
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My other question would be whether this holds true in the real world.

It is widely assumed that women are more charitable than men. A new poll puts a number on it: Wealthy women give away nearly twice as much as of their wealth as their male counterparts. In a survey due out this week, Ledbury Research for Barclay's Wealth found that women in the U.S. give an average 3.5% of their wealth to charity. The survey of 500 people with investible assets of $1 million or more found that men give an average of 1.8%. And it isn't just a U.S. phenomenon. In the U.K., women give an average of 0.8%, compared with 0.5% for men, the survey shows.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:15 PM
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My sense is that among young guys peer pressure is working to make them less charitable.

I think it will also depend on the gender-coding of the charitable work. Since a lot of volunteer work has a care-giving aspect, it codes feminine. If you need people to clear brush in advance of a fire or help pull victims from a wreck, you'll find young men more willing to don their Superman tights.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:18 PM
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I've noticed - anecdotally - that while women are more likely to participate in already organized volunteer organizations, you are more likely to see highly motivated young men starting up their own ways of volunteering/making a difference in society.

Also, if we're basing this on observation of our students, I feel compelled to note that for years my best students were female. Recently - the last two years - this has changed (obviously not enough data to be significant, but I've noticed it nonetheless). They also seem more likely to identify as "hipster" rather than "frat." To me, it seems like there is a resurgence of the nerd going on for the 18-22 year old set right now.

Finally, where do you put traditionally suburban middle-class volunteering activities like coaching a soccer team or being a scout leader? It seems to me that men are still plenty involved in their middle-class communities, if not reaching out to those around them. (Last night I saw a short film on the Missouri Stream Clean Up - I was struck by the way almost every single person interviewed coded as poor or working class to me - not exactly what I expected of an environmental group - and awesome!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:19 PM
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Wealthy women give away nearly twice as much as of their wealth as their male counterparts.

If we're talking about wealth, then we are mostly talking about older people. The men are still planning on knocking-up Lurleen at the Tast-i-Freeze as soon as they get enough money to over-come her dislike of the old-man smell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:20 PM
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peer pressure is working to make them less charitable.

Hm, so what would this look like, exactly? Ridiculing each other for doing helping work?

On preview: But what about the carpentry thing I mentioned? Still not manly enough, because it involves taking care of poor old people, albeit doing so using construction tools?

(Good lord, 185 is a piece of work. The commenters appear at least marginally saner than the poster, though. When he says "Self-defense classes are like ambition for women in that they actually work," I wonder what definition of "work" he using.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:20 PM
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Also, what about church-related volunteering? In my time with the evangelists, while I did notice that the specific activities were often gendered, there was an equal mix over all.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:21 PM
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Um, I should note that despite what I said in 193 I am aware that churches are still dominated by female parishioners. I was just thinking about youth groups and the like.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:22 PM
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They also seem more likely to identify as "hipster" rather than "frat."

I worry that we college teachers walk into the classroom with a bias against people who look like frat boys (or boys who shoved us into a locker in middle school.) I make a conscious effort to avoid this bias.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:23 PM
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183: Funny in the "tragedy to those who feel" sense.

A friend of mine is planning to write something about that NYT story and made the mistake of asking me about it. I managed not to wax sarcastic about "Wal-Mart Christianity," but it does seem to me ugly in countless ways: the parody display of horror and fear of being, or appearing, weak and vulnerable; the rehearsal of advertising dogma (sell things to men by promising to make them "tough" and "manly"; sell things to women by promising to make them more attractive and more loved) in the putative service of what is not for sale and does not have to be purchased ("Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"); the repulsively crass association of the Big J with entertainment that apes the pastimes of Roman soldiers, torturers and other tough guys of the first century A.D., like Pontius Pilate. One hesitates to dwell on the widespread category mistake that leads people to assume that authenticity = violence, but come on.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:23 PM
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Ridiculing each other for doing helping work?

The absence of praise, plus lots of praise for the amount you can drink, would be peer pressure enough.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:24 PM
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195: The galoots are galoots but I have had mostly positive experiences with frats and frat boys, actually. I just haven't noticed them to be the most intellectually engaged.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:25 PM
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I've actually had my worst teaching experiences with ROTC men. I think it must be random luck, but it makes me worry.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:28 PM
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I worry that we college teachers walk into the classroom with a bias against people who look like frat boys (or boys who shoved us into a locker in middle school.)

I can't remember if I've mentioned this here before so consider this my entry into the boring-uncle competition if I have. When I was a callow-yet-supercilious first-year (or perhaps this was in my second year?) student at my fine undergraduate institution, one of my fellow students in one of my core classes was on the wrestling squad, and looked the part. Big guy, kind of dumb-looking face. (Not really the frat stereotype, admittedly.) Naturally I instantly began thinking him my intellectual inferior. But as it turned out he was crazy smart.

Fortunately, while the specific incident did not fail to impress me, I have proved completely unable to draw any general lesson from the affair, and have remained both callow and supercilious into adulthood.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:28 PM
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196 describes exactly "Christian" hard rockers, in my limited experience. Same loud, power-fetishizing bullshit machismo as the average pickup truck ad.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:29 PM
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188 is depressing. I want to think better of men than that!

On a related note:

Please join us for a meeting of Haitian American community leaders at CUNY journalism school in NY next Tuesday, Feb. 9th from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. The panel will feature Gary Pierre Pierre, Editor of the Haitian Times (NY's largest Haitian daily), Gepsie Mettelus, Executive Director of Sant La Haitian refugee center in Miami, and a cohort from NY's Haitian American community.
The panelists will discuss a recent New America Media poll of Haitian Americans in the U.S., and their views on the earthquake, recovery, and what is needed going forward. Gepsie Mettelus will address the particular role that Haitian women have played in recovery efforts on the ground, and the role of women in the diaspora.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:30 PM
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I've actually had my worst teaching experiences with ROTC men.

But you know who makes a really good student: someone in their mid-twenties fresh out of the military. They are responsible, but their minds are still fairly young and plastic.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:34 PM
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196: The picture at the top of the NYT article? That guy went on to absorb one godawfully brutal, wholly one-sided beating that night. The ghost of Edward G. Robinson could be seen hovering overhead, taunting "Where's your Messiah now?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:36 PM
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And 200 describes a guy a worked with on my one factory job, a former football player who went to Williams and had a neck as big as one of my thighs. Very smart, very thoughtful. Though once, in a conversation about runners, he said, "Yeah, they're fast, but once you catch them they're easy to beat up."

Apropos 177, the second sentence of 201 could have been a mouseover back in the day.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:37 PM
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Huh. As an undergrad I was continually getting pitched to join the "community service" projects the various fraternities were running, and pretty much never did, nor did my own house really have any of its own. I had the sense that they were more in the spirit of resume-padding or fraternity-credential-burnishing than actually useful service. I think that sense of... futility? wasted effort? has turned me off from a lot of such projects that probably are perfectly worthwhile.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:38 PM
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I want to think better of men than that!

Like stormcrow in 35, I semi-seriously think that men suck and that we have outlived our usefulness. In a lot of ways, I'm a self-hating man, the way that other people talk about self-hating Jews. I thought about raising this point when Alameida mentioned having a generalized hatred for men, but I didn't, because her resentment was so much better founded.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but it is a really uncomfortable position to be in.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:41 PM
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203: Totally true. Last summer my best student by far was such a man; he was insightful, mature, and an incredibly good writer and speaker.

I really just have had bad luck with my ROTC students - one threatened me (via email, and it wasn't particularly awful, just definitely not within the bounds of acceptable behavior) when I reminded him to read the emails I sent out (this was for a discussion section). He apologized and had some extenuating circumstances, but poor impulse control is not what I would like to see in men being trained to carry weapons. Then another student who refused to write the essays in response to the question asked or the books read - instead, he used them as a platform to spew right-wing, racist ideology. (Oddly or perhaps not, he was Chinese-American.) I found all of this very at odds with my experiences with my friends who were in the Army and what I expected out of ROTC students.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:43 PM
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Yeah, I'm not sure that it makes sense to measure responsibility generally by the amount of volunteerism. There's a lot of useless, annoying volunteer projects out there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:43 PM
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honestly, the first 2 episodes could be State's Evidence in any prosecution of Baby Boomers for awful solipsism.

Wait 'till you see the episode where Hope becomes terrified that she and Michael are being exposed to radon gas. Only someone with a heart of stone could watch that without laughing. But peep's right: Thirtysomething was better than average as TV shows go, possibly the Mad Men of its day. I liked it at the time, despite (or maybe because of) its self-absorption.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:43 PM
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I semi-seriously think that men suck and that we have outlived our usefulness. In a lot of ways, I'm a self-hating man, the way that other people talk about self-hating Jews.

Will you all (all men feeling like Stormcrow and George, that is) quit that? Hate yourself as a flawed and unpleasant person, if you like -- that's how I get through the day. But don't go feeling entitled to attach self-loathing to an entire half of the human race just because you are one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:46 PM
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210: When it comes to pre-Sopranos television, I stand by my endorsement of Miami Vice, particularly the episodes in which Crockett's 'Nam-veteran cynicism collided with Reagan-era Central American policy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:47 PM
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207: Why do you feel responsible for your gender? Emo does nobody any good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:48 PM
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Actually, I rather like men.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:49 PM
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212: What about the A-Team? That taught me about life. For example, always trust people in vans and bullets never hit anybody.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:50 PM
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Maybe this got mentioned upthread and I just missed it, but it's worth noting that self-reliance is very, very central to masculine self-identity in this country. This plays out in charitable giving, but also in things like not going to doctors, not getting mental health issues addressed, and resorting to crime rather than asking for financial help. Also, there is a ton of research that shows that women maintain the social networks of a marriage, such that widowers have hugely higher rates of isolation and loneliness than do widows.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:52 PM
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Emo does nobody any good.

Also, it leads to Nice Guy-ism.

I'm not saying it self hatred is a virtue or is rational, I just felt the sudden need to confess that I do it. I'll shut up now.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:52 PM
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bullets never hit anybody.

Of course not; they have no hands or arms. What they will do, sometimes, is become lodged in, or pass through, your body.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:53 PM
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217: I'll shut up now.

No, that's self-hatred again. Swear or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:54 PM
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This plays out in charitable giving, but also in things like not going to doctors, not getting mental health issues addressed, and resorting to crime rather than asking for financial help.

Note to self: Abandon bank-robbery plans as gender-normative cliché.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:56 PM
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154: I felt like, having been online a lot for the past 6 years and following many of the developments Shirky talks about, including some other Shirky writings, that Here Comes Everybody was basically a re-hash of what I'd already picked up from various places. To someone reading it as a book, from a mainly book background, or who hasn't been following the meta stuff about social media, it's probably a useful introduction. It had some interesting stories and facts, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 12:56 PM
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211: Yes, but everybody seems so happy at the end of The Elementary Particles and the women all get along so well in "Houston We Have a Problem",and Whileaway in The Female Man is so wonderful.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:01 PM
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220: That's only because most bank robbers are lazy and don't plan. Just plan ahead, ideally using calculus, and you'll be fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:05 PM
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223:

Killface: And what do you think you're doing?
Simon: [mutters]
Killface: Oh, really? Well, bright young lads who bring home a C in earth science and a C minus in algebra don't get to go on a lovely kidnapping.
Simon: [mutters]
Killface: Yes, as a matter of fact, we'll probably use algebra like mad today.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:09 PM
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I have questions.

What is meant by responsible/mature in this thread, and what evidence is there that there's a significant gender difference?

Who are the mature female role models?

And two observations:

In my classes, I see no meaningful difference between the performance of the women and the performance of the men. I also see no difference in the maturity level; most of the men are fratty, and most of the women are shallow, and there are numerous exceptions in both genders.

I also think the lack of role models is due to a more honest evaluation of everyone, such that everyone is found to have flaws and so therefore not be an appropriate role model.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:21 PM
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I once had the crazy thought that locking up all males between the ages of 15-25 would massively reduce violent crime and other social ills, but I guess I had forgot about what 10 years of mandatory prison would do to the population and what those 26 year olds coming out would be like. I was, of course, willing to not exclude myself (as long as I was in Cell Block Nerd).

I also realized during my first year of college that 'masculinity' wasn't and hadn't been, as far as I could remember, a practical concept for me (by which I mean, I've not evaluated something as masculine or not with the intent of directing my behavior accordingly; I am aware of stereotypes and general cultural beliefs). So, yeah, I'll jump on the anti-man wagon. I don't self-identify as male, but I wouldn't actively reject being so identified by someone else. For convenience sake, don't rock the boat.


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:21 PM
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224: I had to Google that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:21 PM
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The kids today with all of the new animated shows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:23 PM
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I'm still catching up on this thread, but...

170: I read it, motherfucker. Disrespect me like that again and I'll cut you. On Wii Swordplay.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:28 PM
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204: "Leg kick." Arggh, Goldberg is infecting everyone.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:30 PM
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"Leg kick" is a pretty odd locution. What else would you kick someone with? And if it's a 'leg kick', that's a kick to the legs, no? "Leg kick" to the head, is bizarre.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:46 PM
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Fist punch!
Elbow elbow!
Head headbutt!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:49 PM
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What else would you kick someone with?

Your foot. I take it that the interest of this kick in particular is that it struck with the shin.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:49 PM
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"Leg kick" is a pretty odd locution

The only thing I could think was they are using "Leg kick" to mean what I would call a shin kick versus a kick landing with the foot.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:49 PM
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there is a ton of research that shows that women maintain the social networks of a marriage, such that widowers have hugely higher rates of isolation and loneliness than do widows

I suspect that's a statistical artifact, attributable to the fact that the only marriages that survive that long are the ones in which the man accedes to his wife's demands that he cut loose all of his friends.


Posted by: kr | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:50 PM
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Damn it nosflow. I previewed and everything.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:50 PM
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re: 233 and 234

I suppose. "Shin kick" would surely be the right expression.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:50 PM
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But don't go feeling entitled to attach self-loathing to an entire half of the human race just because you are one.

Is it better to generalize it to the whole human race?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:53 PM
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HEAD KICK TO THE NARDS


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:53 PM
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Yeah, that's the first time I've seen "leg kick" used to mean something other than a kick to the leg.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:56 PM
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Goldberg is infecting everyone

Ha!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 1:57 PM
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Is it better to generalize it to the whole human race?

Everybody does that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:01 PM
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The leg kick article was just one that came up quickly upon googling. But I see now that they had fun with that in the comments there too. ("he kicked him in the leg so hard, it cut open his head! Now that's what I call a leg kick!")


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:17 PM
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Couldn't one reason for the greater rates of charitable giving by women be that they often outlive their spouses, so that at the point at which people are dividing up their estate (prior to their demise), because they don't really need some or most of their assets to live on, most of those people happen to be women? I mean, "going after rich old ladies with inherited money" is a time-honored tradition in the philanthropic world and everything, but perhaps that's because rich old ladies' money has the fewest claims on it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:21 PM
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I'm not disagreeing with you. I think that framing -- that acting responsibly is something women impose on men -- is out there, so you've identified something that's going on in people's heads. But it's awfully weird sounding to me.

I think that there is a positive feedback system where, when there are more men than women, the most desirable men want a girlfriend and so the most desirable women want men who want a girlfriend; and, when there are more women than men, the most desirable men don't want a girlfriend (but want short term relationships) and so the most desirable women thus want men who don't want a girlfriend. It doesn't take a big difference between men and women in desire for short term or long term relationship to set the whole thing going.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:23 PM
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But where does the equation between 'acting responsibly' and 'wanting a girlfriend' come from? If that dynamic explains Heebie's students, what's the connection between being a player and not studying for a math quiz?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:33 PM
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I just got back from playing basketball and let me say, for the record, that I don't hate men as a group.

I am deeply distrustful of the standards of masculinity in our culture, and who doesn't, but I don't think that's enough to condemn men as a group.

[Not that that needs to be said but, given the thread, it seemed appropriate.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:45 PM
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246: Well, if we accept the assumption that anything men do of a responsible and/or virtuous nature is done entirely in the hope that it will lead to having sex, then in a situation where men have no trouble getting laid without do anything responsible and/or virtuous then men will not study math or volunteer or bathe.

I don't actually believe any of this.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:47 PM
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Historical First ...women outnumber men on nation's payrolls.

Course this is cause men are lazy, shiftless, irresponsible, immature...and all the other words, descriptions, explanations I was hearing about a different but overlapping group fifty years ago.

that I don't hate men as a group.

Some of my best friends are men!!

Look at yourselves, listen to yourselves for just a minute.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:52 PM
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I'm with peep. People who don't bathe won't get laid, ever, never mind what shape they've got in your pants. Studying math may help your chances with nerds and volunteering may help your chances with earnest liberals. In either case the effect is disappearingly marginal. Being generally good humored, staying cool when the other person has a melt down for reasons you don't fully understand, putting your ice cream in their hand when theirs has fallen on the ground - this kind of thing will work every time, but it's a foreign country to 18 year olds.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:56 PM
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Some of my best friends are men!!

Heh, I had a line like that in my comment and took it out.

To be honest, I mostly want to comment as an excuse to riff on the "gone swimming" theme.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 2:59 PM
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250: putting your ice cream in their hand
Low-hanging dairy product.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:00 PM
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But where does the equation between 'acting responsibly' and 'wanting a girlfriend' come from? If that dynamic explains Heebie's students, what's the connection between being a player and not studying for a math quiz?

I guess it would come from people wanting responsible partners in long term relationships and not caring as much about responsibility in partners in short term relationships. This could lead to different ways of performing masculinity with respect to school work based on the sex ratio.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:02 PM
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Low-hanging dairy product.

Whatever. Und so weiter. Beats sitting in your room, theorising. Leonard Cohen has only made a finite number of records.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:04 PM
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and, when there are more women than men, the most desirable men don't want a girlfriend (but want short term relationships)

So you are saying that the desire for lasting relationships does not arise from a longing for lasting connection but is a simple matter of supply and demand? Men only want a long-term relationship when the supply is such that they fear inability to replace the current model easily?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:04 PM
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what shape they've got in your pants

I am so confused by these pronouns.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:07 PM
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So you are saying that the desire for lasting relationships does not arise from a longing for lasting connection but is a simple matter of supply and demand? Men only want a long-term relationship when the supply is such that they fear inability to replace the current model easily?

Let's talk about food instead! This "men are just like the imaginary rational actor in right-wing economic examples" business is getting me down.

Food: I wish I had some. I would even accept it if it were offered to me by a man, provided that he wasn't just offering me food to get me to sleep with him.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:11 PM
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255: We're talking about other men, DK. All the guys here are all about the lasting connection.

(actually I haven't a clue what men or boys want. I'm guessing they want all kinds of different things)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:12 PM
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Food, mostly.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:15 PM
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I would even accept it if it were offered to me by a man, provided that he wasn't just offering me food to get me to sleep with him.

Why not? Accepting the food wouldn't mean you had to sleep with the man, it would just mean the man was a patsy. Are you broke or are the shops shut?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:15 PM
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So you are saying that the desire for lasting relationships does not arise from a longing for lasting connection but is a simple matter of supply and demand?

I wouldn't be surprised, if you're just talking about HS or college age men and women that there can be an "institutional culture" of dating that pushes people towards shorter or longer relationships (heck, people have commented that the city in which I live in seems to tend towards long relationships) but I doubt that it would be based on sex ratios.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:15 PM
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260: Worse! I'm at work and have a long walk home to the food. If I were truly broke, I'd dumpster or else hit up Food Not Bombs.

But you see, I would scorn to accept food from the sort of man who offered me food in order to obtain...ahem...advantage.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:19 PM
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I'm guessing they want all kinds of different things


Yeah, almost as if they were people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:19 PM
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I would scorn to accept food from the sort of man who offered me food in order to obtain...ahem...advantage.

Oh, I don't know. When I met Buck, I was fresh off the plane from Samoa, disoriented and hostile, and completely unsure that I wanted anything to do with him. Very nice dinners got us to the third date, at which point I figured out that he was curiously appealing. Seems like a legitimate tactic to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:21 PM
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(This was either complicated or simplified by the fact that he was taking me to a place where his employer had a house account, and he could sign the check and have his boss pay for it (this was a small and frivolously run company, now long out of business). Allowing me to wallow gluttonously in profiteroles without feeling bad about not picking up half the check.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:24 PM
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264: I'd like to finesse this in some way. Perhaps we could argue that there's a difference between the homo economicus postulated upthread, where the food is offered purely in the "oh, I must acquire some woman or other; this one seems like the best I get can, but I'll trade up if the market seems good" sense and the Unfogged-approved getting-to-know-you-getting-to-know-all-about-you fellow whose motives are a little bit more complex than "some day a woman will feel guilty or obliged if I offer her stuff and then she'll put out". I recognized that this is jesuitical.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:25 PM
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Hey, "kissin' don't last, cookin' do" isn't supposed to kick in after three dates!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:26 PM
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265: Although I admit that a fellow who had access to plausible vegan imitation-profiteroles would have a substantial advantage.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:28 PM
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267: The profiteroles were really good. And I didn't find out how the kissing was for weeks after I'd decided I liked him. (Really, it's an evolutionary miracle that I've ever managed to reproduce.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:29 PM
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So you are saying that the desire for lasting relationships does not arise from a longing for lasting connection but is a simple matter of supply and demand? Men only want a long-term relationship when the supply is such that they fear inability to replace the current model easily?

When there are more women than men, men who want girlfriends come across as a little too ross-douthat-ty and thus less desirable than men who don't want a girlfriend.



Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:30 PM
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plausible vegan imitation-profiteroles

You know, I'll try and think through vegan substitutions for a lot of things, but cream puffs? I'm not seeing any way to make the dough.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:30 PM
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When there are more women than men, men who want girlfriends come across as a little too ross-douthat-ty

??????????????

In short, I am perplexed by this statement. Why? or how? or what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:32 PM
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271. Could you use vegetable ghee? Just a thought, I'd want a lot of lead time to experiment.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:36 PM
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When there are more women than men, men who want girlfriends come across as a little too ross-douthat-ty....

Needy? Undesirably weak? Milquetoasty in an I'll-offer-women-"commitment"-because-I-have-no-other-desirable-qualities way? Gamma dog? Less interested in Woman, Specific than Girlfriend, Symbolic?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:36 PM
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271: Vegan pâte à choux. Looks like a weak compromise, but no worse than many other vegan imitations of fundamentally non-vegan things.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:37 PM
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271: And they said it couldn't be done.

Or this one which looks a little more plausible.

I mean, they both probably taste pretty good; most fancy vegan food does. But they may be more "tasty vegan dessert" than true cream puff replacement.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:38 PM
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I was just joking about ross douthat, but when there are more women than men, fewer college age men want a long term girlfriends so the ones that do tend to come across as less desirable.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:40 PM
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I would even accept it if it were offered to me by a man, provided that he wasn't just offering me food to get me to sleep with him.

For future reference cooking for women is OK if you do it because you want to make them happy and you want to get into their pants right?


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:46 PM
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Huh. I thought eggs were much harder to replace than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:47 PM
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Dude, what if Ross Douthat offered Frowner vegan profiteroles?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:47 PM
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274, 277: I'm still flummoxed by this. I could see a higher ratio of women to men meaning that men who wanted casual sex rather than longer relationships were more likely to be successful, so you'd get more men openly looking for casual sex and fewer looking to get into relationships. But the idea that this would somehow make the men who were or wanted to be involved with women romantically look bad? Are they looking weak to other men, or to women, or what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:51 PM
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I haven't a clue what men or boys want

All I want is to never hear the Mamma Mia soundtrack ever again. Such a simple desire, and yet so far from my reach.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:52 PM
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never hear the Mamma Mia soundtrack ever again.

So sing along, badly, at the top of your lungs whenever it comes on. Insist. People will stop playing it around you.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:57 PM
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You underestimate my children, TJ. I would only be joining in.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 3:59 PM
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||

Has everybody seen this BBC Story: Shackleton's whisky dug from ice?

The master blender at whisky company Whyte and Mackay said the find was a "gift from the heavens" for whisky lovers.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:03 PM
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I haven't a clue what men or boys want

I just want four walls and... wait, what are "adobe slats", anyway?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:09 PM
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Well, you'll just have to get worse!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:10 PM
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I believe that men should be afforded the same rights we all have, but of course should not be permitted in my swimming pool or to fraternize with my women.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:18 PM
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"The ideas of (for) the ruling class are the ruling ideas."

How do the bosses create and maintain a docile and disciplined workforce?

1) Lots and lots of stuff here.

2) Create a reserve army of the unemployed that the docile workforce will hate and fear, and one that the dociles will feel victimized by. This reserve army must be easily identifiable, reasonably dangerous, with numbers large enough to be a threat to jobs.

3) Create a myth that the reserve army is irrational, lazy, hateful, irresponsible...all the characteristics you want the dociles to despise. Get the dociles and media to repeat the stereotype often enough that the reserves even believe it or relish it as rebellion.

4) Start some wars if the reserves get too frisky. This will also make them resentful of the dociles upon returning home and useful as lumpenproletariat.

PS:The future of demographics in the US means not only that whites become a minority but that blacks are becoming too small a demographic to be useful as the reserve army boogeymen. Anyway, too many are in prison.

White males with little college are slipping down to the 20-30% percent level so as to become candidates for the position. Making college more expensive and competitive will help.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:19 PM
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All I want is Nora Zehetner, except she should also be approximately as dorky as I am.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:20 PM
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For all I know Ms. Zehetner is dorky, for that matter. It's not impossible.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:24 PM
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Ms. Zehetner may consider you to be not dorky enough. The risk may be small, but is it one you are willing to take?


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:26 PM
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she'll double cross you every time.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:32 PM
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277, 281: Yeah, I'm really perplexed by the "less desirable" proposition. To whom? When men are in short supply, as it were, the theory is that the ones who want to stick around will be seen as *less* desirable? Even if love is nothing but rational economic actor crap, this makes no sense. When women outnumber men, the competition for a man, period, is high. Since men would then presumably have more flexibility to love-'em-and-leave-'em without risking being left cold and alone, competition for men-willing-to-commit will be even higher. Accordingly, lemmy doesn't know what he is talking about.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:32 PM
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Will Wilkinson has an interesting reaction to the Clay Shirky essay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:33 PM
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Nora Zehetner and Rachel Bilson look a lot alike to me. The internet tells me I am only like the ten thousandth person to feel the need to point this out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:33 PM
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Woof, I was offline and then I got distracted by the ancient meta-thread that I missed because I actually had a real, unavoidable job, but:

I see this all the time--college age boys under-perform relative to their abilities and I think the problem is actually the reverse of the one mentioned. They are not jettisoning their responsibilities along with their privilige. They haven't gotten the message that privilige is gone and so, with an ever-so-slightly meritocratic society, they are going to need to do the fucking work as pure patriarchy isn't going to save their entitled asses.

I'm not quite sure I agree with the relative measurement here. The phenomenon that I've observed, especially in HS, was (literally) overachieving girls who got better grades than smarter boys not (entirely) because the boys were slacking, but because HS is a venue where someone who is basically but not especially smart can get great grades, but not actually be smart enough to translate those great grades into success at an elite college.

I don't know if that's clear enough, so: our HS valedictorian was a pretty smart guy who tried hard who went to Penn and is a doctor. Our co-salutatorians were a pair of girls, neither one of whom was among the 20 smartest kids in our class. But they were smart enough, and committed enough, to get good grades (no idea about SAT scores).

Point being, I think there's a bit of underachieving by guys who know they can slack due to privilege, which contrasts unfavorably with overachieving by girls who are following the formal rules.

This doesn't really counteract claims that the vast middle of guys right now are smelly boys, but I think it helps put some context into what's happening towards the top of the ranks. I think that underachieving girls tend to be ones with "bad attitudes" (cue 1950's teen movie), while underachieving boys are the plurality (both the bad attitudes and the privileged slackers).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:40 PM
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Will Wilkinson has an interesting reaction to the Clay Shirky essay.

Wow, that is remarkably and entertainingly snarky.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:41 PM
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And 282, I'm so sorry.

There is no music in my house that I don't mind listening to. I know that this state will not persist forever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:42 PM
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This doesn't really counteract claims that the vast middle of guys right now are smelly boys, but I think it helps put some context into what's happening towards the top of the ranks.

Right -- in high school perfect compliance translates well into high grades even without much remarkable in the way of brains driving it, and brilliance won't produce top grades without compliance: valedictorians probably aren't generally the smartest kids in their school or the most likely to be successful in later life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:51 PM
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All I want is to never hear the Mamma Mia soundtrack ever again.

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times; no more fucking Abba!"


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:54 PM
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"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times; no more fucking Abba!"

If they haven't grasped the incest taboo by the thousandth time, they're probably not going to get it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 4:59 PM
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303

Accordingly, lemmy doesn't know what he is talking about.

I could be wrong.

In other words, the pathway to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship where a couple might go on a date begins with hooking up. In the dating era, students would go on a date, which might lead to something sexual happening; in the hookup era, students hook up, which might lead to dating. This is a reversal of the traditional order of things. The problem is that many college men are pleased with the status quo; they can hook up and if they want to pursue an ongoing relationship they can, but they are under no obligation to do so.

It may be that men who are able to hook up are generally able get a long term girlfriend if they want. I guess there could be men who want girlfriends but who for some reason find it hard to "hook up".


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:07 PM
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in high school perfect compliance translates well into high grades even without much remarkable in the way of brains driving it

What's interesting and disappointing is when this dynamic returns unexpectedly in adult life.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:08 PM
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282: I thought of you the other day, apo, when I saw a CD entitled The Very Best of Enya. Which seemed to imply an improvement over a mere (and previously released?) Best of Enya. So: would you rather have to listen to Abba or Enya?

Re: the topic at hand, I agree with ttaM and JRoth (way upthread).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:10 PM
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Somehow, getting sex interferes with good grades for boys but not girls in high school:

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/04/yet_another_sal.html



Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:14 PM
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would you rather have to listen to Abba or Enya?

I'd rather listen to Abba, but the Mamma Mia sountrack isn't even Abba. It's Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried and so forth singing Abba songs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:16 PM
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What is a man deep down inside but a raging beast with nothing to hide?

This line just came around in the 1981 Dead concert I'm listening to. Better get back to watching my son's hockey game: girls play too, but what a difference in style.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:17 PM
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I guess there could be men who want girlfriends but who for some reason find it hard to "hook up".

Maybe we they aren't attractive. I don't say that to be tendentious, but to suggest that where men and women have roughly equal (or at least closer to equal than women other than very exceptional women of the past) sexual freedom, being prima facie attractive to women is more important for men than it might have been when men did most of the overt initial choosing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:18 PM
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women have always done the choosing.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:20 PM
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fewer college age men want a long term girlfriends so the ones that do tend to come across as less desirable.

Given that most relationships start out casual, I'd say that any one saying from the get go 'This is a serious long term thing' is going to come across more than a little clingy/creepy. Doesn't matter what their gender is.

Mutter Courage and her Kinder Isn't this a Cordwainer Smith story?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:23 PM
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305: Re: the topic at hand, I agree with ttaM and JRoth (way upthread).

You mean at comments 8-11 or so?

8: I think part of the problem is that boys often are[n't] socialized to become _men_, either.

It wasn't clear to me what being socialized to be men was supposed to be. Witt uses the term "manhood" at 21. I took it that this was to mean responsible adulthood in general, regardless of gender. Which just then seems to restate the problem: young men don't behave like responsible adults because they aren't socialized to behave as responsible adults.

I wasn't getting anywhere with that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:25 PM
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Okay, look, I just don't believe in this hook-up culture thing. I know lots of folks (many in their very early twenties, such being my fate due to running with the anarchists) who have fairly casual sex. Some of these kids are even unusually good-looking. But they don't just randomly have sex; they have sex with people they like and are attracted to. As a result, it's usually more of a "hanging out followed by fairly casual sex and more hanging out and more sex, progressing either to irritation or serious fondness", which is pretty much how all my relationships have been. In fact, if I'd had higher self esteem in my mid-twenties, I would have been quicker and more casual with the sex, since all that prevented me from sleeping with people was the conviction that they would be absolutely disgusted by my not-especially-thinness and what I perceived to be my plainness and that therefore even the plainest expression of interest was probably either imaginary or a mistake on the part of the interested person.

So yeah, I just don't believe that the kids are particularly different in sexual behavior from kids when I was one.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:26 PM
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From talking to my single friends, it sounds like the dating scene as we grow older is much less casual, much more formalized, with things such as "first dates" that occur without any sexual contact whatsoever! This is interesting to me, and seems to be the opposite of what happened in earlier generations, according to John Updike and other expert sex talkers.

Either that or my friends have become much less awesome.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:26 PM
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girls play too, but what a difference in style

The one girl on my 12-yr-old son's team is their best defender.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:32 PM
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303 I'm always skeptical of this line of reasoning. Not so much that the surveys that indicate such dissatisfaction are false, but that they are getting socially conditioned and expected responses.

Also, a question to the folks in my generation here - I graduated from college in '92, long before the 'hook up culture' and 'death of dating' began getting all this press, but it seems exactly like how things worked when I was a student - people got to know each other, hooked up, and then started going on actual 'dates' as a couple. FWIW it always seemed to me that guys were just as likely to be dissatisfied with single status and one night stands as women. And come to think of it my dad once mentioned a hook up with a girl he liked back in the early sixties who not only didn't call him back, also said that 'le fait qu'on a coucher ensemble ne veut pas dire que vous pouvez me tutoyer'. Plus ca change...


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:39 PM
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316: That's pretty cold, even in French.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:41 PM
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'le fait qu'on a coucher ensemble ne veut pas dire que vous pouvez me tutoyer'.

Stone cold, eh? Thinking of going to bed with someone with whom I preferred to remain on a vous basis, I imagine it would be either a bit fetishy or rather unpleasant, or even both.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:44 PM
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Pwnd.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:45 PM
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French Nosflow says:
'le fait qu'on ait coucher ensemble ne veut pas dire que vous pouvez me tutoyer'


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:45 PM
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It seems pretty different in high school. Bigger size difference, and the big aggressive girls play more mainstream sports.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:46 PM
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ait
darn.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:46 PM
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it seems exactly like how things worked when I was a student

Pretty much, yeah. Although it didn't work that way on every occasion; it's not like you might not meet someone in a class, ask to get a copy of his or her lecture notes from last week, agree to get coffee after class next week, invite each other to a party a week later ... which is more or less working up to dates which lead to sex if both parties are amenable.

The descriptions of hook-up culture I read seem to suggest that it's all hooking up (first), all the time, which I find impossible to believe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:47 PM
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So yeah, I just don't believe that the kids are particularly different in sexual behavior from kids when I was one.

Unless I'm quite mistaken about your age, this is pretty funny.

I have no idea whether "hook-up culture" exists, but, insofar as it might, its salient characteristics would be widespread acceptance of NSA status. A lower threshold of relationship as a precondition for sex* is one thing; abandonment of the relationship as any kind of framework for sex is, imo, another. Hook-ups are an old story, but I think generally the exception, not the rule. The idea of someone having NSA sex with, say, a half-dozen different people a month, in and out of his/her social circle, is a change in kind (at least in the post-AIDS era). But I don't know whether or not it's happening on more than an isolated basis.

* iow, sex on the 1st date vs. the 10th or the 30th


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:49 PM
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people got to know each other, hooked up, and then started going on actual 'dates' as a couple.

For the record, this is how BOGF and I got started.

DON'T DO IT, KIDS.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:52 PM
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Speaking of gendered tasks, a mouse just died in my cold-air return. Or, more precisely, a dead mouse just got rank enough that I could notice the odor. At least, every other plausible interpretation of the data is much worse*. I get to go looking for something that I don't want to see but that I must find. Sometimes I wish I could just call the landlord to take care of problems. Then I remember what happened when I tried to get a landlord to deal with a dead mouse.

*The mouse could be somewhere inaccessible in the wall or underneath the drawer with the food processor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:56 PM
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324: If you mean that I seem childish, I point out that I am thirty-five I'm just badly-educated and a hippie. (Well, really more a post-punk anarchist.) I don't have kids and I do a lot of activist stuff, so I tend to live like (and, god knows, talk to much like) the youth.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:57 PM
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Damn it, too much like.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 5:59 PM
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M. Prof Awl,

Je vous remercie pour votre aimable intervention, mais j'aurais pense que quand un prof corrige quelque chose, il pourrait le faire correctement. Donc 'le fait qu'on ait couché...' n'est ce pas, ou aurais-je oublie mes lecons d'orthographie a ce point la?

Veuillez...etc, etc.

teraz


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:03 PM
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Don't you mean "mais j'aurais pensé"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:06 PM
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311:Mutter Courage and her Kinder Isn't this a Cordwainer Smith story?

I screwed with the title on purpose

Linebarger did write something called "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons", but it has no allusions to Brecht, other than perhaps the title.

CS is one of the more opaque idiosyncratics in SF, but most likely High Church Conservative, like Lafferty.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:11 PM
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I was too lazy to put in all the marks, mais t'as raison, j'aurai dû le faire.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:13 PM
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Just being une petite chienne, of course.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:15 PM
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"J'ai aimé farouchement mes semblables cette journée-là, bien au-delà du sacrifice."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:17 PM
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t'as

Oh you're definitely getting marked down for that.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:24 PM
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And she said, "Love, Lord above . . ."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:28 PM
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335: Totally. I don't care what happened that night, it doesn't mean he gets to tutoyer me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:30 PM
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out-chienned, I see. I was just copy-pasting.
No hard feelings, I hope, teraz?


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 6:57 PM
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would you rather have to listen to Abba or Enya?

Is that even a question? I mean, Abba's one of the great pop groups of all time, while Enya is moody atmospheric fluff that only sounds good when you're stoned late at night.

(Personally, I think Tom Wolfe invented "the hook-up culture" to explain why the co-eds on his lecture circuit wouldn't fuck him any more.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:05 PM
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As usual, no one around at the weird hours. Well, in that case, I'll make use of the time to note that in my neck of the woods, the fact that boys (usually) start their studies after military service at 21 doesn't really do much for the general defratization; although I haven't really seen what it's like in the states. Maybe it's much worse than here.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:07 PM
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||

I'm guessing that the guy who just leaned into a shop across from where I'm sitting and loudly spoke in slurred Italian with a North American accent to one of the shop employees (who may or may not know Italian) was drunk. Both the guys working in the shop started laughing after the guy left.

|>


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:09 PM
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As usual, no one around at the weird hours.

Maybe the rest have been wiped out by snowmageddon.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:11 PM
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Well, I for one am totally geBtocken - finishing up the Balvenie.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:11 PM
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342: For not saying snowpocalypse, you really deserve some sort of award. Maybe some artisan hand-frozen water.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:14 PM
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Which is a whiskey. Is there a snowmageddon? Anyone? Anyone?


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:14 PM
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My understanding from the weather forecast was that I would be buried under snow starting right around now, but so far, nothing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:18 PM
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I blame the weather media for hyping everyone into a state of panic over the slightest suggestion of precipitation. (And I blame the Canadian weather media for that ridiculous "wind chill factor" nonsense).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:20 PM
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snowmageddon

Not yet. But watching it come in, knowing how it's going to be, knowing that you've done about all you can (bread? cheese? veggies? fruit? wine? popcorn? where's the shovel? not outside by the shed I hope!), and realizing that you're going to be doing the snug-bug-in-a-rug routine for the next two days does make for a quiet frame of mind.

I need to select a new novel to begin, I think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:20 PM
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And anyway, shouldn't snowmageddon mean more blog commenting?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:20 PM
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344: I could put a snowball in it from our one day of snow this winter. It's in the freezer, and it's shrinking. I'd rather put a few drops in some whiskey, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:21 PM
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Mark me down as a pleasant petite sirah buzz -- it snowed most of the day, but not much stuck down in town. Up at the house it's about a skiff and a half, while in might have been a couple inches in the mountains.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:33 PM
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346 -- I've never been clear on where you are, essear. It's been snowing just steadily, steadily, steadily, and thickly, since about 3 pm here, in a way that feels like: Hi there! I am snow, here to visit you. I'll be here for a while. *wink*

Maybe 4-5 inches so far. MC wants to pooh-pooh the weather media, and I admit the news on the radio this morning seemed a bit much (schools closing early! fed gov't closing early! some schools not opening at all! not to mention the runs on the grocery stores), but I think this is going to be kind of a lot of snowing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:34 PM
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Buzzed enough to have scanned 339.2 as Tom Waits, and wondered what the youth of today are coming to.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:35 PM
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I need to select a new novel to begin, I think.

Might as well open another bottle of wine, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:36 PM
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354: This one's barely begun. Anyway, have to conserve - there's the weekend ahead.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:38 PM
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It's unusually warm here, I guess because of some petulant boy El Niño, which is nice, but I'd rather have it unusually warm with only a few clouds or unusually warm with clouds and rain, instead of unusually warm and just plain dull gray.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:39 PM
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I need to select a new novel to begin, I think.

need recommendations?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:40 PM
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Snowgnarök. Snowtterdämmerung. Snowcharit hayamim.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:41 PM
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According to the AP*:

As heavy snow fell at an Indianapolis airport, Colts fans arrived early hoping they could still catch flights to Miami, where the Super Bowl was to be held.

Is the reporter implying it's been canceled?

*I'm sure that quoting to belittle the reporting is fully covered under fair use.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:47 PM
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The quote from the Finnish World Bank employee is a nice touch, though.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:48 PM
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352: I'm slightly closer to Philadelphia than to New York. Still no snow here. Apparently the really heavy snow here is expected to be in the wee hours of the morning. (And it looks like New York will get only a few inches.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:51 PM
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need recommendations?

Given that I'm restricted to what's in the house, probably not. But thanks!

I could go in the major classics direction (never did read Moby Dick or Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses, or various Thomas Mann's, or various Pynchons, or the vaious 19c mannered novels -- maybe I could finish Middlemarch) ... or I could go in the direction of, say, The Education of Henry Adams, or ... huh.

We'll just have to see how I feel tomorrow morning.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:54 PM
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I've settled on 'snowtorious b.i.g." as my preferred name for this East Coast storm.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:54 PM
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Maybe 4-5 inches so far. MC wants to pooh-pooh the weather media, and I admit the news on the radio this morning seemed a bit much (schools closing early! fed gov't closing early! some schools not opening at all! not to mention the runs on the grocery stores), but I think this is going to be kind of a lot of snowing.

I also think they've run through a lot of the snow removal budget already where you are. Snow! There for the duration!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:55 PM
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I think this is going to be kind of a lot of snowing.

I'll say. The magic Weather Channel says you're getting about an inch an hour.

#355. That's what cases are for: just this kind of emergency.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:56 PM
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#362. Start by taking this opportunity to re-read "The Dead."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:59 PM
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358: Actuarial Snowgnarök?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 7:59 PM
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never did read Moby Dick or Gravity's Rainbow or Ulysses, or various Thomas Mann's, or various Pynchons, or the vaious 19c mannered novels -- maybe I could finish Middlemarch

All of these sit on my shelves and mock me for not finding more time to read.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:04 PM
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Hi there! I am snow, here to visit you. I'll be here for a while. *wink*

Maybe, but I bet that by the end the snow still won't let you tutoyer it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:04 PM
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Have I mentioned that I finally finished "reading" Moby Dick? Eleven years after I first started it in print, five years after starting the audiobook. It has its moments. Some of them good, too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:06 PM
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Maybe 4-5 inches so far.

With much more expected by morning, eh? Okay, yeah, that's worth hyping. My problem with the weather media is that they hype the small stuff (apparently in order to make an otherwise boring topic more exciting and dramatic?).

I'd like to read a Trollope, but most of my novels are still packed away in boxes in the basement (or possibly in a storage unit in Queens).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:06 PM
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I don't mind snow half as much as the slush that soon succeeds it.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:07 PM
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"It has its moments. Some of them good, too"

Like this one?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:09 PM
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never did read Moby Dick

Parsimon, you must.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:16 PM
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I've settled on 'snowtorious b.i.g." as my preferred name for this East Coast storm.
I'll be 'snowp doggy dog', then.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:16 PM
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It's possible that all the best parts of Moby Dick have been posted as comments to this blog, but reading the novel would be a faster way of finding them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:19 PM
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All of these sit on my shelves and mock me for not finding more time to read.

It's a puzzling thing, I think sometimes, why some of us have these things on our shelves (because they're classics which I might want to read someday, and I believe people when they say they're worth it).

Truth is, I have no particular desire to read Ulysses, or, probably, Gravity's Rainbow. The rest I can see myself moving into a frame of mind, or place in life, in which I might want to engage the things.

On preview: oh noes! Jesus says I must read Moby Dick. Now?!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:23 PM
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Funnily enough, I've never read Moby Dick either. Never even started.

Anyway, we've got six inches of snow with more falling, a dead mouse that I can smell, and no wine. We do have bourbon and beer. And I'm nearly at level 2000 on the Wii Swordplay. So, we should be fine.

Also, snow and a nearly full-moon make for a bright night.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:23 PM
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Whenever the subject comes up here of what people are reading, I feel really rather unintellectual. (Except back when Deathly Hallows was released. Those were good times.) Next on my reading list is The Lightning Thief.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:26 PM
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Now, parsimon! You won't regret it!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:28 PM
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Deathly Hallows is one of my favorite books, however I thought Half-Blood Prince was better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:28 PM
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371.last: I think I have a Trollope around here somewhere. He wrote a few, so I couldn't tell you which one, but if I can find it, I'll read the first few pages, experimentally like. Maybe it'll be just what I fancy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:29 PM
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381: The Prisoner of Azkaban was probably my favorite, actually. But I didn't start reading here until long after that came out.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:33 PM
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383: I could never get fully into the whole willing suspension of disbelief needed for the time turner to stop bugging me. I'm not opposed to time travel, but the whole "the patronus was there the first time through the loop because Harry made it the second time through the loop even though he only started the second time through the loop because he lived through the first" kind of seemed a bit much. But I thought P of A was the best written.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:37 PM
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Moby Dick is so, so great. I thought it would be good when I first read it, but I had no idea.

I might add that it's an easy read, in that it's about 150 chapters, each pretty brief, so you can pick it up and put it down. I read it in my free time over a month or so during my final year of college.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:44 PM
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All of these sit on my shelves and mock me for not finding more time to read.

I haven't accomplished a lot in my life so far, but I have read the fuck out of some books. That's all that I've ever wanted to do, really. I could be perfectly happy spending the rest of my life doing nothing but reading (though ideally, I'd like to look at art, listen to music, eat good food, and drink good booze, too.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:44 PM
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OTOH, I recently started Pride and Prejudice, and holy shit do I not care about that.

I'm not sure I've ever read a serious* 19C British novel that I've enjoyed. American and Russian, sure. Hated Bovary, but that was a long time ago.

* that's to exclude Frankenstein and Dracula, the only 2 exceptions I can think of.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:46 PM
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I was going to write basically the exact substance of 384 until I previewed. Prisoner of Azkaban was the most emotionally satisfying and winsome of all the books, but time turner, wtf? McGonagall is really going to entrust this incredibly powerful tool, unique in the world or nearly so, to a seventh grader? And rather than using it to reverse the casualties caused by Dark Magic or save lives or something, McGonagall gives it to a kid essentially so she can take fourth period chem without missing band practice?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:48 PM
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You don't have to do what Jesus tells you to, even if you ask what he would do.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:49 PM
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387: I read a condensed version of A Tale of Two Cites. It was brilliant. Otherwise, I'm in the same boat, except that I've never read Frankenstein.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:49 PM
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390: It wasn't even the longest of Dickens' books. It wasn't even the shortest of Dickens' books.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:50 PM
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327: OK, you're just a bit younger than me - I thought it was more like 5+ years, which would put you at least 1/3 of the way from me to "kids today."

It's actually not your lifestyle as such; it's conflation with Nat's details (I know the major ways in which you're different, of course, but precise ages is a lot to keep track of). If you were Nat's age, it would be very funny for you to make a big deal that "kids today" aren't that different from when you were a "kid."

Anyway, feel free to frown at me over this.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:51 PM
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384: Huh. I never thought hard enough about that to be bothered. Apparently even discussing Harry Potter here leaves me feeling dim. Fox in Socks, anyone?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:51 PM
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380: Now, parsimon! You won't regret it!

That's what I hear, it's true; sometimes accompanied by impassioned pleas and quotations. Maybe not now, though.

I think something genteel, quietly-souled, slightly but not overly humorous, is really the ticket. Maybe the Henry Adams, or that Henry Miller travel thing, Colossus of Maroussi, or heck, maybe Charles Everitt's Adventures of a Treasure Hunter, which is famed in book trade circles.

But actually I don't think I've ever read any Henry James -- oh, The Golden Bowl I did read, and maybe a collection of short stories/novellas.

Maybe some nature writing. Never have read any John Muir, not that I have much here. The Annie Dillard and Edward Abbey that I haven't read are sitting over there, sadly smirking at me; but I'm not really in that mode any more right now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:55 PM
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Henry Adams' autobiography falls squarely in the category of books I feel obligated to read, but haven't and maybe won't, rather than books I want to read. Strangely, his massive history of the US during the Jefferson and Madison administrations are in the category of books that I want to read, but are so fucking long I probably won't read them. The LOA editions do look nice on the shelf.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:57 PM
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I don't understand 384. Time travel plots never make any fucking sense; how is this worse than any other one?

I liked Pride and Prejudice. It's been a while since I read it, but I recall thinking that Elizabeth Bennet was a great character: clever and entertainingly snarky, or at least whatever the 19th-century approximation of snarky is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:57 PM
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387: Mark Twain wrote about Jane Austen that "her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy" and that simply omitting her books would "make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it." I've heard she's quite good, but I haven't read her.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 8:58 PM
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a condensed version of A Tale of Two Cites.

"See, e.g., Paris;
But compare, London."


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:00 PM
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Henry James is worth the effort, Parsimon. Really!

I'm not so sure about Moby Dick, which I doubt I'll ever read. I don't love a manly novel. I do love Trollope and Dickens.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:00 PM
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387.1 made me laugh. Out loud. Which is good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:00 PM
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When tweetle beetles battle with their paddles in a puddle and the puddle's in a bottle on a noodle eating poodle...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:01 PM
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394.4: Oh, I lurve the late Henry James novels. The Golden Bowl, The Wings of the Dove, and The Ambassadors. Amazingly well-constructed characters. The man was a better psychologist than his psychologist brother, I think.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:04 PM
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You should take the first sentence of each of your books, arrange them together into shapes appearing to be paragraphs, call it an art project with the title "And there arises a world literature", claim copyright on it, lawyer up, and then sue anyone who reads even a single word from it aloud for engaging in an unauthorized performance.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:05 PM
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Mann is terrific. Just read last week that Mann researched Afred Marshalls theory of the firm in writing Buddenbrooks. Marshall had to introduce a dynamism into his equilibrium in order to create varying productivities, and used the decline from the entrepeneur to managers to wastrels in a family in order to make the equations work.

Wiki says Mann also studied historical grain prices in Lubeck. That's Mann, declining margins, Tristan & Isolde Liebestod, and rotting teeth.

Buddenbrooks is a great place to start.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:05 PM
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The man was a better psychologist than his psychologist brother, I think.

And, I should say, a very compelling storyteller, even in scenes where pretty much nothing happens.

My only complaint about James, which for some reason comes to mind right now, is that he uses the phrase "hang fire" all the time to mean "pause" or "stop mid-sentence" or something like that, and it's distracting since it's so unidiomatic now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:08 PM
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I don't think I've ever read any Henry James

Oh, parsimon; you cut me to the quick. If you're going to read James, and I can't imagine life without him, myself, The Golden Bowl is just about the worst place to start. Read Washington Square first, or The American, then move on to Portrait of a Lady, then The Bostonians, then, maybe, The Tragic Muse.

Portrait of a Lady is one of my favorite books, ever.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:09 PM
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396.1: As noted in 388, you (if you are Hermione) can apparently get a time travel device for school projects. That is indeed what started bothering me about the time turner. But, on reflection, what bothered me most was the mechanics of it.

Often people, at least the kind of people who worry about time travel, wonder what would happen if you went back in time and killed your grandfather or something. P of A has a reverse, double-strength version of that.

Harry was in a situation (Reality #1) were he would have died except that he had traveled back in time (Reality #2) to save his own life in Reality #1. In other words, he wouldn't have been alive to save his own life if he hadn't have saved his own life. Going back in time to save somebody else's life at least makes some sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:10 PM
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Di, if it makes you feel better, I am taking a brief break from being ensconced on the couch reading a thriller with beautiful prose gems like this:

"Lien-hua's eyes scanned the room like careful lasers. Beautifully dark, mysteriously inviting lasers."

I'm in the middle of Vineland, which is thoroughly entertaining but was feeling too high-brow for tonight.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:11 PM
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In other words, he wouldn't have been alive to save his own life if he hadn't have saved his own life.

But this is perfectly internally consistent.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:12 PM
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408 is mine.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:12 PM
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"were he would have died" s/b "where he would have died"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:13 PM
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In The Princess Cassimassima, which I really liked despite the ending*, James uses the word "irrelevant-" to describe dialogue surprisingly often.

*There was probably no other way to end it, and it was clear that it was going to end that way, so for the last few hours of reading I kept hoping it would end some other way and knew it wouldn't and then it didn't. This may have been the effect he was going for.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:13 PM
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People, MC says that Moby Dick is a manly novel. Heck. Can't I just read it without reading the secondary literature first?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:13 PM
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409: How so?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:16 PM
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I wouldn't describe it as a manly novel. And yes, forget everything you've read or heard about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:17 PM
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You know, I don't really think my blog comments count as secondary literature, Parsimon. I mean, it's not as though I'm a literary critic, or anything like that.

But holy crap, people! Jane Austen. She was not just good, she was the best.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:20 PM
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408: That helps a little, thanks. I think I'll head up to bed and watch The Nanny on TV or something, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:22 PM
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406: Portrait of a Lady is one of my favorite books, ever.

And I feel as though I must surely have read it, and yet I think I haven't. I can't tell you why I read The Golden Bowl -- it was to hand? Anyway, I heed your advice. You've only steered me wrong a few times, after all.

And I hear bob in 404: Buddenbrooks is a great place to start.

I've read a fair amount of Mann, but not that, and all I have left around here at the moment are the Joseph books, which I've read lately are problematic, and I don't really want to get into that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:23 PM
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Does anyone want to go look behind the filter of my furnace? If the mouse isn't there, then I have to pull out the screen and see how far down the cold air return he is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:25 PM
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The man was a better psychologist than his psychologist brother, I think.

MANY PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE THINKING WHEN THEY ARE MERELY REARRANGING THEIR PREJUDICES.


Posted by: OPIONATED WILLIAM JAMES | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:30 PM
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407: You must really hate Lost if you watch it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:33 PM
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AT LEAST I CAN SPELL.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HENRY JAMES | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:33 PM
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I AM TESTING THE BOUNDS OF PERCEPTION, MAN. CHILL.


Posted by: OPIUMATED WILLIAM JAMES | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:35 PM
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You've only steered me wrong a few times, after all.

Then I've served you better than most!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:37 PM
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421: I don't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:39 PM
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Unfogged will be torn apart not by fights over feminism, or procedural liberalism, or, uh, whatever that other thing is.

Nay! Jane Austen vs. Herman Melville. Henry James vs. Harry Potter.

I think I'll have a snack. I enjoy Lost despite its faults.

424: Sure. As long as we don't discuss prog rock much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:44 PM
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||

I just made a pound cake to bring to an event and I realized too late that I forgot to add the vanilla. So annoyed at myself right now. I hope the fact that it contains lemon and coconut will mask my shame since I don't have time or the ingredients on hand to do it over.

|>


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 9:57 PM
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427: It'll be fine.

I mean, vanilla is delicious, but you've got some other flavors in there anyway, and even a plain pound cake is delicious.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:02 PM
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Also, were you going to ice it? If you're really worried about the vanilla flavor you could slip some (or some extra) vanilla into the icing.

But like I said, it will be fine anyway. Who's really going to argue with homemade cake?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:04 PM
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429: Vanilla Ice. Ice, Ice Baby. Rolling, with my pound cake dough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:05 PM
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M/tch M/lls was a baker?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:07 PM
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Also, were you going to ice it?

Lemon juice and confectioners sugar glaze. I think it will be fine, and I definitely wouldn't care if I had made it for myself. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to making things for other people though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:08 PM
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I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to making things for other people though.

I completely understand. But it turns out that, in general, other people are insensate brutes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:10 PM
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I used to make homemade cakes. But they argued with me all the time, so I stopped.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:12 PM
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Don't get me wrong. I love other people. I even bake cakes for them. But they have a tendency to be so damn undiscerning.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:13 PM
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All right stop, decorate and listen.
Icing is back with a brand new confection.
Something grabs a pastry bag tightly.
Flow like fondant, leftly and rightly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:14 PM
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Wait. Fondant is the really firm icing, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:18 PM
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But they have a tendency to be so damn undiscerning.

Especially with regard to baked goods, especially cake-like things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:18 PM
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435 to 437.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:20 PM
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Damn it, now part of it didn't unmold very well. If it rains it pours I guess. Hopefully a liberal dose of glaze and some artful rebuilding and cutting can somewhat hide that.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:21 PM
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If there was a problem, Yo -- you'll solve it!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:25 PM
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Here's all you need to know about fondant, Moby.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:26 PM
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Hopefully a liberal dose of glaze and some artful rebuilding and cutting can somewhat hide that.

They will. It'll be great. Like I said: homemade cake!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:29 PM
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442: My favorite icing is the one where you whoomp-up powdered sugar and milk. I don't like fondant much either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:29 PM
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I had a baker/chef roommate who said the same thing. He'd watch cooking competition shows and talk about how many of the cakes probably tasted like cardboard.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:29 PM
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443: Really 441 is all the encouragement anybody ever needs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:30 PM
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When we make fondant, we do the very sophisticated marshmallow variety (melt a bag of marshmallows and combine with enough powdered sugar to make it fondanty). I still think it's gross, but I know a few people who like it. I've often thought it would be good if we ever get one of those blowtorch things and toasted it like a giant s'more cake. Someone should try that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:36 PM
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445: Fondant can produce stunning visual effects, but I like to eat cake, not stare at it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:39 PM
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OT: Does anybody know the email address to use for LB? I've gathered that the at unfogged address is pretty much useless any more; I recall LB relaying her address from time to time, but haven't noted it. It's like l.breath, or lizard.breath at something. Dunno. I'd appreciate it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:44 PM
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449: I'm pretty sure her @unfogged address works. Give it a try.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 10:49 PM
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I can't remember how many trips I've taken Ulysses on with good intentions. Even started a few times. Oh well. I have read Moby Dick and various James novels and fully second the Portrait of a Lady rec. How one can dislike Bovary is beyond me, ditto for how one can like Dickens. Mann - Magic Mountain is quite good but still not worth the effort. His shorter stuff is a lot of fun, as is Felix Krull. On food, made chile rellenos tonight, first time I tried and it came out great - sweet Italian sausage fried up in duck fat then simmered with tomatoes, mixed with a crumbly white cheese for the stuffing. Duck fat - no more expensive than butter and so good for frying stuff in, and its not like the stuff ever goes bad.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:00 PM
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Talking about Trollope, what can the commentariat recommend. I read Can you forgive her? and liked, though didn't love it. Then I tried Phineas Finn and only made it half way through, finding it tedious beyond belief.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:04 PM
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You have something against Irish members?

I read The Way We Live Now and enjoyed it, but Trollope's writing style is almost too straighforward for me.

I read Ulysses. The secret is to read it quickly (relatively) and not get bogged down in footnotes and critical commentaries. I picked the Oxford World Classics edition since it had enough footnotes if I cared to look for them, and solved the whole which text issue by reprinting the 1923 version. It had some printing errors, but really, who could tell?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:21 PM
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Rather than a mistake, the unclosed italics tag in the last comment says something deep and meaningful about the English language. See the Norton critical edition of Unfogged for details.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:24 PM
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If you're looking for a good Trollope novel, I recommend Orley Farm.

Re: Dickens: If you can get past the cloying sentimentality (all those angels in the house and so on), not to mention the bourgeois nostalgia (for ye merrie olde Englande of roast beef and faithful servants to honest masters and etc), what's not to love?! Colourful characters, vivid dialogue, socially engaged (if somewhat naively expressed) didacticism, plots that twist and turn and amble through squalid back alleys to stately country homes and back again...it's great stuff!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:34 PM
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Moby Dick is terrific. I literally cannot imagine not having read Gravity's Rainbow.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:47 PM
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The only icing I can stand is cream cheese frosting. I have never read Gravity's Rainbow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:51 PM
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I'm not sure I've ever read a serious* 19C British novel that I've enjoyed. American and Russian, sure.

Um, excuse me, I believe the 19th century had a little thing we like to call Thomas fucking Hardy, punk.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 5-10 11:54 PM
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My wife and kids love those tv cake shows. "cake boss" and to a lesser extent "ace of cakes".


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:04 AM
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I didn't finish Moby Dick [although it was a long time ago], but yeah, Gravity's Rainbow is great. At one time I'd several copies of that, as I'd buy them to lend to people. Although, tbh, I'd be more likely to pick up Vineland or Crying of Lot 49 if I had an urge to read some Pynchon right now.

re: Dickens: Great Expectations is good place to start, as it's relatively short and concise. Also, really quite modern in its construction.

For 19th c. English fiction, there's always Hardy and the Brontes, all of whom are pretty interesting/entertaining/not-fusty.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:07 AM
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Argh, Hardy-pwned by nosflow.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:08 AM
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I read GR when it first came out, as a teenager, without having read anything about it (or any other literary criticism). I actually just bought a new copy of V this week -- while getting my son Lot 49 -- and I'll take a run at it sometime soon. Haven't read it for 20 years at least.

I got the GTMO anthology in the mail today. Folks here are probably already familiar with the story in my excerpt (how I met the gov. of Aden), but all of the others that I've read so far{including Mr. Mc's) are really worth it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:25 AM
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I recently started Pride and Prejudice, and holy shit do I not care about that.

Give it a chance. People react against Austen because they expect self-regarding Literature, when in fact it's very dry satire. If she was alive today she's be working with Ricky Gervaise.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 4:29 AM
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456: dictionary.com may help you out with the meaning of 'literally'.


Posted by: hunger_artist | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 5:32 AM
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Give it a chance. People react against Austen because they expect self-regarding Literature, when in fact it's very dry satire.

This is correct. Maybe it is better to start with Emma, where the bite is more patently obvious from page one?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:26 AM
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Anybody who took the over on "Pittsburgh Snowfall Total" has a winning bet. I'm going to have to clear snow so that somebody can make snow angels without covering their whole head.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:34 AM
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I recently read Pride and Prejudice, and was surprised at the Disney ending. Once the right two people get married, it's assumed that everyone lives happily ever after.

Tolstoy gets it right.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:51 AM
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Parsimon-

I'm at elizardb@hotmail.com -- the @unfogged address works, but because I have it set up stupidly, I can only read it from work, so not until Monday.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:32 AM
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I love when things like 464 happen.

OH SHIT YOU GOT SERVED, UNFOGGETEER. BETCHA DIN'T THINK OF THAT!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:36 AM
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I found Gravity's Rainbow much funnier than Moby Dick, although I'd be perfectly willing to believe that "The Whiteness of the Whale" is a laugh riot if you're Melville's intended audience.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:45 AM
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Tolstoy gets it right.

(a) That is not "Tolstoy," it is the narrator of Anna Karenina.
(b) It is not assumed that everyone lives happily ever after at the end of Pride and Prejudice.
(c) Austen is, overall, the antithesis of soft-focus, dimwitted sentimentality.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:45 AM
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Trees. There are horizontal, extremely-low-altitude trees blocking my street in either direction. Plus some tool thought he could drive a Dodge Stratus through 16" of snow and now that's in the way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:53 AM
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Such a beautiful, peaceful Dodge Stratus! You wake up in the morning, and the whole Dodge Stratus is silent and still. It's a winter wonderstratus!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:16 AM
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||

"Letter of Intent"? I intend to go to grad school, you fuckers. Isn't that bad enough?

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:16 AM
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Ah, and it's a shame my neighbors aren't there to help you. They make their living shoveling in the winter - $18/hr if you have your own truck. They've been doing okay here this winter, but it could always be snowier.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:16 AM
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392: To backtrack a bit, JRoth, I know through sanctified off-blog communication that Natilo is only a few months younger than I am. And his shoes aren't anywhere near as nice as mine, either, although his punk-rock anarchist pals are punkier than my punk-rock anarchist pals.

As Franco Moretti observes, one of the hallmarks of modernity is finely-grained separation of people by age. Activist circles are the best possible proof of this; I have been feeling various kinds of embarrassingly-old amongst the anarchists since I was 26.

I do not frown, however, since I myself have only in the past couple of months realized that mcmanus is from Texas.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:17 AM
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You guys, I'm lamely at the hospital again with my older daughter. FML. Parsimon, you should REALLY read moby dick, it is so entertaining and marvellous and funny. It's not like how you think. Whatever you think it's like.


Posted by: Alameida | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:30 AM
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476: although his punk-rock anarchist pals are punkier than my punk-rock anarchist pals

This might be stretching a point just a bit. It's more like different components of the scene, which overlap considerably, as you'd see if you would deign to be on FB.

I actually missed the whole hook-up culture discussion yesterday. Since I was only in college for 5 months in the 1990s, it's hard for me to say how prevalent the culture was at that point, or when it changed. Certainly, it seemed like it was in full swing by the late 90s, when my then-FWB was telling me all about what things were like at her selective east coast university.

Based on what I see at work, where there is no shortage of gossip, and a pretty good sample of people from their very-early 20s to their early 40s, the hook-up culture thing has turned into sort of an accepted phase in college and just-post college life. People are pretty much out of it by the time they're 25, even freaky bohemian people.

I can't really tie this back into C19 English lit, because I haven't really read any of that. As you all know, Decadence and fin-de-siecle anarchism are more my thing. If you could only pick 5 books to get me up to speed, which ones would they be?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:31 AM
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There was 19 inches on the ground an hour ago. Its probably 20 by now.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:31 AM
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Parsimon, you should REALLY read moby dick, it is so entertaining and marvellous and funny. It's not like how you think.

Now, Alameida. I'm sure parsimon thinks in ways that are marvellous and funny and entertaining sometimes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:32 AM
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477: Oh no. Is it very serious?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:32 AM
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Yam cake with toasted coconut frosting; Moby Dick, read alongside the Dido Twite series by Joan Aiken.

I read a lot of long 19th century novels in my mid-twenties but I can't seem to get back into them now. I loved Portrait of a Lady, which I read during a miserable and isolated vacation in Beijing, but when I tried to reread it recently I gave up after about a hundred pages. Now it's all either science fiction or unpleasant political novels from Europe, with YA novels when I get too depressed.

We have snowmaggedon every year here in Minnesota and we consider you people to be total wankers, especially when London--for example--seems to get absolutely shut down by a couple inches of snow. (Although the pictures of snow on Hampstead Heath were wonderful pretty.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:37 AM
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482 - I love The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Are the sequels good?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:39 AM
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477: Oh dear. I didn't mean to heartlessly post about yams. I hope it's something resolvable.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:39 AM
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478.last:

George Eliot - Middlemarch
Thomas Hardy - Return of the Native
Jane Austen - Emma
Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
Charles Dickens - Great Expectations


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:39 AM
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Sorry, 485 was me.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:40 AM
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483: They're all very different from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase--while still satirical and funny, they're a bit less light and there's more character development. They're spooky and sad. Dido Twite turns into perhaps my favorite girl hero of children's books ever. The last couple books are rather thin.

The best three are The Stolen Lake, The Cuckoo Tree and Dido and Pa. is really a Dido Twite book with the heroine somewhat mysteriously described as if she were Dido's half-sister Is.

I would say that if you plan to read them to really young children, you should look them over yourself first. Dido and Pa in particular has some horrifying scenes, plus some very sad parts.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:44 AM
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We have snowmaggedon every year here in Minnesota and we consider you people to be total wankers,

The headlines from DC are cracking me up. "Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary! Many areas received over one foot of snow!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:44 AM
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487: The sentence fragment should start "Is Underground".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:46 AM
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485 is OK but Return of the Native s/b Jane Eyre (they're not comparable at all, but Bronte's probably easier to get into if you're not a fan of Victorian fiction already.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:49 AM
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As long as we are reviewing books, I though Moby Dick was long and boring. On the other hand I find Jane Austen tolerable although not so great that I have read all of her books.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:49 AM
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Looking out my window, I think there's but a bit more than a foot of snow in my part of metro DC. I am so disappointed.

488. Yeah, they're funny.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:50 AM
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Al, your poor kid seems to be having a lot of bad luck at the moment. Hope this is a quick one.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:50 AM
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Al, that rots. I hope your girl gets well right quick.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:51 AM
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Return of the Native s/b Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are runners-up, but both books, esp. WH, are too irritating to recommend right off the bat. I'd but Vanity Fair before either of them.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:54 AM
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especially when London--for example--seems to get absolutely shut down by a couple inches of snow.

Two words - snow tyres. Really hard to get them in Britain, so nobody does. A couple of inches is plenty if you're driving on all weather tyres.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:56 AM
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491: See, it's precisely the bizarre and discursive nature of Moby Dick that draws me in. The catalog of whales! The bizarre metaphors! Also, the realization of the immense importance of whaling and transatlantic stuff in early US history. (There's a book by Cesare Casarino, Modernity At Sea, which is supposed to be quite good on this--part of the UM Press's largely impenetrable Theory Out of Bounds series. Although I did manage to read The Black Atlantic, which is easier and funner, and found it useful on the topic.)

Jane Austen I used to like a lot, but somehow I got tired of the Austen hero and started reading all the books from the point of view of the Awful Woman (Miss Bingley, for example) and getting worried about what happened to her and that ended up putting me of.

This is one reason I like re-reading--I loved Jane Eyre when I was a kid, read some hard-core critiques of it when I was in my twenties and as a result found it annoyingly mushy, and now am fascinated by the parts that bored me before, where Jane is separated from Mr. Rochester.

You know what's a good novel by Charlotte Bronte? Villette is a good novel by Charlotte Bronte. Wow, it's depressing, and it has a great last line! And the heroine is like Jane Eyre only with realistic flaws.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:59 AM
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Two words - snow tyres.

Also, you know, plows. And salt.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:59 AM
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Also wait, I'm having list anxiety. (I can't have Natilo potentially thinking about saying he might take the wrong books under consideration!) Portrait of a Lady is definitely considered an American novel, not an English one, even though James lived in Britain at the time of writing, right? Because if not, switch out any of 485 for James.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:01 AM
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496: But, but...the buses! What about them? And the trains! And I keep reading blog posts about how awful and cold and unendurable it is, and then folks will post snapshots of a street with a half inch of snow on the ground, weather during which Minnesotans would be having an unexpected and delightful midwinter afternoon of bicycling, visits to the park, etc. All this is to say that I suspect the UK has much nicer weather than we do. (Especially since it then climbs up to about a million degrees here in the summer.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:02 AM
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I loved Jane Eyre when I was a kid, read some hard-core critiques of it when I was in my twenties and as a result found it annoyingly mushy, and now am fascinated by the parts that bored me before

I have the same relationship with JE. Reading Wide Sargasso Sea made me kind of love JE again, in a way, or at least made it interesting to me again.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:08 AM
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Also, the realization of the immense importance of whaling and transatlantic stuff in early US history.

If you ever make it to New Bedford, Massachusetts, do check out the Whaling Museum. It's sort of like they took the contents of Melville's brain when he was writing the discursive parts of the book and glued them all to the walls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:08 AM
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All this is to say that I suspect the UK has much nicer weather than we do.

Well we used to. But the Gulf Stream decided to take a vacation in western Greenland this winter, and I don't know if it's coming back or for how long.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:10 AM
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497.1 - Eric Jay Dolin's Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America is a delight.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:11 AM
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I watched the Liverpool-Everton match this morning. It didn't look cold at all.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:12 AM
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I should say that I have read Bleak House, plus lots of Poe and Conan Doyle. Just very little Great Literature.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:16 AM
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505: no, indeed. Except the time Fellani kicked Kuyt in the head. And then when Krygiakos broke Fellani's ankle. Those were both pretty cold.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:20 AM
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Oh! That is too violent for me!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:21 AM
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||

Hands out of pants for Ian Carmichael.

|>


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:24 AM
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Did we get D.C.'s snow or something? Yesterday we were predicted to get something like 8". We're probably closing in on two feet.

Also, snow tires are something that I haven't seen used much at all in twenty years. All-Season tires are all I've ever had.

Anyway, I'm going to call the neighbors and see who has a real saw. The smaller tree blocking the street is probably a foot in diameter and I can't get through it with my little shop saw.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:30 AM
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In 464 hunger_artist reveals himself to be a shithead.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:32 AM
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507. Ha!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:34 AM
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46 comments is a long time to bear a grudge, neb.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:35 AM
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Saying things like that is part of my morning ablution routine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:36 AM
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Isn't "morning ablution routine" a bit redundant?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:44 AM
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469 -- I know what the word means, but checked the recommended site to see what the de-lurker might be thinking. What do you know, the word means what I thought it meant, and what I meant to communicate in my comment.

Is it that difficult to understand, de-lurker, that one might read a book first as a teenager and then a number of times in the decade thereafter that has so substantial an impact on one's life that the alternate path is actually not imaginable? Let me try a different formulation for the same concept: when I was just 13, in 1971, my family moved from Ft. Worth Texas to Orinda California. I went from private to public school (skipping a grade in the process), had to sell my motorcycle (there was nowhere an underaged person could ride without being molested), and went skiing most (?) winter weekends for the next five years. I know how my life has turned out. I cannot imagine how it would have gone if we had stayed in Texas. Should I be able to? It's like imagining what life would be like if gravity was half strength. There are people capable of this, but I'm not one of them. What we have here is not a failure to communicate, but a failure of imagination.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:46 AM
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Yeah, I already took a bath three days ago.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:47 AM
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517 to 515.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:47 AM
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476.3 -- Frowner, as the word "from" is used where I live, bob is "from" Minnesota.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:48 AM
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519: What, for real? I had never heard that. Guess I'll have to read the archives before I start in on the English novels.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:52 AM
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502 -- One of my ambitions in life is to join in the Moby Dick read-aloud marathon in NB.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:54 AM
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I literally cannot imagine not having read Gravity's Rainbow.

Not having read Gravity's Rainbow, I literally cannot imagine having read Gravity's Rainbow. Unrelatedly, except that cakes are another subject of this thread, I bought The Cake Bible on impulse last night. Will report results.

Hope your daughter's better soon, al.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:55 AM
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Isn't "morning ablution routine" a bit redundant?

No.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:59 AM
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520 -- He moved long ago, but yes, I'm quite sure of this. And isn't it fun to group bob with the Minnesotans (you, Frowner, Emerson) rather than the Texans (HG, M/lls, Kraab, soub)?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:01 AM
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A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard. That's still my favorite line of Moby-Dick, which I feel a great fondness for despite not having read it in 15+ years.

I think I may go clear a little bit of snow off my steps. We seem to have about 18" here, but it's hard to tell. So far I've been using this snow-induced houseboundness for cleaning.

Hang in there, rosy-toed friend. Hospitals are no-fun places, and I hope you and Daughter X are home safely and soon.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:12 AM
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483, 487- Is Twite IS Dido's half sister. She shows up first in Dido and Pa. I think Dido is supposed to still be off on a boat or something during the action in Is Underground.

I love those books, but I'm not sure I think WoWC is really any lighter than the rest- I was terrified of the wolves and the mean governess when I was younger, and thought that Black Hearts in Battersea was much less stressful.

Anyway, Snarkout, you should read them all. Except maybe not the very last one (The Witch of Clatteringshaws) which I found dull and disappointing.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:17 AM
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Not that anybody asked, but the trees blocking my road are gone. It was like an Amish barn-raising. All the neighbors got together and, since nobody has a chain saw, we used hand tools. (In keeping with the original topic, I'll note that those helping were 90% male.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:40 AM
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Did it improve or reduce their odds of sex?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:46 AM
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Just took a walk around my neighborhood soulless apartment complex. Probably only six inches of snow, streets mostly plowed clear already. One guy shoveling out his car who started loudly mocking me for taking a walk in this weather. Whatever, dude.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:54 AM
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So far I've been using this snow-induced houseboundness for cleaning.

I've been using the light drizzle as proof that no exertion is possible, given our bleak dreary existence and the fact that without boundless sunshine there is no joy or hope to motivate us. I've already turned down two offers to work out, because I would have to get there through the intermittent drizzle. I couldn't possibly.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:57 AM
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493: Her poor kids have been constantly sick all their lives, I think.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:05 AM
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I read Wuthering Heights last summer, and don't see what could be annoying with it. Utterly amazing and flawless.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:08 AM
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Give it a chance. People react against Austen because they expect self-regarding Literature, when in fact it's very dry satire. If she was alive today she's be working with Ricky Gervaise.

Of no use to people who don't know what she's satirizing, then?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:20 AM
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I've only read Sense and sensibility, but it didn't strike me as remotely satirical. The gothic parody is, obviously.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:30 AM
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I do recommend her. She was very perceptive about how people are, and human relations, a good stylist, and entertaining.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:33 AM
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532: I teach it nearly every semester and find that it is really irritating to people who don't understand satanic impulses. Or if one starts thinking, while reading, "Maybe someone should contact the police" or "Wouldn't it be great if little Cathy moved to Gimmerton, met a nice boy?" the whole thing sort of falls apart.

I love it though, and find it's one of the few gothic novels that actually gets better with subsequent re-readings. Most are only good once.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:34 AM
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Wuthering Heights has been on my list for some time, as it was important to the Surrealists, and Bunuel made a film version of it in Mexico.

As far as Thomas Hardy goes, I keep meaning to read The Mayor of Casterbridge

For more Dickens, I've always meant to read Oliver Twist and Great Expectations as well as The Pickwick Papers.

W/r/t everyone else, that's where I bog down. I suppose I should read some Austen. A previous literary mentor strongly recommended Northanger Abbey as a starting point, but then Mansfield Park is the one mentioned in Metropolitan

I dunno.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:42 AM
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The headlines from DC are cracking me up. "Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary! Many areas received over one foot of snow!"

When I lived there in the mid nineties there was a storm like that, with the same warnings. Apparently people heeded them since when my girlfriend and I went out for a walk the town was completely deserted. Very nice. In NYC on the other hand big snowstorms tend to bring out lots of people to enjoy things. Even during a major blizzard you'll have people wandering around through the drifts. Then you've got Poland, where with the exception of kids or skiers nobody goes out during major snow unless they have to, but don't see it as much of an obstacle for stuff either. I think of this as a winter weather continuum with fear/incompetence shifting into fascination and then into seeing snow as a simple annoyance, just like nasty rain or serious heat.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:42 AM
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That was me


Posted by: terez kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:44 AM
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I think I know who posted 538, but the lack of references to Switzerland make me wonder.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:44 AM
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Our Mutual Friend is my favorite Dickens, Jude my favorite Hardy, P&P my favorite Austen. But of course, the most interesting and fun thing to read in the whole world is Tristram Shandy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:46 AM
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The headlines from DC are cracking me up. "Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary! Many areas received over one foot of snow!"

I'm kind of surprised DC has just a foot of snow. It's two feet here in Baltimore, maybe more by now, since it still hasn't stopped coming down -- basically 24 hours of continuous snowfall so far.

I think the 'please do not go outside!' routine is coming from emergency management workers, who are pissed off at the morons who decide to try to drive somewhere and invariably get stuck or cause accidents. The reports at 10 am here were a litany of 'blah blah road blocked due to disabled vehicles', 'also blah-de-blah road ... disabled vehicles', and on and on. A 9-car pileup on one of the more major roads.

We lost power right after I posted my last comment last night, whatever time that was. Now we're doing preemptive cooking and such in case we lose it again later today. Neighbors are being great about helping each other out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:48 AM
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One of my Satire students got really freaked out when she realized that, at some point, she was going to finish reading Tristram Shandy and she wouldn't be able to always be reading it. I love undergrads.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:50 AM
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When I was a kid in Boston in the late seventies there was a massive blizzard (six feet) and people were barred from driving for days. A skiing obsessed friend of ours decided to ignore it and go up to NH. He got stopped arrested, and given some huge fine.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:52 AM
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Wuthering Heights! I have not read! I have it upstairs! I think the order of things in light of this discussion is: finish Middlemarch; then either WH or Moby Dick.

I may need longer than just this weekend, however.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:54 AM
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Middlemarch; then either WH or Moby Dick

Oh, man. Love love love. I think I might read novels today. You'd think English PhD students read a lot of novels, but I almost never get to. Novels are fun!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:56 AM
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I disliked Wuthering Heights, but I do want to read Middlemarch.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:58 AM
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I resent the implication/presumption that I disliked WH because I "don't understand satanic impulses". I recall finding it ponderous.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:00 PM
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in Boston in the late seventies there was a massive blizzard (six feet)

I remember that! Was it really 6 feet? But I was living in central Mass then, and I remember my brother and I digging and forming an igloo-like snow cave big enough to fit the two of us. It was great.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:01 PM
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Anyone who has not read Middlemarch should do so immediately.

(My own bedtime reading project has for the past few months been reading all the Poirots in order. By the 1940s they really get a whole lot less racist and anti-semitic.*)

*For the record, this always comes from characters other than Poirot, but Hastings pretty much needs to go to the re-education camp.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:05 PM
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I didn't need much more than a weekend to finish WH.

The thing that made me read it was barely stopping myself from reading a recap of the plot in a blog post discussing the Kate Bush song. I had no idea of what *kind* of book it would be, and I think that really added to the experience. I love the idea of reading without preconceptions or knowing the plot, but you so rarely achieve it.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:07 PM
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I've only read the first chapter of Middlemarch so far, but I'd say it has very little in common with Wuthering Heights.


Posted by: David | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:09 PM
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"Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary! Many areas received over one foot of snow!"

Your neighbor is getting irked by over-much time spent being helpful. If you get stuck, he'll help you (once) but then he'll mock you on the internet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:18 PM
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526: But isn't there some doubt as to whether Pa is Is's father? She thinks he is and she's certainly Dido-ish enough.

In WOWC, I was always confident that the main characters would survive and triumph--it's written in ways that tip you off. Even as a child, I enjoyed the scary awfulness of the orphanage and the eeeeeeeeevvil governess without really being troubled by them. Whereas kids die in Dido and Pa. Kids die in Is Underground. And the sad/awful life of Guinevere in The Stolen Lake! Even reading those books as an adult, I find myself spooked by the scene where the little girl and her mother die in the river. Or the death of the midshipman! Or the sad-yet-evil old women who just want to go back to the Islands in The Cuckoo Tree. It's the accomplishment of those books that they manage to parody historical novels and make satirical jokes about British history while still having enough characterization to be haunting.

I read Wuthering Heights in high school and loathed it, partly because I found the characters so annoying and partly because it was sold to us as a great! love! story! We read a lot of 19th century novels in high school (including The Return of the Native, which gave me a persistent dislike of Hardy). I don't think we were, in general, ready to read them. I know most of my classmates struggled with the syntax, although I was a horrible little swot and had no trouble. But I don't feel like any of us got anything out of the books. We would have been much better off with, say, Berlin Alexanderplatz, or a Raymond Chandler novel or something.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:18 PM
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Oh, what I meant to say: AWB's discussion of WH has actually convinced me to reread it as soon as I can find my copy. AWB should have taught my high school English class by using a time turner.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:20 PM
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533 - It's not parody, it's satire. You need to have read Pamela, or at least be familiar with it, to appreciate Shamela. You need to be familiar only with rich nitwits, grasping social climbers, and twittering vanity to appreciate Austen.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:26 PM
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556, cont.: Offer not valid for Northanger Abbey.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:32 PM
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530: I've already turned down two offers to work out, because I would have to get there through the intermittent drizzle. I couldn't possibly.

Jeez. Now I know why weight lifters have such a reputation for wussiness. I ran 3 mi and change through the intermittent drizzle just to get to the starting line of my workout this morning, then did the workout (6), and then did the 3+ back home.

In honor of it beng Saturday, I am procrastinating on my core exercises, though.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:35 PM
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548: I wasn't speaking ill of anyone, and not you in particular. WH is, in fact, terrible if you judge it by the standards of the novel in the tradition of, say, Fielding. Realistic, recognizable characters with interesting, but largely sane motivations interact with a plausible world such that the progress of the narrative reflects a reasonably identifiable causality, etc. WH fulfills none of these standards. There is nothing sane, realistic, or even understandable about why things happen the way they do. And yeah, most of the characters talk and act like cognitively dysfunctional sociopaths.

To me, it's a lovely example of someone writing a balls-out insane book. I like it better than Jane Eyre because Charlotte expects you to sort of a little bit understand where her characters are coming from. Emily does not give a fuck. That should be a recipe for a disastrously bad novel, but somehow, if you're in the right state of mind, it works.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:38 PM
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544: yeah, now that was some seriously problematic snow. People died, if I recall, because their cars got trapped on 128 and they were unwilling to abandon them. The highways were closed for many days. I was too young to remember it, really, but I've heard lots of excellent stories of kids having fun leaping out of second-story windows on to snowdrifts. Sure, people died, but that had to be worth it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:39 PM
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557: I think NA does work as a satiric novel enough that you don't have to have read Radcliffe or Lewis, but it's a hell of a lot funnier if you have.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:41 PM
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561 is right. I (unfortunately) picked up NA when I was about 13 and had obviously never heard of Lewis. I therefore interpreted it as sort of proto-Stephen Leacock.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:50 PM
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Don't need to work out four times a week to be able to bench press a distance runner.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 12:52 PM
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462.2 I read your contribution. Nice work!

Middlemarch is fantastic. I need to reread. Also, I love love love The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I'm not so keen on the Brontes (too much adolescent angst), but agree that Villette is very good. I now think I should reread WH. And I'm almost persuaded to try Moby Dick.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:00 PM
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I've added a picture of the snow here to the Flickr pool. Not much, just the front walk, kindly gone over by a neighbor with a snowblower after we'd already shoveled it anyway, but I shouted a thanks! nonetheless.

My camera's memory card is full, alas -- there are numerous great pictures that should be taken. The back yard looking toward the stream is heart-filling.

Oh, I mucked around with the brightness and contrast on that picture, since the camera seemed unable to deal with just how bright it all is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:05 PM
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558 is right. I went out and exercised today, and it feels like 8 degrees out! And I liked it!

Also you can't bench press me, but that's not something I'm proud of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:13 PM
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567

563 to 205.1.

And I'm almost persuaded to try Moby Dick.

Yay! If you need a little more persuasion, get this edition, which will heighten your reading pleasure.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:18 PM
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I've tried reading Moby Dick three times, and I always think its great, but I always get derailed at the chapter where he describes all of the different kinds of whales.

Jane Eyre is a great book, and comes pretty close to being satire itself. Jane and Rochester are like characters from two different books -- the incredibly sensible unromantic English girl, and the melodramatic Byronic hero. The juxtaposition of the two leads to very funny dialogue. Also, the scene where St. John tries to convince Jane to marry him and become a missionary is one of the greatest scenes in literature ever.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:28 PM
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I was hoping the link in 567 would be to this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:36 PM
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the chapter where he describes all of the different kinds of whales

Those are my favorite parts, the whale parts.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:42 PM
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I remember thinking Moby Dick was so good that it deserved better than to be shangahied into tedious debates about core curricula, canonicity, etc., but I read it when I was in high school and had an immature contempt for adults' transparently petty disputes. I might not like it as much now, though I did like the chapter with all the blubber-rendering.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:54 PM
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though I did like the chapter with all the blubber-rendering

Exactly my thoughts on those Subway ads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:55 PM
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573

Jared keeps trying to get me to order the turkey, but I want the meatball sub.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 1:59 PM
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MD is a perfect example of the sort of text that serves as a Rorschach blot for the discipline. It was mostly badly received in its own time, rescued by readers with a certain aesthetic agenda, kidnapped by those with a different agenda, rejected by some with a third agenda, re-rescued by others... In that sense, I'd say it (along with maybe "Invisible Man") is the perfect American novel. It's a spectacle that seems to reveal itself to each reader in a different way.

I shared my reading of MD with an elderly professor for whom I worked as a gardener. I thought it was actually about whales; he thought it was about Romantic aesthetics. We laughed at each other, in a good-natured way.

That's usually not true of the stereotypical "great British novel," with some exceptions. It tends to be more obvious when you're doing a perverse "against-the-grain" reading. With MD, I'm not sure there is enough clarity in the text to say whether I am "right" or my professor was "right."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:05 PM
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along with maybe "Invisible Man"

H.G. Wells was good, but I wasn't aware it did particularly well with any aesthetic agenda. Not that I've read it since I was little.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:07 PM
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Or compare, like, anything by Charles Brockden Brown against the British gothic novels of the same period. The British ones tend to have more rapes and ghosts, but are less scary because, by the end, some meaning or understanding of what's been going on has been achieved. CBB refuses to let you even see what's happening.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:08 PM
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575: Uh, I mean Ellison.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:08 PM
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577: shot-for-shot remake my ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:09 PM
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577: Never mind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:11 PM
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574: MD never seemed unclear to me, but, again, I was a kid, and already tired of hearing and reading about the sublimity of obese Victorian novels of sooty, classist society, predecessors to the hysterical semi-realists of today (cough Chabon cough DFW cough that guy who wrote that novel about the Vegas pawnshop that the NYTBR gambled a front page review on cough).

In unrelated news, I was very, very self-centered when I was young.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:11 PM
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I was very short when I was young. This has persisted. Now I'm being called to go freeze my feet again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:12 PM
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I initially read 578 in the imperative. Funny!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:15 PM
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583

cough Chabon

I'm a little hard pressed to figure out how Gentlemen of the Road slots into the "obese novels of sooty, classist society" drawer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:16 PM
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I just opened up my copy of Moby Dick that I got at some Hyde Park book sale ages ago. It has someone's Social Security Number written on the title page.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:16 PM
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It has someone's Social Security Number written on the title page.

Yes, but why?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:18 PM
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It also has cryptic notes like "Input CRK in plan code field".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:19 PM
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My favorite used book is a copy of Barthelme's "The Dead Father" that someone apparently bought in the hopes of assuaging his grief after the death of his own father. There's a penciled dedication, and notes throughout trying to understand what it has to say about the death of fathers, etc. Empathic futility is sad and hilarious at the same time!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:21 PM
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583: I don't think Chabon's the same as the Victorian fatties; it's just that the same people drone on and freaking on about both.

I got bored about a quarter of the way into GotR. Maybe it's a late bloomer.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:22 PM
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It's a spectacle that seems to reveal itself to each reader in a different way.

I love that about it. Moby Dick is the Confidence Man.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:26 PM
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542. Parsimon, at 1400 we had 17 inches at National. My neighborhood has about 20 inches.

Oh, thanks to you and to Cecily for the flickr pictures.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 2:58 PM
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Does Invisible Man have many conflicted readings?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 3:04 PM
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"Conflicted" might be wrong, but I think IM is a lovely example of the brutally multivocal nature of American fiction, in the tradition of MD.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 3:17 PM
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DC has at least two feet right now. Heavy, wet snow. Trees down all over the place. Gorgeous, though. More skiers than cars on the streets.

I'm reading Vasili Grossman, "Life and Fate" right now. Great but almost unbearable.

On the original post, I think a chunk of this is about biological differences, not just socialization. Although socialization is obviously part of it too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 4:03 PM
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On the original post, I think a chunk of this is about biological differences

It's true. The difference between male and female body odor has a strong genetic basis.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 4:08 PM
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I got bored about a quarter of the way into GotR.

Gourd of the Rings?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 4:08 PM
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More skiers than cars on the streets.

I didn't see any skiers, but I did see somebody on snow shoes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 4:20 PM
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Relevant to the compliance topic way upthread, I thought was interesting.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 5:26 PM
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546: Oh, man. Love love love. I think I might read novels today. You'd think English PhD students read a lot of novels, but I almost never get to. Novels are fun!

It's another Saturday night,
And I ain't got no readings,
I got some ramen, 'cause I just got paid,
How I wish I had novels to read through,
I'm in an awful way!

We started term a month ago,
I read a lotta books since then,
I read 'em when I get 'em,
Right now I haven't got 'em,
That's why I'm in the shape I'm in!

Another TA told me,
He had a novel that looked just fine,
Instead a bein' Proust's
Remembrance...,
Or even Dickey's
Deliverance,
It was a graphic novel
Frankenstein!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 5:49 PM
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599

Your love give me such a thrill,
But your love ain't
Fanny Hill
I need Novels!
That's what I want!
That's what I want!
That's what I want!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:00 PM
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564.1 -- Thanks! The edited version is somewhat less goofy than internet versions of the story, which are in turn less goofy than reality. I'm guessing that Mr. MC no longer gets to spend much time at America's favorite tropical gulag paradise -- I get to go next week, and will hoist a forkful of lemon chicken his way.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:06 PM
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Since bob has argued for slacker boys as guard labor, I will make a loonier case: Women are currently ill-served by videogames and Internet porn, and until this is equalized, female students will tend to do better.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:28 PM
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I will profess my love my Middlemarch, Jane Eyre, Washington Square, Jude The Obscure, and Bovary. I found Ulysses worth the effort, but don't feel much enthusiasm for the idea of picking up MD or Gravity's Rainbow. I actually had the same reaction as JRoth's 387 to Austen's Sense & Sensibility, but a friend convinced me that I should try Persuasion, so I haven't given up on Austen completely. Things I plan to read due to unfoggedariat recommendations: Vanity Fair, Villette, Pnin, and now Tristram Shandy.

Also, 587: ! So funny and sad at the same time.


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:42 PM
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The only Bronte novels I own are The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Villette. (Actually, I might have WH too but I can't remember.) If I read them and no other Bronte works, do I get points for relative obscurity?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:43 PM
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CBB refuses to let you even see what's happening.

This is what happens when your supply of papers and printers is more limited.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 6:53 PM
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If I were a good troll, I would find a way to talk about the English class I took in which I was the only woman, and how the (male) professor prepared us rigorously for the impossible-to-follow plot of Wuthering Heights, and how perplexed I was when I read the book without recourse to his endless page-number references and character glossary, and how grateful my male classmates were for this desperately needed information.

But I'm not. So instead I will say: Two cheers for dates that are pleasant and fun, and go on despite snowstorms! But zero cheers for pleasant, fun dates that are never going to lead to a second date. Bah.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:15 PM
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I just opened up my copy of Moby Dick that I got at some Hyde Park book sale ages ago. It has someone's Social Security Number written on the title page.

It also has cryptic notes like "Input CRK in plan code field".

The things people put, or write, in books is an age-old topic. That gets old, it's true.

Nonetheless, I sold a copy of, let's see, Materials in Trial Advocacy that had written boldly across the top text-block edge "BAD BOY". It was a trick to explain that in advertising the book for sale. I kind of waited for the buyer to write back saying something. No dice. People have no sense of humor, I tell you what.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:16 PM
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But zero cheers for pleasant, fun dates that are never going to lead to a second date.

I think those merit at least a single cheer. Time spent in fun pleasantry is pleasant fun, after all, and that's valuable in itself, even if not (in the particular instance) as a prelude to anything more.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:17 PM
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Witt. If it was a pleasant, fun date, why wouldn't it lead to a second date? Am I being dense here? The guy turned out to be married? Didn't think it was pleasant or fun? Or there was no mutual attraction. That must be it.

I know. You're too tall.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:23 PM
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Witt is compiling data for a book on first dates. She can't go on second dates for the sake of the project, but is beginning to resent having taken it on. Perhaps when it's over she'll be able to go on second dates, but she isn't sure how long the data-collection phase will take.

At least, that's what she told me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:27 PM
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Hell of a project.

I agree with 607 in any case. At least a single cheer for the pleasant fun date that results, in the best case, in a friendship.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:33 PM
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I know. You're too tall.

Now I know I've been posting here too long.

compiling data for a book

If I were, I'd need a new recruiting technique, I'll tell you what. At this rate, I'll have enough material for a book in, oh, eighteen years or so.

I did get invited to a progressive dinner on my street. (Progressive in the moving-from-house-to-house sense, not the political sense.) Too bad I'm already busy that night.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:36 PM
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Now I know I've been posting here too long.

You were still growing when you started commenting?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:49 PM
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611.last: I would cancel the other plans for that night if possible and go for the progressive dinner party. Sounds promising. Social networking and all that, possibilities toward dates, even hooking up, not that anyone does that, what with its being so, you know, hot weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 7:52 PM
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Huh, Roger Ebert is livetweeting Sarah Palin's remarks. Sort of surreal.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:00 PM
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I was utterly unable to get through Vanity Fair, but I am going to make an effort to read Pride and Prejudice and Moby Dick. The former is free on the Kindle!


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:37 PM
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Talking about parties, hooking up, and friendship being a good thing too, one annoying thing about life is that if you're at a party and you meet someone of the appropriate gender who you think is fun, moves to get to know the person better and hang out will mostly be interpreted as hitting on them. This is annoying if either she's not interested or if she is and you're not.

On another note, I just had the best pork of my life. Not the dish, which was nothing special, but the quality of the meat. It's from my local greenmarket and I've been eyeing it for ages, but it's ridiculously expensive. Today they put it on sale because of the weather. I got some chops, and so, so, good. Better even than the piggies from my grandaunt's farm.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:48 PM
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617

There are many free editions of Moby Dick, aren't there?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:52 PM
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||

Argh, ffs clown, couldn't you have damn well checked your inbox before sending out an AGM notice that differs in location and agenda from the one that was run by the loop?

Please, couldn't you've?

|>


Posted by: rieK | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 8:59 PM
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Has this been linked here yet? It seems like Unfogged-worthy material.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:01 PM
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620

616.1: Annoying indeed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:05 PM
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And the Inside Higher Ed site seems to have broken as soon as I posted the link. The gist: Robert Zimmer (current president of the U of C) has apparently separated from his wife and shacked up with Shadi Bartsch. My inclination is to think there's no real ethical problem here; she has tenure, and it's not as if the university president is very involved in routine decisions affecting individual faculty members, right? But some people seem to think it's problematic.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:18 PM
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Apropos Moby Dick, the earlier discussion got me to thinking and reading about Melville, which led me to write a facebook status thingie, which prompted an old friend to recommend "I and My Chimney" (which, it turned out, I had in my library, but which those who don't can read here), which was an utter delight. Praise you, Internet.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:32 PM
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The thing that made me read [Wuthering Heights] was barely stopping myself from reading a recap of the plot in a blog post discussing the Kate Bush song.

Ha. The thing that made me read Wuthering Heights was watching the video of the Kate Bush song. In fact, I just watched the video again. I watched it while lying in bed, the same as the first time, except this time I watched it on YouTube via a wireless connection instead of on Ted Turner's Cable Music Channel. I suppose that means that I should re-read the book now.

You'd think English PhD students read a lot of novels, but I almost never get to.

This is exactly why I never pursued my PhD.

My favorite used book is a copy of Faerie Queen from Bob Jones University. Tipped to the ffep is an institutional note disclaiming any religious or theological agreement with the book and apologizing for it on the grounds of accreditation necessity.

(At the dinner party I was at tonight, we had roast chicken, beets, parsnips, and roasted eggplant. We also decided that any child by Gucci Mane and Lady Gaga would someday rule the world.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:41 PM
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ffep

I'm at a loss, here. Faerie Frontispiece Extended Play?

Has this been linked here yet? It seems like Unfogged-worthy material.

The fact that IHE's server is down?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:52 PM
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Foreign Function Ergon Plate?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:53 PM
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626

Talking about parties, hooking up, and friendship being a good thing too, one annoying thing about life is that if you're at a party and you meet someone of the appropriate gender who you think is fun, moves to get to know the person better and hang out will mostly be interpreted as hitting on them.

If you're not interested or suspect the other party isn't, don't use your "moves", teraz.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:54 PM
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if you're at a party and you meet someone of the appropriate gender who you think is fun, moves to get to know the person better and hang out will mostly be interpreted as hitting on them. This is annoying if either she's not interested or if she is and you're not.

The solution is to talk to someone who is completely oblivious even in the face of really obvious flirting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:57 PM
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#624. "Front free end paper"


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 9:57 PM
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629

About 23 inches of snow here in my part of Philadelphia! And agree w/ Witt re two cheers for dates that go on despite snowstorms... my new pal took public transit to meet me, and after dinner together at a local place, and the movie Rififi at my house, he walked two miles home through heavy snow very late last night. Sweet!


Posted by: honigessig | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:02 PM
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I'm glad that there are women in the world who consider Rififi an acceptable date movie.

True fact: the last time I saw Belle L., we watched The American Astronaut, and part of the way through she made sure to tell me (by way of asking me) that it and movies like it should not be part of a date (except insofar as the purpose of the film was to screen people out).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:06 PM
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I'm glad that there are women in the world who consider Rififi an acceptable date movie.

I had a first date of sorts at a showing of Rififi. Another at Siddhartha, which let me tell you, is not a good first date movie for two people slightly uncomfortable with each other already.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:14 PM
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632

#630. But isn't that the perfect movie to take a Real Live Girl to?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:15 PM
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633

624.1: for fuck's erotic pardon


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:17 PM
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634

Especially if you want to see her breasts!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:17 PM
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If you want to see her breasts, but have given inadvertent offense, it is most necessary to ask fuck's erotic pardon.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:18 PM
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I think Rififi would be a good date movie. There's the beating scene, sure, but it's not so graphic, and the rest is full of excitement and danger—and the little boy gets saved in the end!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:23 PM
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From now on, I shall always think of Nosflow as The Boy Who Saw An Actual Breast.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:27 PM
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638

Plus, you learn how to rob a bank.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:29 PM
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639

For a long time, I've been thinking of Populuxe as The Guy Who Said He'd Send Me A Festival Quartet CD And Never Did.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:30 PM
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640

Hey! At least you've seen a breast!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:32 PM
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641

And how!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:35 PM
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Now go for two.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:37 PM
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643

It's one of those "whole is greater than the sum of the parts" cases.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:39 PM
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644

Done and done.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 10:44 PM
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We're getting discharged this evening. Basically she has the same mysterious stomach pain as me, but it got exacerbated by some virus and they wanted to be sure it wasn't appendicitis, which it wasn't.
I met Joan Aiken when I was young because her dad, the poet Conrad Aiken, was a good friend of my grandmother's in Savannah. When he was a boy of 12 or so Conrad came over to my grandfather's house on Oglethorpe, just a few houses away from his, when he woke up and found his mom and dad dead in a murder-suicide. Conrad Aiken is actually quite a good novelist as well though I think all his books are out of print.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:20 PM
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the reason guys don't 'volunteer' is that its self-serving preening, and they haven't seen enough axe commercials to have that much vanity.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:21 PM
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647

not a good first date movie for two people slightly uncomfortable with each other already.

Do you make a habit of going on first dates with people with whom you are already uncomfortable?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:22 PM
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648

Wait, don't you?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:23 PM
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649

My OKC profile instructs women to write to me if they are "prepared to say something unsettling".


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:26 PM
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645.1 Best of luck.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:27 PM
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and my high school friends who pledged did lots of 'volunteer work'.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:33 PM
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652

There's a school of thought that in-theater movies don't make good first dates. Or at least not if they take up most of the date time.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:34 PM
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653

!!!!Noted Internet asshole Micke/y K/aus just walked into the party I'm at. Quick, Minehaft, what should I do?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:44 PM
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654

Tell him you met a producer looking for a film treatment about an asshole blogger. Ask if he knows anyone who might collaborate.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:49 PM
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655

A contrarian blogger. Who's not really an asshole, but everyone thinks he is.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:52 PM
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656

Get him a goat. He'll take care of the rest.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:54 PM
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657

Measure him. People disagree about exactly how short he is.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:55 PM
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658

I meant tall. He's not short.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 6-10 11:58 PM
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659

Link to ogged's old posts defending him. You can do hyperlinks at parties, right?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 12:03 AM
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Update: We shook hands, I said "nice to meet you" and then had some totally boring chit chat about parking. Sadly, it turns out that I am a total pussy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 12:07 AM
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661

Did you at least bring up Don/ald Sho/u/p?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 12:24 AM
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662

What makes something a good first date movie? Thanks to hook-up culture, I don't think I've been on a first date.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 1:58 AM
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I used to have a really nice edition of MD, but I gave it to a friend. After loving McCarthy so much and hearing "if you like him, you'll like MD" I feel that I probably should read MD. But seemingly sure-thing recommendations are tricky. I decided to check out Crime & Punishment after loving everything I could get my hands on by Kafka and Camus and I was bored to death, unable to finish it. Half-way or so through I couldn't stop thinking, "Just snuff the old bag already--or don't!" I think I enjoy stories that emphasize atmosphere, situation, or explore a novel concept much more than rich or realistic characterization or personalities. So, maybe I'll check out MD.


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 2:49 AM
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664

662: Something that gives you stuff to talk about over dinner afterwards, maybe?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 5:31 AM
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Wuthering Heights has been traduced by its film versions, which invariably foreground the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff and make like it's some kind of romance between adults (and usually the actors are in their 20s or 30s). But in the book it's a childhood crush: Heathcliff runs away when Catherine is 15 (and he is 16); she marries Edgar at 17 and is dead at 18. Much more of the book is devoted to Heathcliff's revenge plot (which has parallels with Edmond Dantès' revenge plot in The Count of Monte Cristo), but because the story is narrated by two characters who have no real idea of Heathcliff's motivations and purposes, there's an awful lot of reading between the lines to be done. It wasn't until I read C. P. Sanger's "The Structure of Wuthering Heights" that I really felt I understood what was happening in the second half of the book.

On Moby Dick, how can anyone fail to be amused by a novel that contains passages like this:

Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 5:38 AM
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660: That's how my first dates used to go. When you call him on Monday, he'll think of some implausible excuse to get off the phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 6:42 AM
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666 to 665.last.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 6:55 AM
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I once took a date to see the revival of The Wild Bunch. Didn't work out.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 7:17 AM
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What makes something a good first date movie?

Doesn't this depend on who you're dating? So if you don't know the person you can get it wrong and there's no second date. But if you pick some anodyne movie that nobody will dislike but probably nobody will much like either, then if they're too happy about it do you want a second date?

I once took a girl to The Phantom of Liberty. Worked out fine.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 7:29 AM
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I had terrible ideas for date movies in high school. I remember my girlfriend and I went to The Age of Innocence -- a movie we were not otherwise particularly interested in seeing -- just because it was almost guaranteed not to have a rape scene, and that was pretty much our criteria at that point.

Historically bad choices were Man Bites Dog, Legend Of The Overfiend and Bullet In The Head (the extended cut with the lengthy pee-drinking scene).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 7:49 AM
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663: After loving McCarthy so much
Maybe you should change your handle to "Roy Cohn"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 8:22 AM
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669: I once took a girl to The Phantom of Liberty. Worked out fine.

I once casually mentioned to someone I was interested in that we should go to a screening of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, if she thought that would be fun. Then a couple of days later I got a call from a close male friend of hers, asking me if I'd like to come along to the film with them. Not to be outdone, I asked a different woman who I kinda liked but didn't think I had a chance with if she would like to go. She said yes, so we all went. I came out of the film confirmed in my suspicions that something was going on between the first woman and her friend. This blinded me to the fact that the second woman was sending out all kinds of signals that she wouldn't be averse to some amour fou herself, so nothing transpired. And then later I found out that the whole point of the male friend asking me along was that the first woman WAS interested in me, but didn't want to seem too forward, and was as disappointed as I was later when I showed up with someone else. It all worked out in the end though, I think. (The second woman actually wound up getting together pretty seriously with a fellow who's basically my doppelganger.)


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 8:30 AM
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I once casually mentioned to someone I was interested in that we should go to a screening of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

My worry about that would be that it would spectacularly fail to meet Di's criterion in 664. Not because there was nothing to talk about...


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 8:44 AM
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Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers' hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules.

A paradigm for non-alienated, cooperative labor.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 8:45 AM
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and my high school friends who pledged did lots of 'volunteer work'.

This is especially funny to me because, among my college friends, this was our term for sleeping with someone who needed to get laid. "Oh, thanks for offering me your friend Mike, but I don't do 'volunteer work.'"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 9:16 AM
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Not my coinage, btw. But pretty much all sex at Nerd U was, in one direction or the other, "volunteer work."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 9:20 AM
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Didn't Nerd U have an economics department to teach about non-zero-sum games and the invisible hand?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 10:29 AM
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677: Sounds like they were mostly supply-siders.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 10:35 AM
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I once had a first date that included skinny-dipping in the light of the full moon. It's one way to get rid of the boy smell.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 11:48 AM
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Do you make a habit of going on first dates with people with whom you are already uncomfortable?

It was a long time ago (ie, I was younger and stupider) and the situation was strange (we worked together and he was nominally my supervisor).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 12:30 PM
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680: Now that you've got it made, you can have uncomfortable dates with your nominal supervisees.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 1:07 PM
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My worry about that would be that it would spectacularly fail to meet Di's criterion in 664.

Needless to say, listening to me theorize about the criteria for a good first date is a little like listening to a priest theorize about the criteria for good sex. I'm really only guessing.

Another guess, and somewhat bridging the literature/date movie topic. If a boy you like insists you must read a particular book because the movie is coming out soon and lends you his copy to ensure that you do, you should totally go see the movie together when it comes out.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 4:46 PM
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682.2: That's how my wife got me to read the Harry Potter books before the first movie, excepting that it wasn't really a date since we were married. I'd been mocking/resisting them at the time. We went to the move with friends, one of whom kept trying to get her husband to dress as Hagrid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 4:51 PM
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I don't think I really sold it in 679, but, well, 30 years on one of my favorite memories is of the skinny dip in the moonlight date. (And thereafter -- lying out under a meteor shower.) I have recently been in touch with the other half, after a 20 year hiatus, and she definitely remembers it quite fondly as well.

Sometimes small ball is the way to go: you bunt and try to run it out. Sometimes, though, just you have to swing for the fences.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02- 7-10 10:50 PM
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You need to be familiar only with rich nitwits, grasping social climbers, and twittering vanity to appreciate Austen.

I'm not giving a shit about this already.

I just really really really don't care about comedies of manners, or satires of manners, or whatever the hell that category is.*

I was going to say that this is because I'm basically a misanthrope, but that's not right. I love people in their foibles, but I haven't the least interest in reading about their flaws. I already know about the flaws, all too well.

* I can enjoy them - especially if they're right up my alley - but as a category, bleah.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 8-10 8:33 AM
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BTW, 685 was drafted Saturday afternoon; I'm having internet issues.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 8-10 8:33 AM
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685. Fine. You can not read Jane Austen as long as I can not read J.K.Rowling.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02- 8-10 8:50 AM
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