Re: Am I being overly sensitive?

1

Nope not overly sensitive. If the organization were, say, some environmental group that was fundraising in this way and you got a a black kid, then it might be a different story. Also five bucks? How long are they supposed to work for you?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:21 PM
horizontal rule
2

Yes, exactly. If it were renting a service - say a car wash - or renting a student who happened to be black, it would be totally different.

You probably get them for an hour? It's during the work week, so it's subject to class schedules and everything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
3

You *should* feel squicked out by the notion of renting a black student to do your cleaning. That's a job for Hispanic/Latino adults...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
4

At least they are doing a straightforward rental, rather than something like an auction and making you go bid on the person to clean your office.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
5

So what (kind of) service would you prefer the "African-American student association" exchange for donations instead?

Cookies cost money, and maybe some enterprising student managed a donation of cleaning materials.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
6

Oh, they could raffle off the exact same service, and it would come across totally different.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:55 PM
horizontal rule
7

No, not being overly sensitive. I'm a little surprised they're doing this -- for $5? An hour? The "rent" language is a little weird as well ("rent" as opposed to "own"). Huh.

On the other hand, if the point of the post is to subject their efforts to criticism, I'm not sure I want to go there either. I'd say: maybe give $5 (or $10 or $15) attached to a note saying that you don't need to hire -- ahem -- a student at this time, but totally wish them the most successful fundraiser ever, and are contributing to that end. Maybe they'll change the language to "Hire a Student" next year.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:58 PM
horizontal rule
8

if the point of the post is to subject their efforts to criticism,

Uh, the point of the post was to determine whether or not I was being overly sensitive in being squicked out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
9

Sure, but it seemed to invite getting into why it seems squicky and by extension whether the student association was making a bit of mistake. In any case, I vote no: not being overly sensitive.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
10

It's not clear to me whether or not the fundraiser itself is a mistake. There are plenty of nonwhite faculty members who wouldn't automatically be put in roles that echoed racial hierarchy roles.

Also I don't know how much societal awareness of social issues I should demand in students. The Gay and Straight Alliance kids also showed a total naivete about the bigger picture of being gay in the US.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 6:16 PM
horizontal rule
11

Artist Damali Ayo interprets this service somewhat differently.

Seriously, the language of renting is deeply weird. It's hard to believe that it's accidental/innocent.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
12

11: Um, holy crap. I know the white guy in those photos.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
13

So, um. Well, let's see: does the student alliance have any faculty or staff advisors connected with it? Just curious. It's fine if they don't. I've been out of academia for long enough now that I don't know how student organizations work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
14

Actually, yes, they must have an advisor, who would have signed off on any fundraiser. (I just looked up who it is, and it is a very reasonable person.)

Should the advisor have gently redirected them towards something else?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
15

Um


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
16

Ummmmmmm


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
17

Perhaps Sifu feels that the advisor should have said, "Um."

I dunno, maybe your (heebie's) original question is in play after all: are you comfortable asking anyone else on campus what they think?

I mean, maybe we're all too PC for words, here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
18

I'm trying to decide what if I would have had the presence of mind to do anything, as the advisor, when a student stops by your office with a form and says "Can you sign off on our fundraiser?" Would I have even noticed something like this?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
19

16: Dammit, it's "ommmmmm", Sifu. Sometimes I fear you'll never get the hang of this meditation thing.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:39 PM
horizontal rule
20

are you comfortable asking anyone else on campus what they think?

Oh, sure. I can ask my carpoolmates on Monday. They personally will agree with the gang here, but they might have an idea whether or not other faculty members would be weirded out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
21

So what (kind of) service would you prefer the "African-American student association" exchange for donations instead?

Burning shit down?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
22

Report back! This is science!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
23

I could even e-mail the advisor in question, but I don't exactly know what he could do, since the announcement has already gone out to the public. Nothing really needs to be done, since anyone who is squicked out can just decline to participate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
24

The Gay and Straight Alliance kids also showed a total naivete about the bigger picture of being gay in the US.

In hindsight, the rentboy fundraiser may have been a mistake.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
25

||
This video (http://vimeo.com/9679622) seems like something folks on unfogged would like.
>


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
26

To me, it's the "rent" part that really takes me aback. All the rest of it I can come up with a rationale for. But why not "Hire"?

(And for heaven's sake, in a country where the minimium wage is $7.15 an hour, why on earth $5?)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
27

I wonder if "rent" is deliberately to get around the minimum wage. You can't literally hire for under minimum wage, can you? (Excluding tip situations.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
28

27: No, but you can generally do something like provide a service for a donation, especially in a non-profit situation.

We all do things without thinking them through sometimes, and late-teens/early twenties is really a golden period for that. Still, it melts my head a bit that Black kids in Texas could write something up about renting themselves out without giant slavery signs flashing up. I believe heebie, because of the heebie-ness, but I have an easier time imagining this to be some big performance piece than believing that we've achieved this level of racial innocence.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
29

There's nothing wrong with getting a shoe shine either. It only creeps you out if you can't separate the person from the job. People aren't what they do.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
30

If the fundraiser is called "rent a student", not squicked out. The sponsoring organization is merely incidental ("I don't even SEE race").

If the word "student" is replaced by any word, even a non-perjorative one, that identifies the race of the participants, then squicked out. If any kind of ethnic slur, then squicked out becomes horrified.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 5-10 11:55 PM
horizontal rule
31

Heebie's really not gonna like it when the Jewish student group does their annual fundraiser: you pay $5, and one of them balances your checkbook for you.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:03 AM
horizontal rule
32

My college* has a very similar undergraduate fund-raiser on at the moment. They have several slaves for the day up for auction, but also, a pair of undergraduate girls who'll come and clean your room while dressed in French maid's outfits. Which seems just the sort of thing to get some elderly Fellow fired ...

* I'm not really a member any more, but still on their mailing list


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
33

just the sort of thing to get some elderly Fellow fired ...

up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:29 AM
horizontal rule
34

Squicked, but not especially by the use of the word "rent". The "Rent-a-Whatever" cliche is so old now it doesn't matter. Squicked by the idea of a bunch of African Americans thinking this is a good idea. On the other hand, if they innocently do think that, maybe America has come further since 1865 than you think.

ttaM, are you moving to the great wen? One of you got a job there/


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:28 AM
horizontal rule
35

Yeah, going to be in London from about 10 days from now. I'm still working in Oxenforde though, so I'll commute. Mrs nattarGcM has a promotion and is going to be based in London, so it makes more sense for me to commute rather than her.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:05 AM
horizontal rule
36

Sure. Lighter traffic/possibility of a seat on the train at both ends of the day. Going to cost a bit though, isn't it, unless you can find a place around the Edgware Rd?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:11 AM
horizontal rule
37

We've found a place in the Ealing/Acton sort of end of town. Which is very handy for the commute. I'm within a 5 minute walk of the mainline westwards route out of London. The place we've found is also quite cool. Quirky and over-furnished flat, but some of the furniture is great, and the size of the place is nice. Unfortunately, it is bloody expensive. Double our current rent.

But that doesn't reflect the Oxford/London price difference -- which is negligible -- it's just we've been in the same flat for 7 years with no rent increases. So our current rent is well below the Oxford average.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:14 AM
horizontal rule
38

Double our current rent.

Aaaarghhh! It better have been a good promotion!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:37 AM
horizontal rule
39

re: 38

It doesn't cover the extra cost, not when travelling is factored in as well. But yeah, it's a good promotion, and makes a big difference to her longer term career prospects.

Realistically, wherever we moved, London or anywhere in the SE we'd have been paying a lot more than currently. The new place is actually quite reasonably priced compared to the going market rate. We saw an awful lot of shite that cost more.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:47 AM
horizontal rule
40

I hope it's at the Ealing end of Ealing/Acton (which it is judging by your comment about the mainline station). Acton's a shithole.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:16 AM
horizontal rule
41

re: 40

Yeah, I was being deliberately vague. It's very definitely the nicer end. It's actually a fairly posh building, on a fairly posh-ish private plot [couple of blocks of flats, a little lake/carp-pond, etc].

I couldn't believe some of the horrendous holes being shown to us by letting agents. You'd think they thought neither of us had ever been in a city before.

"This is a lovely street."
"Are taking the piss?"
"Erm..."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:49 AM
horizontal rule
42

Cool. Hope you like it. There's quite a few nice pubs in Ealing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
43

Not as many as Oxford, of course.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
44

Yeah, I have mates who live in the area, so I've been there boozing quite a few times. I do like it. I'll miss where we live in Oxford, though, which is surrounded by countryside.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
45

||

More essays.
Re: Was math invented or was it discovered?

"Due to the fact that humans utilized various inventions before math was discovered proves, to me, that math is yet another vital discovery made by man."

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
46

Several essays say that math was definitely discovered because it was clearly invented by God and it is vanity for man to think he invented it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
47

Some of them go off about how holy and awesome our God is that he gave us this infinite world of numbers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
48

carp-pond

Dude. I don't think Emerson's coming back. You can ease up on the bait.

Additionally, this seems like the appropriate place to brag that I'm about to go back to paying $270/month in rent. (Notwithstanding the addition of a roommate and all the attendant headaches.) $270!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
49

God only gave us the NATURAL numbers.


Posted by: OPINIONATED KRONECKER | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
50

I've never paid that little for rent. Well done, Stanster.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
51

The sentence in 45 is, to me, a masterpiece.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
52

"Due to the fact that humans utilized various inventions before math was discovered proves, to me, that math is yet another vital discovery made by man."

Hard to argue with that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
53

re: 48

I don't even want to mention how much I'll be paying including local property taxes. It'd probably give Americans who don't live in New York a heart attack.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
54

52 to 51 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
55

53: Do people in the UK pay property tax on property they're renting?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
56

Oh wow:

"Statistically speaking, word choice is one of the leading causes for inaccurate information."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
57

(I should say that I fully realize that, being a timed essay, these idiotic sentences don't really reflect the student's ability very much. They had 50 minutes to write two essays.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
58

56: Therefore it is rational to fear word choice.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
59

It is far, far better to choose your words than to be chosen by them, statistically speaking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
60

Shorter 56: "Suck my diction."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
61

Do people in the UK pay property tax on property they're renting?

Basically. It's called council tax, but it's paid on a per property basis according to the (very rough and out of date) value of the property you occupy). In London it works out to between £1k and £2k a year, roughly.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
62

Oh, and when I say out of date, I mean 20 years out of date.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
63

"People tend to brush little things off such as homework, but that homework will lead to hopefully one day a full tuition scholarship to your dream university, so no one should take anything lightly."

Very stern kid!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
64

these idiotic sentences don't really reflect the student's ability very much

So just like blog comments.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
65

but that homework will lead to hopefully one day a full tuition scholarship to your dream university

So just like blog comments.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
66

I just realized that my internal dictionary has different definitions for "brush off little things" (students not doing homework) and "brush little things off" (archeologists cleaning pottery shards).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
67

"Due to the fact that humans utilized various inventions before math was discovered proves, to me, that math is yet another vital discovery made by man."

The idea of natural grammar stands refuted.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
68

"High school is a whole different animal that hopefully you will never have to face again."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
69

It'd probably give Americans who don't live in New York a heart attack.

I don't live in New York, and I would gladly trade you my property tax obligation for your council tax plus that of your two best mates.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
70

6000 quid a year, so about 10,000 dollars per annum? really?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
71

69. Shit, really? I thought we were supposed to be the tax and spend country. You pay property tax at upward of $8k? How do you eat?

||
The British election is clearly imminent - Brown is doing photo-ops in Afghanistan.
|>


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
72

Does that include the two best mates?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
73

re: 69

Or are you thinking of a one-off payment on a new property? This isn't that, it's an annual cost.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
74

re: 72

Yeah. Mine will be about 2,300 - 2,500 US dollars per annum.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
75

Likewise, but for a whole house, because of living in a downwardly mobile city.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
76

74: That's less than my property tax. Mines about 3+K.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
77

Huh. I don't even pay property tax on my car. Or maybe I do and they've just lumped it in with my yearly tags fee. Still, that's like $30/year.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
78

re: 75

The flat is fairly large. However, the small flat we rent in Oxford has comparable council tax, which is absurd.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
79

"Mathematics was discovered out of necessity. Needing a more efficient way to undergo a process, the Greeks discovered the secrets to fulfull their desires."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
80

79 is perfect.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
81

the Mineshaft was discovered out of necessity. Needing a more efficient way to undergo a process, the Greeks discovered the secrets to fulfull their desires.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
82

So, here's a dumb question: when someone from the UK says "flat" does he or she necessarily mean an apartment (i.e. a unit in a multi-unit building) or does the term refer just generally to a rented place of residence, which might just as well be stand-alone? I had always taken the term to mean the former.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
83

re: 82

Former.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
84

Sounds like the baby is rousing. That's it for making fun of students until later on this afternoon, folks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
85

83: Does the owner pay property taxes as well, or just the tenants?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
86

Depends. Some landlords factor it in to the rent, and some leave it to the tenants to pay. But there's only one payment, not two.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
87

I was told by my SiL in the Bay Area that there a flat was a single floor in a building with internal access, and an apartment was the same only with external access. Or vice versa, I don't remember which. Is that some specifically northern Californian weirdness or is it general?

Also, somebody do a post on this.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
88

KR, don't you live in a nice place in a high end area of one of the most expensive metros in the US? And natt, it's not just NYC that has the very expensive housing, so do all the big blue metro areas except for Chicago. These might be a small part of the US geographically, but between Boston, NYC, DC, LA, Bay Area, and Seattle we're talking on the order of a quarter of the US population.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
89

re: 88

Yeah, I just assumed that since London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, that other US cities would be cheaper, even though they might not be a LOT cheaper.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
90

And a pet peeve regarding real estate knowledge. No, raising property taxes does not impact the rent levels of market rate apartments.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
91

Why not?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
92

I remember being somewhat baffled in re London apartment letting while reading, er, London Fields, I think. Part of the plot, iIrc, involved her lease coming up, and it sort of seemed like she owned her place, and sort of seemed like she didn't and I never figured it out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
93

87: It's not just external access (which yeah, you have reversed: flats have it, apartments don't), it's the style of building that leads to each unit having its own floor. That's pretty much only a San Francisco thing; that style of building doesn't exist most other places in the Bay Area.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
94

91 to 90? Two reasons, first of all because they have to pay them anyways. Secondly, the price is set by what renters are willing to pay, not by landlord costs. Unless the expenses associated with having a tenant exceed what a landlord is able to get in rent, she'll want it rented. Disparities in rental vs sale value will affect the overall number of rental units but that's a bit different.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
95

Is there any Anglophile place where they call apartments "departments"? For the longest time, I kept thinking I was mishearing Argentinians when they said departamento referring to a residence.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
96

Part of the plot, iIrc, involved her lease coming up, and it sort of seemed like she owned her place, and sort of seemed like she didn't and I never figured it out.

Leasehold? There is a once common form of tenure in Britain whereby the ground owners in the 18th or 19th century let the house for a nominal rent on a very long lease (200 years is common, ours is 800!), so that although the building changes hands normally, the owner pays a rent (maybe £20 a year) to some agent who knows who the ground landlord is. By 20th century legislation, leaseholders are entitled to buy the freehold at a very low rate, so it's gradually disappearing.

But if you have a leasehold on a property when the lease expires, you can be fucked, because they can put the ground rent up high enough to force you out if they want to. (The rule of thumb is not to buy a leasehold with less than 70 years to run.) With flats it gets more complicated, because all the tenants have to get together to buy out the block.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
97

6000 quid a year, so about 10,000 dollars per annum? really?

Ummmm, at current exchange rates I might have to extend the offer to only one of your mates,but otherwise, yes.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
98

96: I knew someone who was thinking of buying a house in Oxford to rent out. It had some sort of billboard on it, so it was actually a leasehold, but it was a 1,000-year lease which is nearly as good as a freehold.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
99

97: KR, our income taxes are lower than those in the UK, but tell me, if you don't mind, what your taxes are in PDBS. Or, if that's too personal, what the rate is.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
100

98. Yeah. Our house was built in 1902, so the lease comes up in 2702. Like I care.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
101

Sorry to continue the ignorant questions, but this is fascinating. To whose benefit is/was this leasehold arrangement? Or, put another way, why does it exist?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
102

101. Well in 1902 £25 a year rent for an unfurnished property probably looked a bit of a better deal than it does now, (our last house, which dated from 1830-odd, had a ground rent of £2.50, due to expire in 2130). But the idea originally was that speculative builders sold houses on long leases to encourage buyers but retain some sort of reversionary control. Also, to retain the integrity of the estate, though in practice this has long gone out of the window - our last ground landlord was the steel company, Corus.

This was probably a sensible approach in 1750, when shorter leases tended to attract insalubrious tenants, and a 100 - 300 year leasehold gave both parties an interest in the property. Most of the West End of London was developed on that basis.

The rationale for the silly long leases, 800 or a thousand years is less clear to me. They tend to be a feature of Northern England and they're not all that common even there. Possibly there was some pre-existing reason why the land couldn't be sold freehold. Venturing into pure speculation, I wonder if they were converted from copyholds which were only abolished in England in the 1920s. But I have no reason to suppose that's the case.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
103

I always assumed there was some sort of feudal origin for leaseholds. But perhaps that's because I'm Scottish:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feu

Feudal land tenure being abolished as long ago as [ahem], 2000. The terms used in that wiki article are amusing.

Subinfeudation, tinsel, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
104

I always assumed there was some sort of feudal origin for leaseholds. But perhaps that's because I'm Scottish

Yeah. In England, that would be copyhold. Other forms of feudal tenure there were abolished by the republic, but that one survived. Essentially, I think it meant that if you (or your ancestors) had been paying rent for so long there was no record of it starting you had some security of tenure as long as you kept paying.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
105

What are copyholds?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
106

96: Aha! That may well have been it -- I don't remember it well enough, really, but the whole book was built around a lot of millenialist "things are ending!" stuff, so that would fit right in.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
107

Ah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
108

99: The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value in PDBS is a matter of public record, BG, as is the assessed value of my house, if you care to look it up.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
109

Blench holding is by a nominal payment, as of a penny Scots, or a red rose, often only to be rendered upon demand

It would be pretty awesome to be able to demand a red rose of one's … vassals? lessees? and know one's demand would have to be satisfied.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
110

||

Overheard outside the Met: "Well, at least it was free." (in a disgusted tone).

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
111

110: Yipes. Obnoxious in so many different ways (you should pay the suggested donation, dammit!).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
112

you should pay the suggested donation, dammit!

I have never done so, not once in the over one hundred times I've been. I pay a buck each time. If I'm ever rich I'll give them a nice donation. My ex used to pay one coin, whatever she randomly pulled out of her pocket. Related, the membership in MoMA is a great deal. $75 gets you unlimited free admissions for a year, plus up to four or five 'guest' tickets a visit at $5 a person. With the standard adult admission being $20, and all the good movies in addition to the art, this is a steal.

NB I thought that you couldn't literally pay nothing at the Met, at least that's the way it used to be.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
113

oudemia:

I recently read London Fields. I really liked it at first, but I lost interest about half way into it.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
114

112: You are all terrible! (I have a membership. MoMA, too.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:00 PM
horizontal rule
115

Seen outside the Palace of the Legion of Honor: a coyote.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
116

115: That's an outstanding name and for some reason immediately called to mind The Castle Grayskull.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
117

The one in Oxford was probably so that they could keep the right to the billboard there.

Long-term leases aren't completely unheard of in the U.S. All of the land next to the Charles River is owned by the State Department of Conservation, so all of the boathouses have leases. Harvard's Newell boathouse got a 1,000 year-lease, but then the state wised up, and Radcliffe got a 99 year lease. I don't know about the other ones.

Most of the land on Wall Street, that is the actual street, is owned by Trinity Church. They don't own the buildings, but they own all the land.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
118

I had no idea that there was a distinction between "flat" and "apartment" in San Francisco. I always associated "flat" with the UK, or people from the UK talking about apartments not necessarily in the UK.

This reminds me that I still haven't started looking for a place to stay in SF this summer.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
119

Shit. I totally read that as the opera, and thought, well, if it's free it's probably some student graduation show or something.

Pay what you can for your museums, guys. They're there for a reason, and entertaining you ain't it.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
120

The dead hand of the past! Bah!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
121

What? Nobody should pay the suggested donation. The Met is richer than Jesus. I always pay 1 dollar.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
122

What is the suggested donation?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
123

Yeah, I have a Met membership. Not sure what that averages out to per visit. I'm fine with people paying whatever they feel they can afford. It was the combination of their finding nothing to like about the place (so essentially not liking any art from any time or place in human history) and implying that they didn't pay anything that struck me as, well, questionable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
124

122: Adults $20; Students $10.

I have nothing against people paying what they can afford -- I do have something against the well-off saying, "I don't need to pay! They're rich! Look, they got Vermeers right there on the walls!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
125

I think the suggested donation is $20 for adults. I've never paid that much, but paid more than $1. I think I aimed for the student donation amount, but didn't always have that much on me when I showed up at the door. I guess I could have used a card, but whatever. The dead financiers' heirs will just have to suck it up and make up the difference.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
126

That said, I'd have bought a membership had I stayed in NY.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
127

The MFA is well off, though not perhaps as well off as the Met or the Boston Symphony Orchestra. They charge like $15 or $18 per visit whereas a membership is around $100.

I go when my Bank of America account gets me in for free. It's not cheap.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
128

Am I being overly sensitive?
"Apparently, not having your genitals examined by a flight attendant is enough to sue the airline."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
129

127: For a family of 3 that's expensive. Worth it to get a membership if you go even 3 times.

That's one thing that I really like about DC: all the Smithsonian museums are free.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
130

128: The man was bleeding! What does a fella have to do to get a flight attendant to look at his penis around here!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
131

I used to really like going to museums, but now I find that I tire too easily, and i don't have the capacity to look at everything in deep detail each time I go.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
132

131 to 128.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
133

130: I'm imagining this happening to him at a restaurant. "Ma'am, my junk is bleeding. Could you send the sommelier back here to take a look at it? Or maybe the sous chef?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
134

Could you send the sommelier

"What's that you say? Spotted dick? We've a an aboslutely to-die-for Riesling out of Alsance that will go just splendidly with that."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
135

Alsance?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
136

A wine region so secret that Sifu Tweety doesn't know of it.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
137

I'm having a bit of a hard time understanding what he thought the flight attendant would do. "Yes, sir, that sure does look like a bleeding penis to me." But I am often surprised by what people expect service industry workers to do for them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
138

135: You seem to have noticed that I'm not a very good sommelier. (Stupid fucking "n".)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
139

On the other hand, I am now afraid that the next time I go on an airplane, the change in pressure will cause blood vessels in my penis to burst.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
140

139: Another point for driving!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
141

Bandage it maybe? I don't think it's completely crazy to think that flight crews have someone trained in first aid. If it turns out they don't, suing them... sense of the proper capitalist spirit.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
142

I think the suggested donation is $20 for adults.

OK, that's high. Suggest:

S:=Suggested Donation
M:=median salary for graduates age 40 in NYC
P:=Person's actual income
D=Individual Donation
If P gt $20,000 then
D:=S*P/M
Else
D:=$1
Party Donation=Sum(D)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
143

134 also contains the spelling 'aboslutely', which I think is interpolating between 'absolutely' and 'apo-slutty'.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
144

Man, my spelling-fu is way off today. Earlier I was trying to type "popular" and kept mis-typing it as "poopular", chuckling to myself, and then accidentally doing it again. It's a good thing I'm eleven years old still.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
145

I think the flexible donation thing is wonderful, and a good reason for wealthy people to donate to the Met. On students, shouldn't that read 'out of town students'? I remember that when I was still in grad school the suggested donation for me was zero, MoMA was free as well.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
146

135: Alsance et Lorraie.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
147

I guess I just don't see these fees as all that unreasonable. Compare the cost of a movie or a concert -- why shouldn't a museum charge a comparable amount? I'm all for letting in people who can't afford the recommended donation, but I would expect most middle-class people can pay it. (I'm probably way on the tail of the distribution as far as money spent at museums vs movies or other entertainment options, so I realize my opinions may be weird.)

Anyway, just getting into the city costs me more than any of the museum admission fees, so while it's not a higher-order effect, it doesn't dominate the cost of a day.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
148

For many people, going to a movie is quite expensive. I, for one, do it quite rarely, and I am no longer broke. Lower-income people with children often don't go to the movies.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
149

Even middle income people, say $50K for a family of 4, might be stretched by movies and museum admission fees. There's a reason that people like to rent DVDs.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
150

$20 a visit isn't so bad for a museum if the assumption is that the person paying it visits once a year at most. That's what I'd have done at the suggested donation level. Or aimed for free/discount days.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
151

I don't think anyone is complaining about low-income or even middle-income people with big families not paying $120 to get their kids into a museum. But I remember seeing, several years ago, a bunch of guys on dating sites who bragged about their income, but went on to talk about how their favorite date is a 25-cent trip to the Met followed by a fancy dinner. I think the message is something like, "I'm not cheap, but I get my goddamn money's worth."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
152

151: Yes, that's obnoxious. I went to the ROM in Toronto last summer, and mfor 4 of us it was fairly expensive with parking. I went with my BF's parents whose father probably made about $120K pretax (maybe $80 post), but he was saving about $40K per year to make up for getting screwed out of a couple of pensions.

So, they're not museum types, but they kept going on about how it wasn't cheap, and that wasn't a donation.

I much prefer to go to a museum for an hour at a time and then go back, but there's no way I could ever afford membership at several museums after student loan payments are taken in to account.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
153

Obligatory Suggested archive links.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
154

I was pretty surprised by how many guys seemed to advertise this specific kind of cheapness, not as a warning, but as some kind of sign of alpha-dog sexy character. I can see something like "One thing you ought to know about me is that I always pay the minimum at museums and stuff. I don't believe I am responsible for supporting the institutions I frequent. If you don't like it, I'm not for you." But instead it seems to be phrased to communicate something really potentially attractive, like you're supposed to read it and say, "Wow, a guy who really looks out for #1 and does not give a shit about other people or what they think of his character! I'm going to give that guy a blowjob." I suppose it works.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
155
Homer: Eh, what do you mean by `suggested donation'?
Clerk: Pay any amount you wish, sir.
Homer: And uh, what if I wish to pay ... zero?
Clerk: That is up to you.
Homer: Ooh, so it's up to me, is it?
Clerk: Yes.
Homer: I see. And you think that people are going to pay you $4.50 even though they don't have to? Just out of the goodness of their... [laughs] Well, anything you say! Good luck, lady, you're gonna need it!

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
156

153: Becks' comment that suggested donations end up being regressive is interesting.

I don't mind paying the Met what I pay them, but I find the "because we value your membership, we're offering you the rare and special opportunity to spend $75 for a meal in our dining room!" letters kind of laughable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
157

This is only barely relevant, but you know what are kind of great? Symphony youth discount programs where the age cutoff is 40. I feel you, symphony! You have attracted my business!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
158

My dad once got quite angry at an upper middle class guy who expressed his pride at paying the minimum for a summer camp in Greece run by a Catholic charitable agency. It was pay what you will ranging, IIRC, from about $100 to about $800 for three weeks in Corfu, including transportation - i.e. not insane even at the top price . Ditto at a fellow international org employee who got financial aid for a US university using some rather creative descriptions of financials, e.g. omitting the fact that his income was tax exempt, that the local university his other kid attended was free, and that the employer was paying three quarters of tuition.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
159

Reposting in the correct thread (with added bonus content):

As it turned out, I spent more than the suggested cost of two visits to the Met during the less than six months I was there, and it's unlikely I'd have done that if the cost had been required.

Some of the bigger UK museums are free, aren't they? I remember dropping some money into a donation box at the National Gallery.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
160

re: 159

These days, pretty much all museums are free, although the larger ones often charge for their special exhibitions. It was one of the things Labour did in 2001.

http://www.museumsassociation.org/publications/8120


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
161

All museums should be free. Highways too. People should pay taxes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
162

re: 161

Exactly!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
163

161: Speaking of which, I do wonder how Colorado Springs is doing after its citizen-mandated decision to radically cut municipal spending.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:43 PM
horizontal rule
164

163: Also.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
165

164: Yeah.

In light of the economic downturn, it's difficult to apportion blame squarely in one direction or another for these things (in order to generate a teaching moment), but goddamnit there's got to be a teaching moment here. I want to see op-eds, a public discussion of the role of taxes, the value of public services, just what your government really does do for you, what that's worth to you, and so on.

In particular, I'd like to see national stories following Colorado Springs. They're a test case: let's see how that's working out for them. I've poked around online a small amount looking for followup since mid-January when their changes took place; haven't found much, but I haven't drilled down to local newspapers themselves.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 6-10 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
166

I think we're overlooking the possibility that "spring cleaning" is probably a euphemism. You check urban dictionary, heebie. $5 might be a real bargain.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
167

I may have completely misunderstood the civil war.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
168

164. By the time I get to Phoenix/I'll be soaking...


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
169

there's got to be a teaching moment here

I wish a teaching moment was at hand, but I'm increasingly despondent about the teachability of the public at large. The median American can barely do math, much less take the time to develop even a passing familiarity with federal/state/local budgeting and the tax code. I'm certain the general reaction of half the population to (what should be) completely obvious cause-and-effect situations like those is: "If the government can spend a billion dollars researching the sex lives of bears, they can goddamn well keep the rest stops open."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
170

What I've been wondering lately is: would people actually care that much if services shut down, a la Colorado Springs? Or would it just play into general cynicism about the government and the conclusion "If Walmart was running the state parks, the trashes would get emptied on time" or whatever?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
171

Also, it's hard to draw the line between tax cuts and service cuts, when the tax cuts were undetectable, because they were mostly to corporations and/or the world's wealthiest aristocrats. Fiendishly clever!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
172

Anti-tax idiots generally seem to be reaching the conclusion that governments are cutting these services specifically because anti-tax idiots use them, and that, were the governments operating in good faith, they could cut all those other wasteful programs (or just paying city workers Lagos wages) instead. The solution, I assume, is more tax cuts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
173

What I'd found a couple of days ago re: Colorado Springs suggested that they were looking into privatizing, uh ... something or other. Just a brief mention, no particular details or indication of how seriously this might be pursued.

It's not remotely surprising. I'm curious about crime levels, though.

When the initial stories about C.S. were circulating, not a few residents expressed an intention to leave town sooner or later (if, say, they should be laid off), as there are now even fewer jobs, not enough public transportation, streets at night feel less safe, etc. etc.

The place might increasingly become a ghost town. Well, except for the evangelicals and the military. I just find this really interesting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03- 7-10 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
174

128: ironic, really, since having your, as it were, undercarriage examined is an unavoidable precursor to getting on the aeroplane in the first place.

On the OP, wasn't there some Mencken line about "killing each other because one half of the nation prefers to hire its servants for life, and the other half by the hour"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 2:53 AM
horizontal rule
175

I just learned that ancient Norwegian law governs landholding in Orkney and Shetland and perhaps some other bits of Scotland. That's...weird.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 4:56 AM
horizontal rule
176

A friend of mine from uni is a Manx lawyer.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
177

That's the kind without the tail.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
178

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that H.L. Mencken was the P.J. O'Rourke of his day. One of the properties of such a person is that he is never actually right about anything.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
179

He managed to get this one right: "As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Great and glorious day: January 20, 2001.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
180

See, even with that he wasn't thinking clearly. Don't a lot of historians consider Franklin Pierce to be a moron? Wasn't this one of the most vacuous presidential campaigns in history, even by 21st-century standards?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03- 8-10 10:25 AM
horizontal rule