Re: Lady Madonna

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And when it's not that, about half the population is constantly accusing them of living unwholesome lives that are causing the downfall of civilization, and when their equally harried kids get a little older and do poorly in school, then poorly in life, it's because they're not smart enough or working hard enough. After all, look at me with my job and my house and my bills paid up. Why can't you do as well as me? You must be lazy.


Posted by: JH | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:22 AM
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The other interesting side point to this is that we all expect to be able to visit the grocery store at 9:00 or 10:00 at night, and that there will be people working there instead of being at home with their kids. It was not always so. Once we had to plan ahead when we went shopping, and make sure we didn't forget anything, because another opportunity might not arise for several days; but the shop workers went home and cooked a meal for their families.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:29 AM
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3: And a corollary of that is that our bosses couldn't make us work all the time the stores were open -- you had to have time off to shop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:32 AM
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People were given time off to shop?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:35 AM
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On the other hand, we had to buy our food at the company store, because we were paid in tokens.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:37 AM
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Okay, I'm generalizing from what my mother's said about store hours in Germany, which stayed very controlled much longer than they did in the states. But you'd have one day a week when stores were open late (that is, past the end of a normal workday), and no one else would work late that day unless it was a dire emergency because that was when they needed to do their grocery shopping.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:38 AM
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5: And wore onions on our belts, which was the style at the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:39 AM
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This is probably what is going on:

http://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/business-hours.html


The continuing and still growing participation by women in the workforce has greatly contributed to the expansion of retail hours as women have shifted shopping from daytime hours to the night.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:40 AM
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I'm not sure how this implies the hand-to-mouth finances or shelf space or wherewithal part. Could be single mom with good income and busy weekends. Could be well off family with two working parents, one of whom travels a lot for business. If the kids aren't school-aged, it could be that they don't go to bed that early.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:41 AM
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Bank hours - you close at 4:00?!? - make me totally livid. So it's not an entirely bad-capitalist-exploit-the-worker thing to adjust your hours to your users.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:44 AM
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I'm not sure how this implies the hand-to-mouth finances or shelf space or wherewithal part.

Maybe it's just because HP conks out around 7:30 that it seems like a worst-case scenario to haul her to the grocery store at 9:30. So as long as I had resources, I would not do the shopping that night. Either I'd have enough food that I could scrap by until a better night came my way, or I can hire a baby-sitter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:46 AM
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And a corollary of that is that our bosses couldn't make us work all the time the stores were open -- you had to have time off to shop.

No, I'm pretty sure that in most instances you didn't get time off--your wife just did the shopping while you were at work.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:50 AM
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Weren't there bachelors? And working girls (in the non-IYKWIM sense)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:51 AM
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And, typically, if one was only working five days a week, and shops were open five and a half days a week, you did it when you had your days off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:52 AM
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But 12 is right, that this was all easier when more families had an adult who wasn't in the paid workforce.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:53 AM
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I'm old enough to remember when banks were open 5 1/2 days. But their Saturday mornings were shorter than everybody else's. And shop workers got an afternoon in lieu. There's a football club round here called Sheffield Wednesday, because it was originally formed from a shop worker's league which used to play on Wednesday afternoons, that being early closing day.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:02 AM
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13: I think working bachelors, who didn't live with their moms, had women who "did" for them. In novels at least! you didn't need to have much money at all to have a landlady who cooked your meals for you and tidied.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:06 AM
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That strikes me as sad too, heebie. My partner has a student who was jailed and had her daughter put into foster care this week in part because she left the toddler alone at sleep when she went out at night, albeit to do less savory things than shop for groceries. It's a decision that seems to be ruining her life right now, though she's apparently managing to keep up with homework. We hear from the social workers that this is an increasingly common reason kids are coming into care. As with many things, I wish we supported poorer families better instead.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:11 AM
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If you go back far enough, bachelors lived like this. My parents both lived in shared bedsitters when they met, circa 1948.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:13 AM
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The other interesting side point to this is that we all expect to be able to visit the grocery store at 9:00 or 10:00 at night, and that there will be people working there instead of being at home with their kids. It was not always so. Once we had to plan ahead when we went shopping, and make sure we didn't forget anything, because another opportunity might not arise for several days; but the shop workers went home and cooked a meal for their families.

I remember those days. You also had to buy whole chickens. Skinless breasts didnt exist [apo??].

Same goes for getting gas for the car. Fill up bc it might be a while before the next station is open.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:17 AM
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I'm old enough to remember when banks were open 5 1/2 days.

Banks are the only thing that are open 5 1/2 days in the US, so I'm not sure what you mean.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:20 AM
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Ummm...NO?

During my stay-at-home mom days with a baby, I routinely found myself at the supermarket at night with her. It wasn't sad, a class marker, or anybody else's business; it just worked with our household routines, which included co-sleeping, late mornings, a preference for shopping at uncrowded off-times, and an unwillingness to part with night-owl habits.

Sheesh.


Posted by: good enough cook | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:20 AM
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Not everything which is a marker of something is found exclusively in instances of that thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:21 AM
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On the OP: This sometimes happened with our two parent, adequately resourced, family. When the baby didn't want to sleep, strapping him in the car and then the grocery cart often did the trick. And you could get the shopping done too! Only before age 2 or so.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:21 AM
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Remember when you had to go inside a bank (with your bankbook!) to get cash? If you didn't do that on Friday, you couldn't get cash until Monday. I barely remember that, although I do remember the arrival of ATMs.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:23 AM
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I remember that, and I don't remember the arrival of ATMs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:27 AM
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I need to learn to control my rage when I am in the grocery line and someone pulls out their checkbook.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:28 AM
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I need to learn to control my rage when I am in the grocery line and someone pulls out their checkbook.

I am willing to give them a pass as long as they start writing the check while they are getting wrung up. People that stand there and do nothing for several minutes and only start writing the check after the teller is done deserve your rage.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:33 AM
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Some toddlers really like going to the supermarket at night. With all the bright colors, music and people dressed like clowns, it's pretty much the circus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:45 AM
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25: That was my first bank account. I was a very conscientious saver, because I could never get to the bank in time to get any money out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:47 AM
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Remember when all the cars ran on horseflesh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:48 AM
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19: So this shared bedsit business, I know it from various Angry Young British Person novels. But I've never been clear as to whether one had one's own bedroom in a shared bedsit and whether in a single bedsit the bed and the sit were both the same room.

Also, what about those 11% cuts to government services that are being proposed in the UK? Aren't you panicking? I'd be panicking. I am given to understand that in the bad old days of austerity under Margaret Thatcher government services were frozen/at zero-growth-rate and that an 11% cut is crazy unprecedented. You're all going to be living in shared bedsits and counting yourselves lucky to have them, it sounds like. (Er, speaking of the UK)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:52 AM
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Why did you need to brink your bankbook to withdraw money? I'm familiar with not having an ATM card and I just go and fill out one of the deposit or withdrawal slips they have there. Did you have to carry around your own personalized deposit slips, like your own checks?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:56 AM
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"brink your bankbook" s/b "bring your bangboog"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:56 AM
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A bedsit is (I'm almost completely sure) one room -- it's the British for studio apartment. Shared bedsit, I dunno.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:57 AM
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33: You had to write a check to yourself or to 'cash' and then cash the check. You still have personalized deposit slips in the back of your checkbook, don't you?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:58 AM
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33: They printed the withdrawal and your balance in the bankbook -- like a checkbook register, but the bank made the entries. That was how you knew how much money you had in the bank.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:58 AM
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Huh, my bank when I was a kid had deposit slips you could fill out there, but no withdrawal slips.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:59 AM
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I would always forget my bankbook, so I'd just scrawl a number on a piece of paper and silently slide it over to the teller. I figured this was probably annoying, so I'd wear a funny mask to lighten the mood.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:01 PM
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||God, Libertarians are fuckwits. Some schmuck on the Reason website is talking about the 60 Minutes piece about people who walk away from their underwater mortgages. After using the word "deadbeats" several times, the author concedes that the walkers-away are abiding by their contracts, in that the house was the understood collateral, and they can give the house back to bank if they no longer wish to pay. But then he says that he can tell that the couple in the story "aren't savers," because they use bagged salad greens. Good grief, very much a bunch of panty sniffers in their own way.|>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:03 PM
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35. A bedsit is a room with use of a shared kitchen and bathroom. Over here a studio apartment usually has some private washing and cooking facilities. A shared bedsit is a bedsit with two (unrelated) people living in it, which is pretty uncommon these days but was fairly usual 60 years ago.

Frowner, the projected cuts are indeed scary. However, the Tories actually have no idea where they're planning to make them and more likely than not they won't be able to cut 11% as quickly as they think. Once they're faced with reality, it'll be very bad, but I expect them to start back pedaling quite fast. Our best hope is that they give Vince Cable (LibDem) the Treasury as part of the deal, because he's potentially competent, whereas their guy, George Osborne is a total fucking mouth breather.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:06 PM
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One imagines that the nature of the cuts would be quite different depending on whether Klyeg puts Labour or Conservatives in charge. Either way he ends up losing, as part of the coalition that presided over a horrible economy though!

If, as in the US, the tax burden in the UK is at an all-time low, one could also imagine a way that the cuts could be reduced, by, like, taxes, or having fewer tax shelters, or something.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:09 PM
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40: See, it's just (natural, organic, sainted) capitalism when corporations do it, but when individuals do it then they're deadbeats because that might affect a corporation's profits.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:13 PM
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23: And not everything someone claims is a marker of something actually is.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:19 PM
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41: Okay, so what about how apparently if there's a Liberal/Labor coalition the UK's overall credit will get downgraded? I've heard some stuff about how "the banks" will only continue the UK's present credit rating if there's a Liberal/Tory coalition. Is that really true? If it is, what's the point of elections then?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:21 PM
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40: Life is a lot easier if you just never read the comments at Reason Magazine.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:22 PM
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46: Golly, I haven't looked. Do they speculate as to the possession of color televisions?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:24 PM
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There was an interesting "Thinking Allowed" podcast a few weeks ago about the rise and fall of the English weekend. I had no idea that not so many decades ago, a day off on Saturday was not a given -- you might have your other day off (besides Sunday) on Tuesday or whatever.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:24 PM
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I could have written the comment at #22. When I went to the store at off-hours it was because it fit our schedule. We co-slept, arose late (honestly, I don't want to wake up whenever a baby who is asleep at 7:30pm wakes up), and were night owls by nature. We've had to adjust that now to meet the rigidity of the public school system, but when the summer comes we shall slip back into our old ways.

Is "maybe that's the way their family works" really that great a leap to make?


Posted by: Sabra | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:28 PM
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It's possible that Heebie and I are just generalizing from our own preferences and routines, but I too would feel sad for a family that had to schlep a young child along on errands past what I think of as bedtime.

("young," "had to," and "bedtime" may vary by family and situation, of course)


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:32 PM
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I've heard some stuff about how "the banks" will only continue the UK's present credit rating if there's a Liberal/Tory coalition. Is that really true? If it is, what's the point of elections then?

It's academic. Brown has announced that he's resigning in favour of Cameron. No idea what Clegg has been able to screw out of them.

But I would discount the sort of rumour you're quoting. Right wing commenters say shit like that for the hell of it. I very much doubt if the banks would fuck with Britain's credit rating till they see how Southern Europe pans out.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:37 PM
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On Britain's credit rating:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/05/11/markets-have-spoken-they-couldnt-care-less/


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:45 PM
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52. Good spot. I don't know who Frowner's been reading, but whoever it is, I probably trust John Band further.

It is going to be fucking nasty though. There's no disguising that.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 12:49 PM
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I am Facebook "friends" with Billy Bragg and he was a big LibDem supporter (which -- my understandings aren't subtle enough to get, but ok). For the past several days he's been insisting that a Tory/LibDem alliance won't happen and everyone should calm down. Then it became, well, even if it were to happen PR, we'll get PR and can kick them right out. And now, well, now all his fans are in an uprising writing parody versions of his songs and in general scolding him. It's moderately amusing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:00 PM
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53: Well, I was reading Lenin's Tomb, but it turns out he's quoting Business Week, in their turn quoting an entity known as BNP Paribas SA. So it may be scare tactics but it's not quite as rumor-y as I initially assumed.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:02 PM
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If only we had a blog called "Business Week's Tomb" that quoted Lenin.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:03 PM
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Bragg used to be solid Labour; presumably, like many leftists, he switched because of Blair. Ever been had!

Cameron is seeing the old lady right now. Presumably the fun starts in about 10 minutes.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:03 PM
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54: That really depresses me since he of all people should know better and since I pretty much have the whole of Urbane Folk Music by heart.

I mean, I could see ditching Labor, but the Liberal Democrats always seemed like such a sham to me. Voting for them I can understand perhaps, but certainly not talking them up as the next big thing.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:13 PM
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58: His page is filling up with "Billy, you twat" and "We're all out of jobs thanks to Billy!" and "which side are you on Bill, which side are you are on? the lib dems had a policy and cleggy made it law seems that its illegal to fight the tories anymore." The man himself has yet to comment.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:16 PM
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The markets, earlier today, were entirely calm when it looked like it still might happen. This morning's gilt auction was two and a half times oversubscribed. All else, on that score, is guff.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:22 PM
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OK, Cameron will be speaking as PM in about five, if you want to find a feed.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:23 PM
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In light of 54, this is also moderately amusing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:31 PM
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Wanker.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:33 PM
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Oh, Cameron - sorry Jesus.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:33 PM
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Also, yeah, I've taken small kids to the supermarket many times, and not usually because of any other reason than we're both awake. I can see that it *might* indicate some or all of the things you're saying heebie, but I wouldn't automatically feel sad for someone because of it - that just seems to show a lack of imagination.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:37 PM
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45: People in financial markets always say that a left-wing government will lead to a ratings downgrade or a market panic, and it's always a lie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:40 PM
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OK, he said effectively nothing, but to me he sounded like he was making wiggle room for himself to ignore pretty much everything he's said before Thursday as well. I suppose we'll see some meat tomorrow when he starts appointing ministers.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:41 PM
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Echoing all the comments that suggest this doesn't necessarily seem class coded to me. I'm guessing it did to Heebie because the people in question looked poor.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:42 PM
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UK Political subthread over. He's gone indoors for a chat with Barry O. Wish them joy of each other.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:43 PM
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It was the bagged salad greens that did it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:43 PM
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54, 58, 59: It just seems like such a mess -- when Labour's become intolerable, who are decent people supposed to affiliate with? I suppose I should have the same problem with the Democrats, but they still seem clearly enough less evil than the Republicans that as much as they suck, they still seem easily preferable. Who's Bragg supposed to vote for?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:44 PM
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Bagged salad greens led to a market panic? I know they can be a bit nasty, but that seems excessive.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:45 PM
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Bagged salad greens should be naughty, but isn't. This makes me sad.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:46 PM
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Who's Bragg supposed to vote for?

The Bagged Greens, of course.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:46 PM
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Sure, it came out that the Greeks were using bagged salad greens on their gyros, and now the entire euro project is threatened.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:47 PM
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And, although it's a small point, the fact that seeing someone at the store late at night causes you to infer that the person might have limited shelf space strikes me as deeply bizarre.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:51 PM
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71: I could understand a nose-holding vote for the Liberal Democrats (although I still think Labor is preferable despite the over-all loathesomeness) but I can't understand the cheerleading. Mostly I think that whoever is in office, you-all need to go Greece on them. The reason liberal democracy doesn't work is that politicians have lost all fear of the people--they know they'll never really be out of the government-foundation revolving-door circuit, they know that no one will ever actually do anything more inconvenient than a little lightweight civil disobedience and home by dinner time--a few burning Christmas trees (or May poles, or something seasonal) would turn that around. I'd opt for a good-quality general strike except that riots seem to be easier to get going.

And don't forget to smash up the luxury shops! The Greeks emphasize this point.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 1:55 PM
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This is the group Bragg affiliated with, and his main concern really seemed to be getting Proportional Representation voting. But now it seems he'll be getting *a referendum* on Alternative Voting (which they like less? But I'm not sure why) and Prime Minister David Cameron. As someone on the Take Back Parlian site tweeted: "The British Dream: Even an Etonian can become PM."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:02 PM
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Also, let me add based on recent experience heckling the MN GOP gubernatorial candidate for his racist support of AZ 1070 (he was marching in Cinco de Mayo, no less! Trying to get the Latino vote!)--many of these people are easily cowed! They are accustomed to deference; they don't believe that anyone would ever be so rude as to call them out for what seems like a perfectly ordinary right-wing position. A little lightweight smashing and rending could change the whole political landscape!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:02 PM
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77: It's interesting, I wonder if the federal structure of the US has a discouraging effect on civil unrest. When I think about where to go to actively express displeasure with our representatives, state or city government buildings seem inappropriate, and there's not all that much federal easily accessible -- courthouses and some office buildings, but not stuff that feels like an arm of the government generally, rather than just the SSA or something.

It seems as if a country where the local government was more explicitly an arm of the national government might be easier to take issue with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:02 PM
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77: And kill a pregnant bank employee!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:05 PM
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Or, I could just be useless at this sort of thing. That's probably more likely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:05 PM
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80: To a degree, yes. But that does mean that the mayor, for example, does not really expect you to show up and stage a sit-in in his office; political candidates do not expect organized, angry people to follow them around and call them out; City Councils do not expect non-wingnut-but-still-angry people at meetings.

If you're willing to use unconventional tactics with controlled anger, you can achieve a lot. I was surprised--with my recent adventures in group heckling--at how well we were received and how little the police and other representatives of authority did to stop us. I suggest that a group of committed people who are not afraid to be a little bit impolite/refuse to leave/refuse to be silenced can do a great deal.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:06 PM
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81: Well, I don't recommend that, but the reason people died in that bank was because the bank owner had 1. forced his employees to work when everyone else in the downtown district had stayed home; 2. refused to install or maintain required safety doors; 3. refused to allow employees contact with the outside on the day. The bank building, IIRC, was not even zoned to be a bank--full of flammable money and electrics. There was no intent to set an inhabited building on fire.

But yes, I retract that part about the fire. It's too big a chance to take.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:12 PM
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82: Maybe, when push comes to shove, you're on the other side.

I know I am.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:16 PM
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The reason liberal democracy doesn't work is that politicians have lost all fear of the people--they know they'll never really be out of the government-foundation revolving-door circuit, they know that no one will ever actually do anything more inconvenient than a little lightweight civil disobedience and home by dinner time--a few burning Christmas trees (or May poles, or something seasonal) would turn that around. I'd opt for a good-quality general strike except that riots seem to be easier to get going.

If you're willing to use unconventional tactics with controlled anger, you can achieve a lot.

Objectively fascist!!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:18 PM
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In fact, let me post a link to a letter from an employee of the bank--regardless of one's feelings about the anarchists/rioting, it certainly does illustrate the structural violence of capitalism.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:19 PM
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84: I'm sorry, I'm as big a fan of civil disobedience as anyone here, but you can't throw a Molotov into a building and then blame the building owner for not having adequate fire safety equipment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:20 PM
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86: Eh, objectively radical, whether left or right. I can certainly step up the drum-beating about the inherent contradictions of liberalism and the violence/death/physical misery inherent in the system if that would help balance things out.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:21 PM
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88: I'm posting too much and I'll knock it off momentarily.

I'd say that's half true--I really don't hold the molotov-throwers blameless, and I really don't approve of setting things on fire or blowing them up. But the bank (as you can see from the letter linked above) isn't blameless--in fact, if there were anything dangerous going on in a downtown area and a boss refused to let his employees leave, had refused to install sprinklers or maintain fire exits, and also refused to allow the employees internet access to figure out the news, most people would hold the boss accountable too. This still applies to riots.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:26 PM
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88 - is that cross-posted with 87?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:27 PM
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re: 67

He's confirmed Osborne as Chancellor, so we can expect to be living in craters eating each other, and clawing in the dirt for shiny in about 6 months ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:33 PM
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92: I'll send you cigarettes and stockings!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:34 PM
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92 --

Wow, it's nice to get some of that your-country-is-shittier-than-ours feeling back. The Schadenfreude must have felt great for you guys for so long!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:35 PM
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Now they are rewriting the Internationale for Mr Bragg:

Desert your working class traditions,
Renege on all the hopes of man
For middle class is the position
And consensus is the plan

Forget your history and reason
Servile masses, you know your place
For now class warfare's the new treason
And the market, we embrace

So to dorset we'll hurry
And pretend that day is night
And proletarian best interests
Are served by Clegg, that shite

In the final conflict
We now know where we will be
The sordid wasted cannon fodder
For the Liberal bourgeoisie


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:38 PM
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91: I had skimmed the linked letter, and didn't see anything that changed my point.

Look, I'd be on the streets if I were in Greece, too. They shouldn't have to induce a recession and trash all the good jobs just to ensure that the bankers are paid off on schedule. But that doesn't change who is primarily responsible when a Molotov kills someone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:38 PM
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who is primarily responsible when a Molotov kills someone

Capitalism.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:40 PM
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25 I remember moving to Poland after college and losing ATM's. Two hours to get money out of your account courtesy of three lines. First to get a withdrawal slip, then to submit it, and finally a third one to get your money. Mostly you just did everything in cash, salary and rent included. Also fun from back then, watching your perfectly respectable per lesson hour salary rate get not so nice courtesy of forty percent inflation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:45 PM
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Capitalism.

Ignition.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:45 PM
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96: You know, I just realized that this is almost my exact argument about police brutality--that the police are fundamentally responsible, not larger social forces or the criminality of the criminal, because they are the people who direclty choose to shoot/tase/beat/rape. So I admit that you're [mostly] right, although I think the bank owner should also face consequences for the threats and dangerous working conditions.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:46 PM
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96 They're running a massive primary deficit, so if they default and tell the IMF and EU to go fuck themselves they'll have far sharper immediate cuts in spending.

OT Netflix is telling me I'll like some Joan Baez documentary because I liked All About Eve, Touch of Evil, and Au Revoir les Enfants. Huh?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:49 PM
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I ran out of checks, and have been paying for things in cash, which feels so retro. In the same spirit, I'm planting lots of zinnias this year, which are not only retro, but very midwestern. So cornfed, so exotic to someone from my circles.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:54 PM
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love,

Megan


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:54 PM
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I ran out of checks, and have been paying for things in cash, which feels so retro.

Both of those things feel retro to me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 2:58 PM
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Running out of checks is as au courant now as ever.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:00 PM
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101: I understand that no matter what happens, there is going to be a lot of hardship, but from what I've seen, it looks like the deal has been set up so first and foremost the banks get repaid quickly and in full. This despite the fact that the crises is a product of shady bookkeeping that the banks and the Greek government colluded on so that the Greeks could get in the EU. (I'm not as informed on this as a should be, so I could be wrong here.)

So it looks like the Greek ruling class made a crappy deal with foreign banks, and the working class is stuck with the bill. That's not fair.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:01 PM
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So to dorset we'll hurry

Should be "So to dorset we will hurry".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:03 PM
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So it looks like the Greek ruling class made a crappy deal with foreign banks, and the working class is stuck with the bill. That's not fair.

Au contraire, as you would know if you read my front page every day this month, the lesson is that just like in California, the Greek government went into massive debt because of the brutal demands of labor unions, and now the bill is coming due. The people who caused the problem now need to pay for it, whether that will require them to pay more money than they will ever earn, or whatever.


Posted by: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:10 PM
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92: Anyone else remember Sylvia, the comic strip? My favorite strip ever asked "Ten years from today, voters will be most concerned about: (a) health care, (b) education, (c) keeping giant radioactive insects out of our caves." It's surprising how often that feels topical.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:12 PM
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I grieve and tremble with and for the British people.
But this will not last the year.

Y'all need a dose of James Howard Kunstler to lift your spirits.

Worse than 1789 ...by August he said on May 2.

By August, it's possible that the entire country except for the editorial board of the New York Times will be members in good standing of the Tea party, and it will have split into a dozen warring factions. By then, too many other destabilizing events will be in motion. The hangover of the British election will reveal the fatal insolvency of the UK, torpedoing the pound -- a huge event that would certainly trigger a cascading fiasco of credit default swap obligations. I don't see how the global financial system emerges from that in any form recognizable to someone watching the scene in the first week of May, 2010. In the background of all this, something wicked this way comes in the matter of oil prices and availability. The eco-disaster underway from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is looking every hour more like an event horizon that will rock the whole industry and, with it, the developed world. At the moment, oil is over $86 a barrel (and gasoline over $3 for regular at the pumps). I continue to wonder how it will all go down this summer in the Hamptons where, like Versailles in 1789, the elite mega-wealthy of today cavort shamelessly in a semi-private fantasy-land of status vamping for the Vanity Fair shutterbugs. The Hamptons are not defensible -- unless you count privet hedge as an effective fortification. Any bloody-minded gang of unemployed, grievance-maddened mudlarks can creepy-crawl down the Sunrise Highway to Gin Lane with firearms bought at the WalMart (and modified to full-automatic in the garage). What if hundreds -- thousands! -- of them get the same idea? Louis XVI and his homeys probably never thought the mobs would scale the ha-has of his fabulous estate, either.

Billy Bragg will redeem himself in late summer.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:15 PM
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110: My mom's a reasonable bike ride from the Hamptons, and is scary when annoyed. Her politics are fairly close to yours as well. This could be interesting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:17 PM
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The Schadenfreude must have felt great for you guys for so long!

I've read that the English are a people who feel Schadenfreude toward themselves. Perhaps that helps to explain recent events.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:22 PM
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107: "We'll hurry" is replacing "come rally".


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:22 PM
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The quote in 110 is insane, but I'd be glad to buy LB's mom a gun if she decides to go on a killing spree in the Hamptons.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:24 PM
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Not only do the British think they themselves are a bit shit, we also think that other people who don't think (of themselves) that they (themselves) are a bit shit, are slick untrustworthy spivs.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:25 PM
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114: If you'd met my mother, you'd know that that's a very unwise offer to make if you're not actually out for blood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:26 PM
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115: This oddly reminds me of the Trainspotting line: "We're not even wankers! We're colonized by wankers!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:28 PM
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Mr. Bragg has updated: "I invite anyone who wants to kick my ass to do so below."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:29 PM
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Not only do the British think they themselves are a bit shit, we also think that other people who don't think (of themselves) that they (themselves) are a bit shit, are slick untrustworthy spivs.

That actually sounds great. I agree wholeheartedly. Fuck it, even with tories in power, Britain is still better than we are.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:35 PM
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And Yglesias is just in motherfucking awe at the efficiency of the British transition. Fucking wanker.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:35 PM
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115 made me laugh - very true. I am wondering how long it will take for my eldest to find and join every anti-Cameron group on Facebook, as that seems to be tonight's not-going-to-sleep activity.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:38 PM
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118: My teenage crush on him remains intact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:41 PM
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Hmmm...

Michael Hudson seems to come close to agreement with Kunstler, via analysis or the Euro bailout.

What really was bailed out is the principle that economies should be stripped so that finance capital may rule.

But the fight surely is not yet over. It will escalate for the remainder of the 2010s, because it is nothing less than an attempt to roll back the history of the 19th and 20th century's struggle to replace the power of vested property and financial interests with principles of progressive taxation and public enterprise.

"Things fall apart, center does not hold" by late summer.

Enough links, nobody follows them anyway.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:42 PM
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115 - I've run up against that before in blogland, and hurt feelings resulted. You can tell I was socialized in a different culture, because I think that people should mostly think (of themselves) that they're great, perhaps with a few areas for self-improvement.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:43 PM
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120 - he must think it's *amazing* on a normal post-election morning when things just switch straight over.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:43 PM
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124: Spiv.

125: I do, kind of. Here, it's like a giant emergency -- it seems to take almost a year to get the government up and running again every 4/8 years. You guys don't miss a step.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:46 PM
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Worse than 1789 ...by August he said on May 2.

Yeah, but he also said that on May 2, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:46 PM
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124 - if you think you're great, we will think you are big-headed. You might even be guilty of bragging, which is just about the worst thing ever. It's fine to *secretly* think you're great, but to other people you must say you are stupid/ugly/clumsy etc, and then we will know that whatever you are being most deprecating about, is actually your proudest feature.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:46 PM
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128: This is terribly confusing when you run into someone who actually is stupid, ugly, and clumsy, but is honest about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:47 PM
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Yes, we prefer to leave honesty to you New Worlders.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 3:57 PM
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128 - Yes, well, I've already seen evidence that the two systems don't mesh well together. Still and all, doesn't it seem like a more pleasant subjective experience to go through life thinking oneself great, rather than a bit shit? As a side note, I've found that the older I get, the less time I have for self-deprecation. I'm not usually inclined to agree, so I don't want to go along with it nor be forced into giving some contradictory compliment. Self-deprecation puts the listener in a yucky position.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:02 PM
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I can't help but think that it could perhaps have been more useful to get a few more votes in for Labour than whining about Billy Bragg. Or, at the absolute minimum, to show up for the demo on Saturday that he moved to be outside the Liberal caucus meeting.

Regarding "the fatal insolvency of the UK", Bullshit Bob might want to check out the link in my last. Remember Barcelona!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:04 PM
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It's important not to be self-deprecating, because that might signal to other people that it's okay to be critical of things that you do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:12 PM
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As a side note, I've found that the older I get, the less time I have for self-deprecation.

Hmmm. I've noticed a couple of impulses in myself as I get older. (1) As I am more confident in seeing my strengths as strengths, I am more willing to admit it when I do mess something up. (2) I have become more comfortable with my own quirks and limitations, and accept them for what they are (I may still feel anxious about them, just because I am an anxious person sometimes, but I don't feel anxious about the fact that I have quirks and limitations. (3) I become increasingly aware that, out of the universe of possible virtues, I possess only a handful of them, and those only to a certain degree.

So I have become both more confident and more humble as I've gotten older and, to me, that seems entirely appropriate and a reasonable perspective to cultivate.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:15 PM
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Another good reason to avoid self-deprecation is to avoid giving people the sense that you rely on extrinsic measures of success, accomplishment or approbation to guide people's perception of you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:16 PM
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Self-deprecation is not only my favorite form of deprecation, it is also my favorite relation to self.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:25 PM
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I think that people should mostly think (of themselves) that they're great, perhaps with a few areas for self-improvement.

Why do you think this? I mean, what are the benefits of such massive self-delusion, either to self or to society?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:29 PM
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Almost Deprecation only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades software development and exorcisms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:33 PM
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As a relation between deprecation and approbation, I am not yet a self.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:51 PM
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138.1 is deprecated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 4:52 PM
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I'm bookmarking 128 on my phone so that I cab read it at my next therapy session. Apparently I'm quite British after all?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:01 PM
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I think people should have an objective self assessment, and in most cases, this will lead to British levels of self-deprecation, at a minimum.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:04 PM
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141 was I.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:14 PM
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Why do you think this? I mean, what are the benefits of such massive self-delusion, either to self or to society?

Because in general, I hand out with accomplished, beautiful, amazing people, and it is a fucking waste of their gifts to have low self-appreciation. That's bad enough, but if they don't have low self-appreciation but are somehow self-deprecating, it gets even more confusing. How should I take it when someone more something-wonderful than I am denigrates his worth? If he thinks so little of himself when he's clearly impressive, what must he think of the company he's in?

Besides those things, someone self-deprecating is talking shit about my friend. I wouldn't put up with that if it were about a third party, and I won't put up with it about someone I'm facing, either. If nothing else, s/he should have more respect for my judgment. I don't hang out with non-great people.

Basically, I want to be around great people who are confidant in that, and then we can get on to the having fun part. Self-deprecation interrupts the flow.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:17 PM
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Perfect example. Otto, you're brilliant, finishing the Ph.D. that I never got. You're handsome and urban. You're funny enough to hang here. You run marathons; the furthest I've ever run is a couple miles. If you self-deprecate, you drag me down with you, which is bullshit. Way better to have a mutual pact of thinking ourselves and each other amazing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:20 PM
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Way better to have a mutual pact of thinking ourselves and each other amazing.

Works for me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:26 PM
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Oh, Megan, you are also awesome. No need for a pact of mutually assured appreciation!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:27 PM
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what must he think of the company he's in?

A vexing question indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:29 PM
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Thanks, TJ. But that wasn't the point. The system doesn't work well with one self-abnegating person thinking everyone else is great but interjecting weird little nuggets of appeasement and compliment-fishing. The system works best (for having fun) if everyone starts with a baseline of thinking herself great (possibly with some areas that could be even greater).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:31 PM
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Everything about me is completely wonderful except for the stuff that isn't.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:35 PM
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it seems to take almost a year to get the government up and running again every 4/8 years. You guys don't miss a step.

That's because in the U.S., huge numbers of civil service positions are political appointments and not full-time careers. A new government means 80,000 bureaucrats need to be replaced, and often confirmed by some fucking House or Senate committee. Over there, having a permanent civil service results in a smooth transition, because they continue to run the country -- as they have since the middle ages, which gives rise to problems of its own.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:35 PM
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Over there, having a permanent civil service results in a smooth transition, because they continue to run the country

That's as I thought it was over there.

Oddly, I had to avoid an argument with a friend recently who tried to tell me that the Queen oversees transitions between British governments. She has a staff, you see, who keep track of what's been going on in the preceding government, who regularly have lengthy hours-long meetings with government officials, and she/her staff meet with the incoming government to explain everything to them.

I was a bit incredulous, and finally burst out, "They don't know what's been going on?" Said friend confidently informed me that No, they don't necessarily. The Queen/her staff explains it.

WTF? I honestly didn't know what to say.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:52 PM
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So you're saying Yes, Minister was a documentary?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:52 PM
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115: When Kipling visited the West Coast, he loved the salmon fishing in Multnomah, and left many double-sided compliments for the women of San Francisco; but seems to have given up on the culture completely when he realized that even army officers were boorish enough to boast.

Oo, hall bedrooms; from about the 1870s through WW1, people were pouring into most cities much faster than they could build accomodations. Also, groceries were not open all the time, and cooking and cleaning were hard, so a lot of people lived in boardinghouses. Some were expensive, and magazines complained that rich women didn't want to do their own housekeeping, but a lot of people -esp. early working office women -- squeezed into 'respectable homes', including having one's bed literally balanced on a table at the stub end of a hall. There might have been a curtain for privacy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:53 PM
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it is a fucking waste of their gifts to have low self-appreciation

You seem to have a different conception of the purpose of self-deprecation than I do. If a person self-deprecating, it's not necessarily because they think they're shit. It's a way of signaling that they don't take themselves that seriously, or that they don't think they're inherently better than other people. Which is not incompatible with a pretty high self regard.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:56 PM
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Mere self-deprecation is for pikers. I won't settle for anything less than full-on self-loathing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:57 PM
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Megan, that could be so, but I'm afraid the background level of neurosis is so high in these parts that we'll all be deafened by cliques before we hear too many "I'm great!"s.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 5:59 PM
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So you're saying Yes, Minister was a documentary?

In many respects, yes. (Though I think ironically Sir Humphrey's rise as a recognizable figure coincided with a decline in the Civil Service era he represented.)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:01 PM
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I skip the self-deprecation and self-loathing and move straight to self-abuse. You know, on the bus or whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:03 PM
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151: That's because in the U.S., huge numbers of civil service positions are political appointments and not full-time careers. A new government means 80,000 bureaucrats need to be replaced, and often confirmed by some fucking House or Senate committee.

No, there are about 7,000 potentially appointed positions. There are about 1,100 Senate-confirmable positions.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:03 PM
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You're right, I was conflating low self-regard for self-deprecation, although I usually find them together. Genuinely confident people don't seem to throw in little asides about how anyone could have done that, or it wasn't very good work anyway. The self-deprecation is because they're afraid they won't be liked if their gifts shine. That may have been true for them, but in that case, I bet they're also reining in their gifts, which is another form of waste.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:11 PM
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If a person self-deprecating, it's not necessarily because they think they're shit. It's a way of signaling that they don't take themselves that seriously, or that they don't think they're inherently better than other people.

Or that they're so fucking awesome that they can afford to self-deprecate.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:16 PM
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I'm guessing it did to Heebie because the people in question looked poor.

Yes. To all the people upthread who have done this before - I'm sure you have. Often. Nevertheless, I saw three young, Latina women with infants and toddlers, in a town where race is very closely correlated with income. So at least here, it's a class marker.

And I bet if you looked at all the people who were super excited to be at the grocery store with their kids at 9:30 at night, they would exclusively be people with resources who were there by choice. Lucky them!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:22 PM
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Nope. That's no good for the listener either. What option does it give the responder? "Actually, I think the Olympics are kindof a big deal." [Thinking: I never made it to the Olympics...]

I don't see any ways self-deprecation helps an interaction, and it introduces a lot of ways for an interaction to be inauthentic.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:24 PM
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I tried claiming self-deprecation last year, but the IRS got very angry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:30 PM
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Well yeah. They didn't want to have to keep reassuring you all the time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:33 PM
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So tell me, Megan, do you read 134 as self depricating? It has an aside about feeling anxious, but it concludes by saying that I think I fundamentally have a correct outlook.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:36 PM
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That kind of self deprecation does indeed sound annoying. I wouldn't hang out with someone like that either. I guess I'm thinking of something a bit more artful. Not "Oh, the Olympics are no big deal" but something that conveys more "Yeah, this is my thing, but it doesn't make me any more special than you are."


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:36 PM
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Basically, I want to be around great people who are confidant in that, and then we can get on to the having fun part

Well geez, what the hell are you doing at unfogged?!

Honestly, I couldn't bear to spend time with someone who truly believed in his/her own greatness. The conceit of it! Insufferable.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:51 PM
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Me, personally, I do it because I am insecure (impostor syndrome anyone?). Oh well!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:53 PM
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"it" of course is heroin


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:53 PM
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"Yeah, this is my thing, but it doesn't make me any more special than you are."

If you had my thing, you wouldn't say that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:54 PM
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Honestly, I couldn't bear to spend time with someone who truly believed in his/her own greatness. The conceit of it! Insufferable.

Really? I can't tell if this is kidding or not.

I think I'm pretty neat, but I also think most people are pretty great. So there's a difference between thinking you're especially great, and just thinking you're great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:55 PM
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Naw, NickS. Looks like a self-assessment. I don't see that as inappropriately hiding what you're good at.

I hope I convey "it doesn't make me any more special than you are" by showing rapt attention and interest in the other person. I don't want to convey it by saying what I did wasn't really all that, or I did a crappy job at it. This goes back to my theory of universal greatness. I want to think the other person is great, and show it. I want to think I'm great. Then we can go do things. I don't want to have to spend time convincing them they're great enough for me (if the self-deprecation is compliment-fishing), or not too great for me (if the self-deprecation is appeasement: 'like me even though I'm smart'.) I have less and less patience for that these days.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:56 PM
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Are you going to make me scold you like I did Otto? I will, you know.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:58 PM
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You and your thing.

And me and my thing.

Well, we all got a thing.

And it's a very good thing!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:58 PM
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One's own self-regard is tiresome. Other people's self-regard is boring.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:58 PM
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176 to 172, and the universe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:58 PM
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Other people's self-regard is boring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 6:59 PM
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175 was to TJ. To TJ's 170, yeah, I think smart people who didn't grow up with enough other smart people get a touch of this. But you're with smart people now. They're so glad for you to be brilliant and accomplished; they want to see even more of it. You don't have to temper that for acceptance any more. That's one of the best parts about being around confident people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:01 PM
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Is self-deprecation a particularly good way to fish for compliments? I can think of better ways.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:02 PM
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I want to think the other person is great, and show it. I want to think I'm great. Then we can go do things.

Yeah, this is all way too explicit for me. If I have to show my companion that I think they're great, that's a step too far. I'm just going to assume that since we're hanging out, we have a decently high level of mutual regard, because if not, why would we be hanging out.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:03 PM
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because if not, why would we be hanging out.

Because you have the Atari.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:04 PM
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Because you have the Atari.

And the booze. Well stocked liquor cabinet FTW!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:06 PM
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Also, what if you're hanging out with somebody, and it's clear that they think that they're just unbelievably great. Like, better than everybody else great. Like, they think that they're one of the best people in the world! That doesn't get old? You don't want to say "you know, I think you're cool, and I'm glad you're self confident, but I can think of a dozen things about you that you could change that would actually make you less annoying, in my book, starting with the way you talk about yourself"? Because I would.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:06 PM
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179 just repeated a portion of my previous comment. I must be really awesome for coming up with that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:06 PM
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Admittedly, I grew up in puritan Massachusetts, not known for its mutually affirmative positivity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:08 PM
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186: seriously it's like the commenter olympics, you hot slice of quotability, you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:08 PM
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Yeah, association and interest should do most of that work. But I still like the mutual greatness system better than mutual "a bit shit" system, or worse, a mismatch.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:11 PM
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La la la la la. I'm singing a song of myself. Join in, everybody! C'mon, you know the words!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:11 PM
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190: If I wanted singing, Glee is on right now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:13 PM
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176, 181: I fish for compliments with my thing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:13 PM
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I wouldn't want to ruin your song with my mediocre voice.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:13 PM
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Moby brought me a biscuit! How wonderful I must be!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:15 PM
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Megan, it isn't necessarily tempering; after a whileit'ss just pathology.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:16 PM
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You know, I have a pretty high tolerance for arrogance, so long as it is backed up. Someone who thinks she is better than other people isn't fun, but I don't run into that a lot. Instead, I run into a lot of brilliant, funny, gorgeous people who have no sense of that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:17 PM
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Pathology and typos. Honestly, it is just my first instinct. Upon reflection I usually come up with plenty of self-regard.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:19 PM
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Instead, I run into a lot of brilliant, funny, gorgeous people who have no sense of that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:19 PM
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And people who forget to italicize stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:20 PM
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Really? I can't tell if this is kidding or not.

Really?

No, not kidding at all. Belief in one's own greatness strikes me as a ridiculous conceit, and also a character flaw.

But I grew up in Canada, which is also not known for its "mutually affirmative positivity."


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:24 PM
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80

It's interesting, I wonder if the federal structure of the US has a discouraging effect on civil unrest. When I think about where to go to actively express displeasure with our representatives, state or city government buildings seem inappropriate, ...

Seems like there is plenty to protest concerning the the New York state government? Or have you been absorbed into the borg?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:25 PM
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I think I've linked it here before, but for some reason I am reminded of Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of The Self-Deprecating Narcissist and Malignant Self Love.

I have a riotous, subtle, ironic, and sharpened sense of humour. I can be self-deprecating and self-effacing. I do not recoil from making my dilapidated Ego the target of my own barbs. Yet, this is true only when I have Narcissistic Supply aplenty. Narcissistic Supply - attention, adulation, admiration, applause, fame, celebrity, notoriety - neuter the sting of my self-directed jokes. In my more humorous moments I can present myself as the opposite of what is widely known to be true. I can unfold a tale of fatuous decisions followed by clumsy misbehaviour - yet, no one would take me to be fatuous or clumsy. It is as though my reputation protects me from the brunt of my own jocular modesty. I can afford to be magnanimously forgiving of my own shortcomings because they are so outweighed by my gifts and by my widely known achievements or traits.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:27 PM
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201: THE BORG DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR PETTY STATE ASSEMBLIES, HUMAN. THE BORG WILL DESTROY YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BORG | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:28 PM
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My state assemblies are awesome ... laydeez.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:31 PM
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Belief in one's own greatness strikes me as a ridiculous conceit, and also a character flaw.

No doubt, but it makes for a nice subjective experience, and that's one of my highest priorities.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:37 PM
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How does that make sense?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:37 PM
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206 to 204. Don't hit me Megan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:38 PM
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This thread is certainly becoming an odd experience. I don't know if I've ever met anyone whose brain works even vaguely similarly to Megan's. Must be a California thing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:39 PM
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206: Maybe it doesn't.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:40 PM
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Must be a California thing.

I don't think?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:42 PM
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208: No, it appears to be a Megan thing. I would not say this is characteristic of Californians. Beyond the people that come here to make it big.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:43 PM
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Which part is odd?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:46 PM
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212: If we're voting, I'm going with "drip irrigation fixation."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:49 PM
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My friend P. had a new girlfriend a few years back and none of us really took to her. She was very beautiful, and very nice, but, you know, meh. So, a friend and I were discussing what it was that kept us from really having any rapport with this woman, and my friend said, "She doesn't hate herself nearly enough." And, bingo, this was really it. She was just such a shiny sphere of self-content and admiration that there was nothing prickly to catch on to.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:52 PM
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I'm good with 170. On the other hand, I'm embarrassed that I've either hallucinated or misplaced a discussion of the hall bedroom. It fit so well with open hours of groceries! And literature of the New Woman in about 1905 is one of my favorite things! Oh well.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:52 PM
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I am distrustful of people who brag on themselves, not because it is boorish, but because I am certain they are trying to pull something over on me. (I think this was the heart of ttaM's comment 115.) The harder the sell, the more dubious the product. This is even more important to remember when a person is selling themselves.

I've been drawn in by narcissists often enough--and burned bad enough--that even small amounts of overt self confidence make my ears prick up. And if a person is in a situation where bragging on yourself is required, such as a job application, I feel better if they are visibly uncomfortable doing it. (Although I know this, too, can be faked.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:52 PM
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And I didn't even mean 170, but 182. Ack.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:53 PM
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213 is funny.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:53 PM
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But you're with smart people now. They're so glad for you to be brilliant and accomplished; they want to see even more of it. You don't have to temper that for acceptance any more. That's one of the best parts about being around confident people

But what if I don't want to only spend time with "smart" people? What if I know certain things make other people uncomfortable and want to downplay that thing so that friend doesn't feel uncomfortable? What if people are prone to adulation of things I don't actually value and I want to downplay that?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:53 PM
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I always have at least one friend who is convinced of their greatness and has convinced me of this as well. I love them for it, and they, like my other friends, really are great. But I usually can only be around one person like this at a time, and it is always in friendships where we are close enough that I'm aware of their insecurities, etc. too.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 7:58 PM
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I'm starting to feel like there are one hundred different meanings to thinking oneself is great. And if we were all in the same room, we'd all agree on which person is annoying and which person is charming, more or less. Or if we didn't agree I'd be right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:00 PM
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Following to 219, it bothers me when people are deeply admiring of things that I've done because they're ignorant of the true difficulty. If somebody is super impressed with something out of, basically, ignorance, I'd rather explain to them why it actually isn't very difficult than take credit for being the all-time genius of (say) turning on televisions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:01 PM
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we'd all agree on which person is annoying and which person is charming, more or less

Oh, I think we all know. But it's better we protect their feelings and keep them from getting a swelled head, respectively.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:02 PM
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This is clearly one of those subjects where the Aristotelian mean is correct answer, but no one can figure out where the middle ground is.

One useful thing Aristotle said was that while every virtue is a mean between two extremes, one of the extremes is far more easy to fall into than the other. Thus with anger, there are far more people who are too hotheaded than there are who are too impassive.

I would say in the case of pride that there are far more people who are too vain than there are who are too lacking in self esteem. Although personally, I know myself to have the opposite malady. It is really really easy for me to fall into dangerous levels of self hatred. Alarmingly, my seven year old has, completely spontaneously, started piping up with similar expressions of self-loathing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:03 PM
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222: I was once told I was a really good filer, and should perhaps devote my life to filing, so good at it was I. (Temp job.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:06 PM
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225: But, after you'd gotten through the bars, you decided to try something else?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:06 PM
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I'd rather explain to them why it actually isn't very difficult than take credit for being the all-time genius of (say) turning on televisions.

When Caroline was three or four, we were throwing a ball around the back yard. For some reason, the question came up whether either of us could throw a ball over the barn. Of course, Caroline couldn't even throw the ball to the barn, let alone over it. She then asked me to throw the ball over the barn, so I did. She then looked up at me wide-eyed and said "Daddy, I love you."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:07 PM
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I'm really good at putting memories in chronological order. Probably not compared with you all, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:08 PM
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I was once told I was a really good filer, and should perhaps devote my life to filing, so good at it was I. (Temp job.)

I was once told pretty much the exact same thing at a temp job, as was another friend of mine. My conclusion? Alphabetical order must be a lot harder than it seems.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:09 PM
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227 is really cute.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:09 PM
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Alphabetical order must be a lot harder than it seems.

Hell, I once hired a UCLA student as a file clerk, and told him to file correspondence in chronological order. When I inspected his progress, the file was completely chaotic. He admitted that he didn't know what "chronological" meant. When I asked why he hadn't either asked me or looked it up, he told me he had tried to look it up, but the word wasn't in the dictionary. And he'd tried both spellings, "kron" and "cron".

What is more frightening [I mean, *UCLA* student] is that he subsequently got into law school, albeit a non-ABA school, and passed the CA bar. When last seen, he was working for the PD's office. I have great sympathy for the people he defends. [Well, only the more-or-less innocent ones...]


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:19 PM
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"cron"

Coulda been more confusing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:20 PM
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229: That makes me laugh so hard. I have a friend who was told the same thing as well. Man.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:23 PM
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Megan, maybe you should meet this guy. (This is the funniest thing I've read in months -- don't miss the part where he explains how he knew as a four-year-old that he was smarter than Isaac Newton, then later explains that because he is more clever than Newton he would have written the Principia differently.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:46 PM
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225, 229: Oh my god, yes. If you ever need some embarrassingly undeserved fawning, take a clerical temp job.

My problem is that while I have confidence (even unto arrogance?) about a number of specific aspects of intelligence/skills/knowledge, it in no way translates to the sort of general, all-purpose confidence that smooths ones way through the world, mostly because it's all undercut by a more generalized self-loathing and a certainty that I can always find a way to sabotage myself. You can't imagine how excited I am at the prospect that I will return to the world of dating again later this year.

I'm hoping I can pull off raising my five-year-old with neither these sorts of confidence issues nor a swelled head, but like Rob I'm hearing the occasional troubling negative expression lately.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:53 PM
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In other words, outspoken self-confidence to me codes as delusional, and possibly mentally ill.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:54 PM
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one's
(Don't tell me if I made any other mistakes.)


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:58 PM
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221 gets it exactly right.

And re: filing, I knew someone who was flown ~800 miles to a smallish Southern city to work for something like $8.50/hour (this was ten years ago) just to Xerox and file medical records, because the company found it cheaper to fly college students in from out of state than to try to train the local workforce.

I still find that amazing, but having now hired quite a lot of entry-level staff, I find less astonishing than I did a decade ago.

I feel like I've told this story here before.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 8:59 PM
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235: Here's a fact that sticks with me, in a bad way: Both clinical depression and suicide are strongly heritable, and the mechanism of inheritance in both cases is probably partially genetic.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:01 PM
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Me too. And I lost a sister to suicide.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:05 PM
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Self-confidence in the sense of knowing one's own mind, in trying to extend the reach for (let's be honest) probably not greatness but high competence, that's pretty cheap-- it gets on other people's nerves, but it's what you need to keep moving. It's totally compatible with self-hate, though. So you can get the disadvantages of both-- scorn from the rest of the world, and only a few comforting illusions about yourself.

Finding the mean between humility and arrogance from solipsistic balancing act to high drama with parenting, because there's not much feedback unless you really mess it up.

While sunny people who love themselves and others are truly delightful in person, it doesn't translate into prose all that well. Maybe poetry or song. Stetsasonic seems pretty cheerful. So does Li Bai.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:13 PM
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You can't imagine how excited I am at the prospect that I will return to the world of dating again later this year.

You don't have to return to dating until you want to. For about the same amount of effort, you could develop more skills for being single.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:20 PM
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Leechblock really does work wonders, guys. I totes did work this afternoon instead of participating in this conversation.

But back to Megan's 145. See how that worked? Megan responded to my confession of dabbling in self-loathing with some very nice statements about me. These statements made me feel better, on an afternoon when I was doubting my competence. Praise does work on me, but it feels fundamentally wrong to be giving praise to myself. Meanwhile, compliment-fishing (which is not what my 141 was; it was an attempt at humor) also feels wrong and is annoying to the fished. So, if we were all more forthcoming in our praise for each other, much less compliment-fishing would be necessary, and we could feel better about ourselves because we know that others are regularly establishing that we have positive traits.

The shink keeps trying to tell me—in her oblique, "I'm just going to suggest this idea" way—that it is possible to believe that you have positive qualities even if you don't have outside observers who periodically verbally reaffirm the existence of those qualities, and that it is possible to think good thoughts about yourself without being "arrogant". These seem like nice-sounding, pie-in-the-sky theories to me.

I jest. Sort of.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:23 PM
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What feels wrong about giving praise to yourself, precisely?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:27 PM
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skills for being single

But I thought you were against self-abuse?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:27 PM
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242: If the years before my marriage taught me anything, it's that I have plenty of skill at being single.

Oh, "for".


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:29 PM
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Actually, although I'm interested in your answer, I have to run out the door, so I shouldn't have started asking new things.

Later!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:30 PM
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Oh, and two more thoughts:

1. Grad school is a highly effective decimator of the self-confidence. You spend your 20s working on a problem that very few people give a shit about. You continually look around you and it seems like everyone at your workplace is probably as smart or smarter than you, and is definitely more focused than you. You realize the smallness of your "contribution to knowledge" relative to the size of the challenges in the field. You realize that even this really tiny problem is really challenging for you, and you say, "Man, this little piece of the puzzle is so puny; can I not even get it right?"

And so you go on the internet. You bitch. You then realize that there's no bitching more boring and trite than grad student bitching.

2. On another note, there's the whole "confidence is sexy" bit. To some extent, I have learned to convincingly project confidence and extroversion in select social situations. Though this confidence is not completely a charade, by no means do I feel it as deeply in my bones as I do self-doubt. And so I find the idea that people could find this confidence sexy and attractive somewhat unsettling, as it seems they are more drawn to an act than they are to me.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:39 PM
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(Don't tell me if I made any other mistakes.)

Don't feel bad. Otto said "shink".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:43 PM
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249: My mom says that when people don't have self-confidence, they have to put others down to feel good about themselves. Think about that, heebie. THINK ABOUT IT.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:45 PM
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Otto said "shink".

Perhaps not a typo?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:46 PM
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When Mr. Blandings doesn't have self-confidence, I try to put down others to help Mr. Blandings feel good about himself. Because I'm a great person.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:47 PM
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248.1: see, this is why I'm thinking it's better to go to grad school in your 30s, when you've already had your insignificance and limitations ably pointed out to you. Also, you've gained the confidence to bitch about your problems even though other people find them boring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:53 PM
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Grad school was a confidence multiplier for me, but I went to a tradeprofessional school.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 9:55 PM
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Thanks, Heebie, but you know Otto's mother is right. Also, it was totes those other kid's loss when they didn't include Otto in something.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:06 PM
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253: I've always found you significant and unlimited, Sifu.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:07 PM
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kids'
(Okay, now I feel bad.)


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:12 PM
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It figures that the shink stives for himself.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:31 PM
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Tweety, I think Otto just called you fat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:32 PM
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259: No, he just forgot the important part:

I've always found you significant and unlimited, Sifu—where it counts.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:40 PM
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260 totes belonged on standpipe's blog, didn't it? I'm having a long week, and it's only Tuesday.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:49 PM
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Just try to follow it up with a girthy weekend.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 10:57 PM
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There's an unused hilarity pool of awesome in someone starting a Girther Movement claiming that Obama is hung like, oh, I dunno, a camel or something. Go team go!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:01 PM
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WHERE'S THE GIRTH CERTIFICATE?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:04 PM
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He claims to be Bactrian, but I was humped only once. Totes Arabian Dromedary. SEEKRIT MUSLIM.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:10 PM
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I was once told pretty much the exact same thing at a temp job, as was another friend of mine. My conclusion? Alphabetical order must be a lot harder than it seems.

It's like you haven't seen Being John Malkovich.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-11-10 11:30 PM
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Re the original comments, short retail hours sucked for families where both parents worked, and in the case of Germany it's part of a culture that was long one of the most unfriendly towards women in the workforce. That one evening a week the stores were packed solid, same on Saturday mornings. When my parents moved to Switzerland, stores closed at 6:30. They got out of work at around six, so shopping during the week either involved calling me to buy a couple things or, more often, going across the border to France where they were open until 8PM. That and the lower prices meant big supermarkets right across every major border crossing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 12:03 AM
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Megan, I think you've misunderstood the social lubricant role self-deprecation plays, in places where it's normal. The point of being self-deprecating is that you are making jokes about a completely safe topic, since if you make jokes about someone else they might get offended, and if you make jokes about how awesome you are, they might get annoyed. But really, by being self-deprecating, you're just going for some mild banter. You don't necessarily mean anything by it. I knew a guy in high school who was popular simply because he was always constantly self-deprecating, and he was always incredibly funny while doing it.

I ran into trouble when I first moved to the West Coast because self-deprecation isn't as common there as it was on the East Coast.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 1:09 AM
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Kagan isn't gay. Which is a little disappointing to me, since I was hoping to see more homobigot butthurt.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 6:15 AM
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Right. What's gayer than being interested in men? Nothing, that's what.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 6:32 AM
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She's not gay. She's self-deprecating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 6:33 AM
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I ran into trouble when I first moved to the West Coast because self-deprecation isn't as common there as it was on the East Coast.

Anti-Semite.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 6:47 AM
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How can you say that? I deprecate Jews every chance I get.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 7:19 AM
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244: I will answer! It is wrong to give praise to yourself because you have an unconscious interest in thinking that you're a special snowflake so your self-praise is pre-tainted. And if you're not a depressive you probably overestimate how well you're doing anyway, so you should correct for that.

The best thing to do is hang out in really hard-working activist or nonprofit circles where optimism and self-confidence are heavily moralized qualities--that is, your work for the revolution is supposed to include being optimistic and self-confident because otherwise you'll mess everything up and take up your friends' valuable time by talking about your problems when your friends should be bringing about social change. This way, you can both pretend to feel optimistic and self-confident and feel ashamed and guilty that this is not your actual, natural state. The best of both worlds! Plus, you can then feel heavily pressured to hide your problems!

(You know, if we could just discuss food for a while, this thread would be a perfect miniature replica of Unfogged and we could stick it in a time capsule so that the future would know what we did here.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 7:33 AM
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This way, you can both pretend to feel optimistic and self-confident and feel ashamed and guilty that this is not your actual, natural state.

"Remember, Marge, it's not what you feel like on the inside, it's what you look like on the outside that counts."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 7:54 AM
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274.1: But what's so terrible about getting your self-assessment wrong? If the distance between your self-assessment is too great, then maybe you'll make major life decisions on false information, but what's the harm in thinking (for example) that you're 20% more attractive than you really are?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 8:20 AM
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Kagan isn't gay.

Well then, I'm much less flummoxed by the WH reaction. Tangentially, my ex-wife Elena and our son Keegan both think that Elena Kagan has a great name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 8:21 AM
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What feels wrong about giving praise to yourself, precisely?

Receiving evidence to the contrary makes you feel a lot more of a stupid jerk than if you hadn't praised yourself?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 8:42 AM
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The pain you cause other people magically disappears if you go easy on yourself.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 8:45 AM
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276: If you think you're 20% more attractive than you actually are, you'll feel entitled to 20% more dates/positive feedback/whatever than you actually get. Then you risk turning into one of those nice-guyTM (or other-gendered equivalent) types who's always whining in an entitled manner about how women/men/people are so selfish and have such high expectations which is why they don't go out with you.

Plus other people will pity you in an "you mean she doesn't know how she looks? no wonder she's always after people who are out of her league" way. (Much of my personal life is arranged to avoid pity from my contemporaries. Maybe I get a lot of pity from the internet, but at least I don't have to see it in your eyes.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:16 AM
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Thinking oneself is great is not the same as evaluating oneself as great, trait by trait, and coming up with an A+.

Thinking that you are great is an intrinsic statement about your worth as a person. That doesn't mean that you have any over-inflated or under-inflated opinions on your characteristics.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:20 AM
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Thanks, heebie. I liked what lw wrote in 279, too.

I'd also say that you can tell different stories about anyone, emphasizing failure or emphasizing wonderfulness. They're both equally true, if someone has failures and successes. Since you're choosing between equally true stories, my theory is that you should go with the one that gives you a higher quality of life. I'm a deep believer in setting up the conditions that lead to a high quality of life.

(This is conflating low self-regard and self-deprecation again, which is a risk in this conversation.)

But look, don't say anything harsher about yourself than you would to a child in your care. If you wouldn't tell a four year old that her painting was crap, don't say it about you. If you would say that you liked the yellow part and you think the next painting will be even better, think that about your own work. You can do that without abandoning a critical evaluation of your work (not negative-critical, assessing-critical).

And for god's sake, don't say harsh shit about yourself out loud, forcing the other person to take on the caring role that you don't do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:31 AM
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278 and 280 - But I don't see the problem of people overestimating themselves very often. I almost never see it. But I often see what is going on here, which is freaking amazing people who have no idea how impressive and great they are.

I'll worry about false positives when I start seeing some. In the meantime, the other problem, people scourging themselves unnecessarily is causing baseless and gratuitous misery.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:36 AM
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Which is all the more infuriating because there is real misery out there. And people adding made-up misery because they want to think themselves a bit shit for some strange fetish is insulting to people who can't avoid their misery.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:39 AM
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don't say anything harsher about yourself than you would to a child in your care

Didn't I just tell me not to do the very thing I just did? AGAIN? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? Christ almighty, talking to me is like talking to a goddamn brick wall.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:39 AM
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I don't see the problem of people overestimating themselves very often.

Megan has not been paying attention to the news.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:40 AM
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I know you can't avoid your mental tics, so that's all an oversimplification. If you have a hole where your self-appreciation should be, that can't be fixed by logic. But really. There's going to be a lifetime allotment of grief and hurt. Why add to it by also piling on with self-flagellation? Especially if you are also neato people with enviable careers and beautiful families and great charm and wit and small talents besides. Cut that out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:42 AM
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Cut that out.

Depending on the "that" being cut, it sounds much worse than self-flagellation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:44 AM
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See

And for god's sake, don't say harsh shit about yourself out loud, forcing the other person to take on the caring role that you don't do.

just makes it worse, because if I am in such a horrible headspace that I do say something negative about myself, I have just made another mistake.

I just broke up with a friend (no, a regular friend) in large part because he saw any form of talking about problems as a huge weakness and an infringement on his autonomy and would move to shut me up as rapidly as possible. I got to feeling so guilty about having problems and in so much unease from feeling that I could not mention them that I could no longer bear his company. This way, he doesn't have to caretake! And I don't feel guilty for being worried about, say, the sexual assault in our community or my demoralization at work!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:48 AM
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282.4: But are you sure that's what they're doing? In some parts of the country, being self-deprecating is just a form a small talk. If I say something self-deprecating, and the other person starts sincerely correcting me, I think it's weird.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:48 AM
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Didn't I just tell me not to do the very thing I just did? AGAIN? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? Christ almighty, talking to me is like talking to a goddamn brick wall.

I can't stop laughing at this. It's like someone's been taping me yelling at my kids.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:48 AM
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And then! If you're like, but what I really want is for people to like me, so I self-deprecate to appease them, then you should think directly about the problem of getting people to like you. There are other solutions (like being openly amazing, so that you can get into the circles of people who like that because they know they're great), and those solutions are more fun, so they win.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:49 AM
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But, Megan, my gift for self-deprecation is my only admirable trait.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:49 AM
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Self-deprecation isn't self-hatred, or self-loathing. It's just taking a slightly wry, amused, and realistic look at one's own foibles. Thinking oneself a bit shit, and everyone else a bit shit, is perfectly compatible with a generally relaxed and anxiety free life.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:49 AM
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269: Hmm. Seems like I know some lesbians who dated and even married men in their younger days.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:54 AM
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I like to self-deprecate, but I'm really not very good at it. It's pretty awful. I mean, like, shit, there I go again. Fuck-up.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:57 AM
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Kagan isn't gay.

The linked article isn't definitive. She could have been one of those straight-until-graduation types.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 9:59 AM
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She could be gay when those people aren't around.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:04 AM
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Maybe she's gay only during months without an 'r' in them. (Insert bad joke involving oyster.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:08 AM
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It's only gay if you do it in port.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:08 AM
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In a storm.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:09 AM
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Which port?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:09 AM
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It's only gay if you dock your own port up against another port.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:11 AM
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Any port.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:11 AM
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Elena Kagan would only have a threesome with two men, not with a man and another woman. Because she's a lesbian.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:11 AM
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285: I actually do talk to myself like that.

And now I feel like an idiot having assumed the gay rumors were accurate. Whatever I read that said people knew Kagan's partner convinced me -- I forgot that I didn't actually have a reliable source for it. (Something creepy about having Spitzer certify you're straight, though.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:12 AM
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It's only gay if you do it in port.

What's the expression? "Port out, starboard closeted"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:12 AM
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Further to 282: I have a lot of trouble with the idea that you should not self-deprecate or do anything that forces others to caretake (unless, I presume, you're in physical/diagnosed need). It's an attitude that's very prevalent among green anarchists and the insurrectionist crowd--that everyone should strive for emotional self-sufficiency because it's unfair to put social pressure on others to cheer you up/listen to your self doubts/talk through your concerns. Everyone should do those things for him/herself, is the insurrectionist anarchist attitude. In this lies our freedom! It's the emotional equivalent of being able to survive in the wilderness eating squirrel and building shelters out of branches. There's a lot of pressure to be relentlessly positive and action-focused.

Partly, I find this boring; I like talking about people's problems and worries, and I even like saying "but you're so smart!" for the hundredth time.

Partly I feel like there's a lack of intimacy--if I don't caretake for anyone and I don't expect anyone to caretake for me, I feel that my friends have all been replaced by colleagues. It makes me realize that the definition of closeness for me isn't simply being on the same page politically or being able to have interesting conversations about books. I think that for a lot of activists, that's what closeness comes from--sustained practical conversations and shared goals. Which is all right, I guess.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:14 AM
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It's only gay if you do it in port.

Like, in a hot tub full of port? Interesting.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:14 AM
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306.last: I think he realizes that, "I don't think it is my place to say more."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:15 AM
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What ttaM says at 294. My version is, "Never fully trust anybody without a well developed sense of their own absurdity(1)." I trust myself, by and large.

(1) Especially in public life.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:15 AM
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But, I do think it isn't good that a woman can't have an overly-efficient haircut and no male partner without everybody assuming lesbian, especially given the historical tendency to separate the concepts of "power" and "femininity". That strikes me as worse than having closeted people in high office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:16 AM
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It's only gay if you do it in port.

"Behavior In Port Outs Starboard Homos"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:17 AM
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Sure, friends can and want to do a lot of caretaking for each other. But being prompted to by self-deprecation forces it onto the listener in an inauthentic way. We were talking about something else, then some self-deprecating remark forces either a compliment out of me or an assurance that I don't like you less for getting that amazing job. I'm more than happy to give compliments; shit, I'll strew them all over the internet. I'm pretty open with affection, too. But I don't like being forced into them (by conversational convention) when we were talking about other things. I wanted to hear about your job for real, not divert into your unfounded insecurity.

(Gotta run to a meeting.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:20 AM
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312: Well, right. I was tetchy about the same rumors about Janet Reno, because those were obviously malicious (which doesn't mean they're false, but the rumors were clearly driven by her appearance.) What threw me about these was that (a) I understood that they were coming from gay blogs, who I assumed weren't doing gender-role enforcement and (b) the invocation of an actual partner.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:20 AM
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Maybe she's secretly Lebanese and the whole thing was a linguistic mixup?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:21 AM
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JP in 313 finds the joke I was fumbling for in 307. God, I suck. This is why I hate my life.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:23 AM
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I'm sure the Republicans would embrace her if they realized she was from Lebanon.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:23 AM
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Maybe she's secretly Lebanese and the whole thing was a linguistic mixup?

If so: boy, is Marty Peretz going to have egg on his face!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:24 AM
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She could be the Casey Kasem of supreme court justices!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:25 AM
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Jinkies!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:26 AM
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317: But you like understand how the *universe* works and shit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:26 AM
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Anyhow, this is a relief because one aging lesbian on the Supreme Court is enough. We can consider another one when Anthony Kennedy retires.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:29 AM
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320: Or the Ralph Nader. If so, boy are those whiny leftists going to have egg on their faces!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:29 AM
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311 is close to my understanding. A little self-deprecation indicates security to me, and excessive confidence always feels like an act. It's like the person is trying to convince themselves of their awesomeness by convincing me. Self deprecation can certainly be begging for reassurance, but the kind of person who does that tends to radiate insecurity anyway. Much more common in my circle is self deprecation that's just a part of being close and secure enough to joke about personal stuff. Being reassured in those circumstances sends a strong message that the person I'm talking to doesn't understand me, thinks I'm weak, and views me as a problem to be solved rather than a person to connect with. If you can't acknowledge your flaws in front of someone without it being a big production they aren't your friend.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:31 AM
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What ttaM says at 294. My version is, "Never fully trust anybody without a well developed sense of their own absurdity(1)."

Right, and I'm the first to say I run around town in a singlet adjusting lawn sprinklers. (Actually, I think I was about a minute behind LB saying that.) But you can do that from a base of saying "I'm great, like everyone is great." as readily as you can from a base of "I have to convey my flaws, lest people think me full of myself."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:39 AM
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Perhaps this can be clarified post-meeting:

See, I tend to read this

Sure, friends can and want to do a lot of caretaking for each other. But being prompted to by self-deprecation forces it onto the listener in an inauthentic way.

as "I'll be glad to give you compliments or take care of you, provided that it's my idea and not prompted by something that you need or ask for."


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:44 AM
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I didn't mean saying out loud, I'm great, like everyone is great. I meant, believing in mutual greatness and going on from there to make jokes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:44 AM
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Mutual Greatness is what I'm going to call the insurance company that I've always dreamed of starting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:47 AM
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Oh, meeting didn't happen.

as "I'll be glad to give you compliments or take care of you, provided that it's my idea and not prompted by something that you need or ask for."

That's not how it has to be. There are authentic ways to prompt someone for caretaking, like asking directly for it. I loved the way rfts's household has learned to say "Praise me!" when that's what they need. Or, an attentive person might read body language and realize it is time to shift to caretaking.

But I don't like coy little fakes in the wrong direction as a means for getting fixed responses out of the listener.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:49 AM
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321: Velma really is out, though.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:50 AM
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But I don't like coy little fakes in the wrong direction as a means for getting fixed responses out of the listener.

Okay, if that's what you think of self-deprecation, the people deprecating themselves are doing it wrong. If I comment on my abysmal organizational skills to humorous effect, it's not to be reassured about them. If anything, it's a signal that "You may give me shit about this, I've accepted it as a fact about myself."

Coy little fakes to elicit reassurance sound awful, but that's not self-deprecation. Or not most of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:56 AM
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331: In the new Scooby Doo, Velma is stacked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:59 AM
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333: It's Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks, right? I bought a tshirt at a pride parade that said VELMA POWER.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:01 AM
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334: I have no idea. I'm just saying the new Velma is clearly drawn by somebody who is going for 'not lesbian' or 'lesbian for porn for men.'


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:03 AM
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In the new Scooby Doo, Velma is entirely hotter than Daphne, which was a little disorienting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:04 AM
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Oh, I was talking about the latest live-action movie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:05 AM
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Velma has always been stacked, she's just modest. Sigh, is everything sacrificed to hookup culture today?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:05 AM
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331: But she hooked up with Seth Green in the live-action movies! (Maybe she has a little Willow/Buffy subtext going on with Daphne.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:10 AM
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332 - Hmm. There are the times when it is a conversational diversion, and what I consider an annoying prompt.

There are also the times when it is a genuine window into people's insecurity, which is even more of a waste when it comes from amazing people.

Then you're proposing another kind, of basically secure riffing on flaws? You mean like using messy reports as your banner instead of the drop of water plus ripples? Sure. But like I said before, you can do that from believing you're great, then going on to be silly. I think that system has benefits that recommend it over a system of thinking you and everyone else are "a bit shit."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:16 AM
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In a Scooby Doo comic we recently picked up, Velma is wearing a two piece bathing suit on the cover, and the artist was clearly using Linda Cardellini (of Freaks and Geeks and the live action SD movies) as a model. Inside the comic, Velma is drawn in her regular modest-but-possibly-stacked fashion.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:16 AM
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It's only gay if you do it in port.

What about in a butt of malmsey?


Posted by: palau | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 11:53 AM
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Then you're proposing another kind, of basically secure riffing on flaws?

Well, that's what I said in 128. I wasn't talking about the thinnest girl in the group whining "oh, I'm so fat" so her cronies will all tell her what a lovely figure she has, which is the sort of thing you seem to be thinking of. I was thinking more of me posting on facebook that I was an idiot for cutting a hole in my tent.

Togolosh's 325 makes sense for me.

I don't think most people are great. But I'm quite happy to love my friends with all their stupid ways and irritating faults - ffs, I go on bloody communal hostel holidays with them - and you know exactly who is going to annoy you how, and whose kids are going to drive you mental at least once. And if they thought I was just "great" without any reservations, I'd think they were totally vacuous.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 2:38 PM
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I would say: people talk for entertainment, not for srious. It could be i have nothing to brag about, but i mostly enjoy saying absurdly good things about myself and as well as embarrassing flaws. being awesome is just a coïncedence, not the reason to love yourself.

so i mostly agree with megan, though i think wrapping yourself in a coat of transgressive squalor lets not being good enough be fun too.

I like reading Romance books. I want to be a superhero. only speak sincerely if you are using numbers.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 05-12-10 10:39 PM
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Hmm. There are the times when it is a conversational diversion, and what I consider an annoying prompt.

If I'm reading you right, you're referring to the fishing-for-compliments thing here. There is also the "Oh, that was no big deal" self-deprecation which can mean, "No, really, that sounds more impressive than it actually is," which is often true and an honest thing to say. Or it can mean "Yes, I know. It's terribly impressive, but I'm sick of talking about it."

Personally, I do a lot of "Oh man, I am such a klutz" or "God, I'm a scatterbrain" which does not mean I am feeling horribly insecure so much as I found it pretty amusing how a stumbled, and in trying to catch myself on the table knocked over the glass of wine which then broke in my hand as I tried to catch it or how I finally found my car keys in the ice-cube bin in my freezer. I'm a lovable dork, awesomely so, but I'm not afraid to embrace my true dorkitude.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 1:58 PM
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In fact, I now posit that people who are unable to self-deprecate are clearly the insecure ones.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 2:00 PM
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Okay, skimming back up the thread, I see I've been thoroughly pwned. And you know what? I'm okay with that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 2:03 PM
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