Re: What a shit I've been.

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This post reeks of privilege.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:24 AM
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I had my Mexican write it. I'll whip her immediately.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:26 AM
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2: Let HP do it. They have to be carefully taught.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:27 AM
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You do kinda do the thing in the last paragraph that you complain about in the first few paragraphs.

Well, your Mexican did that thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:27 AM
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As soon as I hit 'post', I felt uncomfortable with the joke in 2. I just want everyone to know the civil war that rages inside me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:28 AM
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4: Liberals are often cleverly ironic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:29 AM
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Actually, I don't quite get why the last paragraph is so meta. Because I'm criticizing a group that I'm a part of because they constantly criticize their own selves? But I'm saying that the nature of liberal self-criticism is a total downer. Whereas I'm being upbeat and charming.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:31 AM
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5: Go Bad Heebie!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:32 AM
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Let me guess: the Americans who read this crap, who even give a shit about the issues, are not the ones who are consistently overeating OR the ones who are obese because they can't afford proper food.

Why should anybody who lives in a city of more than 100k know the name of a fucking farmer? I know the name of my greengrocer, thank you.

Tell me it's satire.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:33 AM
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I'm Catholic, so I'm used to guilt. I do know the names of dozens of farmers, and the kids of most of them. If every one of those farmers wasn't engaged in the whole "1000 acres of corn/beans to feed huge numbers of cows and pigs" thing, I'd be perfectly un-food-privileged.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:36 AM
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What an incredibly stupid and smug article. Yes, by all means, let me try to eat in accord with its principles. I would guess it would require a couple hundred miles of extra driving per week to find food that meets its standards. And that wouldn't have any adverse environmental impact at all, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:37 AM
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"Rebecca Thistlewaite grew up in Oregon with berry fields on one side and suburbs pressing up against the other side. She studied Natural Resources Management at Colorado State University and International Agricultural Development at UC Davis. After apprenticing on a half-dozen farms around the West, she studied crop biodiversity and indigenous agriculture in Central America, worked with beginning farmers in Salinas, CA, for many years, and then started her own farm with her husband six years ago. Now she consults on sustainability in the food system, runs a pasture-based animal operation, attempts to raise a family, and goes hiking and trail running whenever she can fit it in. She blogs at http://www.honestmeat.com/."

Can you imagine their wedding?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:40 AM
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attempts to raise a family

But they keep hiding from her.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:42 AM
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Perhaps they've fled to those suburbs, pressed up so ominously against the farm.

Looking at that website is activating every mean bone in my body. They also appear to be hipsters. It's the perfect storm of smug.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:44 AM
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I really like organic/local etc., but during my recent period of grinding poverty (over now, thanks), I fell out of all and any good eating habits I'd ever acquired. The pat social-science theory that jibed most with my experience was the hierarchy of needs chart. Until you feel fed and somewhat relaxed about paying your bills until the next cycle, there is just no way that you can heed the suggestion of maybe eating less but better. And eating in such a way as to express your "values" is way up there at the top of the pyramid, probably as a form of self-actualization.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:49 AM
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I'm sorry, this is a Space for self-loathing pessimists to be ourselves. Check your privilege at the door.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:50 AM
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When i read the article yesteryda, i mostly thought of the extra driving (or hours of sweaty biking) it would involve. And also how i sort of dislike too much artisan/personal relationship with my brewer/date grower/oregano rancher and would really just like to buy stuff at one, efficient impersonal megamart, as long as the people there were unionized. I like the smug attitude.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:56 AM
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I bought two zucchini and a baking pumpkin at a farmers market on Friday. I'm good now, if I actually eat them. Mainly, I was going to the liquor store and I just had to walk through the market.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:05 AM
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Posts like the one linked are why I stopped reading Grist at all.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:10 AM
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The Grist used to be nicer and more funny back when Ogged was there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:11 AM
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No one is more pitiable than the modern conservative. It's a whole movement dedicated to whiny self-pity.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:18 AM
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Here's a tip for the author: Your message would be more effective if you didn't piss off your target audience right out of the gate.

Perhaps you aren't her target audience. This is like telling a hellfire and brimstone preacher that their message would have wider appeal if it was toned down. This foodie stuff is basically a religious cult and some people like their religion strong.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:31 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:42 AM
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I'm no engineeratarian, mind you, but Shearer is making sense.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:44 AM
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I like my women like my religion, strong and protected by the 1st Amendment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:46 AM
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Yes! I'm terrible! I'm not changing the food system—I'm a shit! I'm a maggot! I love it!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:56 AM
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I'm not going to pay a lot for this mango!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:02 AM
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Let's slow down a bit. If we couldn't run the "privilege" reel through the tape machine, what would liberals accuse one another of? How would we do our collective-farming-debate-scene-in-Land and Freedom-cosplay?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:12 AM
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Shorter that article:

"Hey rubes! You think your lifestyle is swipple? You don't know from swippleness. This is what you would do if you're really dedicated to your swippleness!"

It's all lifestyle advice and has so little to do with politics. That's the problem with that whole "priviledge" thing all the cool kids are self criticising themselves about: it's still about you and the state of your soul rather than actually changing something.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:19 AM
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Moreover, that whole article wants people to embrace a lifestyle that's unsustainable in the modern world. We can't all eat nice, organic seasonal local foods: there are too many of us.

So it's either not so nice wholesome food or genocide.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:22 AM
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You watched Food, Inc. with your mouth aghast. You own a few cookbooks.

I haven't seen the movie, and I own slightly more than "a few" cookbooks, so I decided from the beginning she wasn't talking about me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:24 AM
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Most of the first page of google hits for "mouth aghast" are this article. That's not really an acceptable phrase, is it?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:26 AM
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29: I don't disagree, but that criticism can be extended: the accusation of "privilege" often seems to me an undeservedly meta line of attack in place of a counterargument or less Stalinist aesthetic approach (envious Internet critics of every novel or film ever made, I am looking at your side of the auditorium).


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:26 AM
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That's not really an acceptable phrase, is it?

Presumably a mistake for "mouth agape".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:30 AM
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Presumably a mistake for "mouth agape".

New Testament Greek didn't actually make much of a distinction between erotic love and loving-kindness.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:32 AM
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I'm going back to low carb starting tomorrow. And thinking about buying half a bison.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:40 AM
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29 -- I can see how a number of Americans would become so disillusioned with the political process that they'd decide that their only avenue for changing society is individual consumption choices.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:50 AM
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29: It's all lifestyle advice and has so little to do with politics. That's the problem with that whole "priviledge" thing all the cool kids are self criticising themselves about: it's still about you and the state of your soul rather than actually changing something.

I'm not sure I agree in the case of that article; sure, it's preachy, but actually changing your behavior in the suggested ways changes the nature of consumption, which in theory changes the economics of farming practice if done widely enough. (The article is viewing the individual actor as consumer-citizen rather than as, say, voter.)

Or, what Charley said.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 11:06 AM
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I can see how a number of Americans would become so disillusioned with the political process that they'd decide that their only avenue for changing society is individual consumption choices.

In living memory at least, these people are best known as "realists".

The last serious attempt through the political process died in about '73, and we all know now what the effort:reward for that looks like in practice.


Posted by: Earnest Ness | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 11:53 AM
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I can see how a number of Americans would become so disillusioned with the political process that they'd decide that their only avenue for changing society is individual consumption choices.

In living memory at least, these people are best known as "realists".

The last serious attempt through the political process died in about '73, and we all know now what the effort:reward for that looks like in practice.


Posted by: Earnest Ness | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 11:53 AM
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I have multiple friends who have posted this article non-snarkily on Facebook. And then other people commenting on the links saying things that include the phrase "assumption of privilege".


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:05 PM
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39.2.1; 40.2.1 -- Pish posh. Or, have you been living in a cave?

39.2.2; 40.2.2 -- Well, thinking it would be easy was pretty stupid. And those whining about how hard it is -- hey, why don't the people making fortunes from the status quo just quit, not that we've pointed out that it's not universally positive -- are almost as pitiable as modern conservatism and it's whining about how everything going to hell in a handbasket. Because those Liberal meanies (and their vast media empire) won't let us fire (on) gays/shoot wolves/shoot Muslims/etc.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:06 PM
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not = now


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:07 PM
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Luckily I don't need to worry about any of this, because I already spend at least 40% of my income on groceries which I buy from farmers whose names I know and who are also my drinking buddies. We only drink whiskey made from organic rye out of artisanal hand-blown fair trade glasses that we get at local craft fairs. While we're drinking we trade witty but important remarks about our general superiority to the rest of the shitty, shitty people, and laugh, and pour ourselves some more whiskey. Life is pretty great when you just follow the instructions in the article.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:07 PM
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Hey, EM, did you see the msla.com art. on the Boz. whiskey op.?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:10 PM
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Privilege-discourse weirds me out. As I understand the concept, it's useful and non-accusatory: I'm a white person, raised UMC and with an UMC education. That means that I'm going to get treated differently, and better, than someone without those characteristics even if I don't do a thing wrong: 'privilege' is the sum of the ways a racist and classist system benefits me in ways that aren't my fault. The point of bringing it up isn't to blame me for anything, but to call my attention to the injustices in society that are hard for me to see because they're mostly not inflicted on me.

But it gets slung around in an accusatory manner, as if it was possible to divest oneself of one's various levels of privilege, and blameworthy not to have done so. And this doesn't make sense to me: having one UMC white person calling another 'privileged' in any sense other than for the purpose of pointing out a particular oversight due to that privilege seems to really misunderstand the concept.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:12 PM
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45: Boz w. op w/e k 0.5 y, CC.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:14 PM
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46- in my experience, the accusation is usually that people aren't being aware of the privilege they are benefitting from, and are neglecting to consider that not everyone so benefits, not that they are culpable for experiencing it. (this still gets over- and misused in irritating ways)

45- no, but I'm very impressed with how many abbreviations you put in that question


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:17 PM
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"Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Jim's wife, grew up on the suburban edge of Portland, Oregon."

5 bucks says Lake Oswego.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:18 PM
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http://www.montanawhiskey.com/whiskey/welcome


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:22 PM
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One irritating aspect of some of the larger progressive/feminist blogs is the number of commenters who are apparently unable to complete a sentence without using the word privilege.

It's a basically useful and accurate notion that's been horribly over/mis used. Sort of like "objectify".

But that's probably my privilege talking.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:22 PM
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have you tried it?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:23 PM
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(52 was to 50)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:23 PM
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49: Could be, but I thought Beaverton first. I'm guessing not Tonya Hardingville east county.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:25 PM
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Not yet. I'm not much or a liquor drinker. Sounds pretty good though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:26 PM
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Looks pretty spendy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:27 PM
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On Privilege: I happened to visit last night, for the first time, a large and well-known artists'-studio building that was formerly a seed company plant. Upon perusing the list of tenants, I was struck by the fact that the largest plurality of the hundreds of artists there were painters. This being a fairly well-to-do and culturally-heightened metropolis, there are many other such buildings, and of course many individual ateliers. And it made me wonder: What happens to all these fucking paintings? If all of these artists are cranking out paintings at even a moderate rate -- say a couple finished pieces a month for the UMC hobbyist -- there must be piles and piles of paintings squirreled away all over the place. Even the people I've known who buy paintings from artists on a regular basis purchase perhaps only a couple per year. It's mind-boggling. [I'm taking it as a given that all the paintings are not being loaded into trucks and shipped off to painter-deprived areas in South Dakota or wherever.]

My suspicion, of course, is that the vast majority of these "painters" are essentially just dilletantes who can afford $1,000/month in expenses to convince themselves that their jobs in marketing and finance don't actually define them. Even though, really, they do, because actual artists rarely have $1,000/month to blow on studio space.

This society is so fucked up.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:32 PM
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54: Oh, yeah, I though Beaverton too. But I never miss a chance to throw Lake Big Ego under the bus.

Probably, (all kidding aside) east of Hillsboro and west of Beaverton.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:32 PM
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The article didn't really live up to my expectations of awfulness. I thought the real audience for the article is revealed in the comments -- its page after page of "That's right! This is what Americans need to hear!" (plus an inexplicable tangent on how we have outsource jobs to China because Americans are so fat). There's no sense that the article is aimed at anyone who would actually read it. The audience imagines that they are the ranter, and that they are participating vacariously in the Great Unwashed finally getting the talking-to they deserve.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:33 PM
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Yes, the dilettantes and hipsters from semi-affluent backgrounds are just so annoying. How does one cope?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:34 PM
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One irritating aspect of some of the larger progressive/feminist blogs is the number of commenters who are apparently unable to complete a sentence without using the word privilege.

Where else is Whitey supposed to get a piece of the moral superiority action so essential to the economy of grudge and dudgeon?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:39 PM
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I had a studio in an old factory when I lived in the Twin Cities! And I made paintings in it! Mine was in an ex spice factory, though, and my share of the rent was under $100/month. That place was so great. It had the kind of elevator where you manually close the doors and then hold the button down until you get where you're going.

Anyway, Natilo, tell all my dilettante friends hi if you see them again.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:41 PM
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What happens to all these fucking paintings?

They're stacked against the wall upstairs. They leave the house a couple of times a year for a show, then they come back. Why do you ask?

You made me laugh, Natilo. The generator of paintings and sculptures in this house doesn't have a separate studio, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:43 PM
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The audience imagines that they are the ranter, and that they are participating vacariously in the Great Unwashed finally getting the talking-to they deserve.

Much art is like this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:46 PM
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The other annoying thing about priviledge discourse is the idea that its bad to be privileged. what we should want is for everyone to be free of fear of rapey catcallers or be free to marry who they want or whatever.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:49 PM
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they are participating vacariously

With cow-like placidity?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:50 PM
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The article didn't really live up to my expectations of awfulness. I thought the real audience for the article is revealed in the comments -- its page after page of "That's right! This is what Americans need to hear!" (plus an inexplicable tangent on how we have outsource jobs to China because Americans are so fat). There's no sense that the article is aimed at anyone who would actually read it. The audience imagines that they are the ranter, and that they are participating vacariously in the Great Unwashed finally getting the talking-to they deserve.

AKA a 'sermon'


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:51 PM
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wait, why are dilettantes bad?

much better than the wankers who think there should be strong IP so they can earn the income they 'deserve' from their art hobby "career".


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:55 PM
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To 46, I'd say 48.1 gets it right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:55 PM
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AKA a 'sermon'....

If only the Internet had a liturgical year!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 12:56 PM
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Flippanter, you've been casting a hairy eyeball at discussion of privilege for a while now. Does the distinction LB sketches in 46 make a difference? Your remark at 28 upthread, for example, suggests that you read the 'privilege reel' almost exclusively in terms of accusation that privileged people are culpable for their enjoyment, but do you find room for seeing the observation in less accusatory terms?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:05 PM
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71: I'd say that any discussion of privilege that doesn't specify what the person identified as privileged is failing to see or address comes off as dismissively accusatory, and I do see that too much.

Calling someone non-specifically privileged can work if you're explaining why you don't have the time/energy/attention/interest to engage with them, but if you're trying to talk to them you need to explain how you see their privilege operating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:13 PM
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And it made me wonder: What happens to all these fucking paintings?

Way to fucking depress a painter, Natilo.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:16 PM
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IME, where it's not an accusation, it's an invitation to play a losing game of misery poker.

The word is useless: if you think my ideas of city design (eg that I don't like streetlights) are too dangerous for people unlike me (eg women) it's a whole lot more effective to say 'you know, a lot of women feel safer with streetlights, and for good reason' than 'you're privileged, a dickhead, and why should anyone care about your preferences.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:18 PM
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Pwned. You people privileged with faster typing, or with sufficient attention spans to click preview make me sick.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:19 PM
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[D]o you find room for seeing the observation in less accusatory terms?

More or less as stated by LB, in theory, yes, but in practice it seems little more than banging the table when the law and the facts are unfavorable or too complex to argue in blog-time. And the affliction of the aesthetic sphere drives me to despair: counting reviews in the NYT and female cast members on SNL, to think of a couple of recent examples, just don't seem different in kind from flipping pages scanning for dirty or un-American words.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:20 PM
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39/40 is roughly correct but badly emphasized; our impact as an (American) consumer outstrips our impact as voters, and is a much more immediate vehicle for change.


Posted by: Lester D. Pott | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:21 PM
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Hey, speaking of paintings and, uh, other stuff we talked about recently, there's an exhibit from The Gaganheim just down the street from me right now. Get it? Gaganheim. Oh, man.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:27 PM
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Further to 76, I should add that I am not unaware of the edifice of privilege that allows me luxuries like reading for pleasure.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:32 PM
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Duh, of course you as an individual are not single-handedly changing the food system. If you really want to have an impact, you're gonna need some engineers.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:34 PM
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76: So anyone actually looking for evidence of sexism bothers you?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:35 PM
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74 etc- I don't think it's useless. I think it is overused, and misused, in annoying ways, a bunch of the time. But I think it's generally a good thing to examine assumptions and whatnot before (eg) designing cities, and I think city designers (eg) can and should be expected to assume that not all city dwellers are straight white able-bodied men, and alter their plans accordingly.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:37 PM
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81: The question assumes that what is sought and found is evidence.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:37 PM
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Where else is evidence going to come from? We give everyone in Hollywood and at the New York Times lie-detector tests?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:42 PM
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72 and 74 makes utter sense.

76: I'm mulling over the possibility that you're noticing those cases as egregious (and high-profile) ones and generalizing widely without noticing that there are tons of other cases involving a discussion and exploration of privilege that don't actually use the term, so your radar doesn't go off. I'm not sure.

Conclusion! Don't use the term 'privilege.'

The article linked the OP doesn't use or revert to the term, I don't think, but errs regardless, despite explaining in gory detail just what the writer finds problematic, and providing suggestions to address the problems. An issue of tone. Basically, the burden of proof has shifted, and defensiveness over observations of privilege is strong enough that one must be very careful.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:44 PM
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Don't use the term 'privilege.'

Also, avoid the term "frogurt."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:45 PM
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And don't describe your bowel movements at dinner, even if you have real health concerns, no insurance, and are speaking to a doctor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:51 PM
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Where else is evidence going to come from? We give everyone in Hollywood and at the New York Times lie-detector tests?

Isn't it a tenet of the sexism (or privilege, as noted above)-hunting class that much, if not most, sexism (or privilege) is unconscious?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:51 PM
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85: I actually think it's a useful term, when being used non-accusatorily, and that people who perceive it as always and only accusatory should step back and think about it each time they see it used. What weirds me out is that such a useful concept seems to get abused so much, both by people using it as a club and by people overreacting to reasonable use.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:52 PM
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88: Isn't that completely and obviously true?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 1:56 PM
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I truly don't understand what you're getting at in 88, Flippanter. Could you draw the connections more explicitly?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:02 PM
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Why should anybody who lives in a city of more than 100k know the name of a fucking farmer? I know the name of my greengrocer, thank you.

I don't even know their names. They recognize me and vice versa, but that's about it. I guess that's also true of some of the greenmarket folks who are farmers, but that's in their function as local urban retailers, not as farmers.

and:

# Sweat on a farm sometime. # Participate in the death of an animal that you consume.

Ummh, why? Should I also participate in cement manufacturing and weaving; work in steel mills and stove factories?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:02 PM
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91: I think he's making a joke that since it's subconscious it won't show up on lie-detector tests. I'm having trouble understanding his broader argument, though.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:05 PM
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Me too. I think I'm hung up back at the comparison (analogy!) between censoring swear words and wanting more female comics.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:06 PM
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# Participate in the death of an animal that you consume.

To really get the most of it, make sure the process of death isn't too quick for the animal.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:07 PM
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90, 91: I do not dispute the existence of sexism, or the un- or subconsciousness of a great deal of it, but calling the results of an exercise like counting NYT reviews "evidence" seems a bit strong, considering how limited the investigation is (in scope and, perhaps more relevantly, intent: the counters weren't seeking anything but sexism) and how inchoate the offense. (Who would be the offender, anyway? A particular editor? The editorial establishment generally? The System?) It's more like one of those television statistics like "top third-quarter RB yardage in the red zone in November on future playoff teams during the ESPN Era."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:09 PM
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I have read my fair share of tedious "the least privileged person in the room wins" arguments on the Internet, and (sadly) have even heard them in real life. It's not clear to me that the term "privilege" is practically useful, in that it seems to serve the same role that outrageous beliefs do for cults. People hate the discourse of privilege so much that immediately puts you outside the mainstream. At the same time, it makes you as a member of a particular group to other members of that group, which promotes group solidarity.

But as far as I can tell, the whole theory of "privilege" is basically true. If you're a privileged person, many aspects of how the world works are completely invisible to you. A good example here is the old thread on how women get told to smile by total strangers on the street. That this happened never would have occurred to me in a million years.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:09 PM
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I bet little dudes don't get called "big guy" like I do. I kinda hate that. "Hey big guy!" Hey what? Don't pigeonhole me. I'm perfectly normally sized on the inside.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:13 PM
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If you're a privileged person, many aspects of how the world works are completely invisible to you. A good example here is the old thread on how women get told to smile by total strangers on the street.

Agreed. The phenomenon of privilege is worth thinking about, for privileged and, I suppose, unprivileged alike, but the Passion Play could use a season off.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:15 PM
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(Who would be the offender, anyway? A particular editor? The editorial establishment generally? The System?)

This is kind of the wrong question -- the idea isn't to find someone to punish, it's to attract the attention of people with power to change a bad situation. If (a) it's true that women have a harder time getting reviewed in the NYT and (b) talking about that fact makes some NYT editor notice, and start making an effort to assign more reviews of books written by women, then the discussion was fruitful even if the person who takes action toward fixing the problem was completely and totally innocent of any wrongdoing ever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:19 PM
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how inchoate the offense

But exactly this is what makes looking at clear numerical indices of inequality useful. If you're starting off with the assumption "There's no inherent reason women shouldn't be as good at [pursuit X] as men," and you nevertheless are seeing numbers that would indicate women just aren't getting to high positions in X, then you know that there is further investigation to be done into what is going on.

Are you going to get clear answers? Are you going to be able to 'solve' the inequality in a quick and easy way? Of course not. But that doesn't mean no one should point out the disparities. Where else are you going to start?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:19 PM
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I hate the way that city designers design cities only with able-bodied white men with tiny penises in mind. If you have an enormous schlong like myself, getting around can be quite inconvenient.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:20 PM
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To put 100 another way, if sexism is largely unconscious, then efforts to avoid sexism must be conscious. The counting exercise is a way of trying to figure out if that's happening.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:20 PM
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how inchoate the offense

C'mon, it's a rebuilding year!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:22 PM
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...the idea isn't to find someone to punish....

I would dispute this out of cynicism about human nature in our fallen world, where the idea is always to find somebody to punish, but I feel like I've pulled my own guilty white liberalism's pigtails enough already for one day.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:23 PM
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to find someone to punish

I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but if I don't steal a job away from a perfectly well-qualified white dude somewhere along the way, I just won't feel like my job as a feminist has been done.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:28 PM
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See, that's what's wrong with feminism. I stole a job away from a perfectly well-qualified white dude, and I just didn't find it that satisfying.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:36 PM
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Anyway, the NYT book review example is horribly problematic in any number of ways: counting the sheer numbers of reviews of male vs. female writers doesn't as yet constitute evidence of sexism, which is what I took Flip to be suggesting in 83. What's the proportion of male to female writers? (More female than male, actually.) How many of the female writers are writing serious fiction? (A hornet's nest: what counts as serious fiction? If we agree that we can subtract those writing pulp romances, the ratio of male/female writers changes in unknown ways.) To what extent is what we count as serious fiction necessarily male-oriented in some as-yet-unspecified way? Etc.

It's a -- fascinating, to my mind -- discussion worth having, but the conversations I've had about it already stray pretty quickly from the topic of sexism per se to questions about literature, writing, criticism, publishing, our waxing and waning fascination with the Great American Novel, and so on.

It's a really messy example of what Flip's calling privilege-hunting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:40 PM
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57: What happens to all these fucking paintings?

They're all being sold on E-bay. There are literally mountains of shitty paintings and dodgy sculptures that were once bought by the Dutch government to subsidise the arts and by various corporations and such to liven up their lobbies.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 2:41 PM
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They also sell a great many paintings in the conference room of the Holiday Inn by the airport.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 3:01 PM
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110: Yabbut those are painted by unprivileged painters in art factories in China.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 3:58 PM
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I bet little dudes don't get called "big guy" like I do.

Ah, then I see you have never been sarcastically called "big guy" while walking around at the height of 5'6". I actually sassed a homeless guy once for this, which I guess is not the kind of thing you publicize, but here I am typing about it because I'm not sure why.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 4:04 PM
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98 I bet little dudes don't get called "big guy" like I do. I kinda hate that. "Hey big guy!" Hey what? Don't pigeonhole me. I'm perfectly normally sized on the inside.

Remember sometime around, oh, when I was in middle school, when the thing to do was to call people "li'l buddy"? That was the worst.

(I have been called "big guy," mostly by people much larger than me trying to sell me something or begging for money, when I think I'm sort of medium-sized.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 4:17 PM
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I read "privilege" as an euphemism for "talent".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:39 PM
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101

... If you're starting off with the assumption "There's no inherent reason women shouldn't be as good at [pursuit X] as men," ...

An assumption there is generally no evidence for and often considerable evidence against.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:41 PM
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I'd say a solid majority of the people who call me "big man" are African-American gentlemen of approximately my size. I know a fellow in the punk scene who's about 6' 8" and very solidly built who goes by "Tiny". Probably people call him "big man" a lot too though, if they don't know his ironic nickname.

To clarify: I don't hate painters. It just weirds me out that there are people who can afford something close to my mortgage payment every month to have a place to do their hobby, which they don't actually put that much time into.

102: If you have an enormous schlong like myself

Oh, that's just too funny! The other day I was chatting with my enormous schlong, and I said to him, I said, "Dude, you know who you remind me of? Walt Someguy!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:43 PM
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114: I read "privilege" as an euphemism for "talent".

Dozens of mutually frustrating JBS blog interactions on Unfogged succinctly explained.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:52 PM
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To clarify: I don't hate painters. It just weirds me out that there are people who can afford something close to my mortgage payment every month to have a place to do their hobby, which they don't actually put that much time into.

Don't worry, painters hate those people too. Even painters who are those people.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:55 PM
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I read "talent" as a euphemism for "racist"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:56 PM
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Seriously though, there is no part of contemporary American conservative thought that makes sense unless you assume an underlying bedrock of white supremacism. It just doesn't hold up.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 7:58 PM
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I used to read "racist" as a euphemism for "large breasted," but after one really awkward conservation with a co-worker, I'll never make that mistake again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 8:01 PM
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I have to say tho', that if you believe in buying local, organic food, etc, then most of those points are pretty unarguable. That's why I don't believe in buying local/organic/etc.

(Well, apart from those things that are just pleas to give farmers more money, as far as I can tell. Farmers never make enough money.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:08 PM
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Er. I mean, I don't think the bits about giving farmers more money have any basis other the general feeling of farmers they ought have more money, which I don't agree with at all.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:11 PM
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Keir, small, local, organic farmers often need more money.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:47 PM
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Yes, and they can charge more. But some of those proposals go beyond that and into simple `I'd like more cash', which, well, wouldn't we all?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 9:57 PM
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Sorry, unless you know about the specific situation of the particular farmer, generalizing in that way doesn't wash. Consumers unfortunately tend to expect lower prices from organic farmers than what they need to run the farm and still provide themselves with health insurance and such things, particularly if they're a small farm. These people are not raking in money hand over fist.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:07 PM
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If I run a small business, of course I'm going to say things like `don't comparison shop', but there's no reasonable obligation on anyone to pay attention to that.

I understand that organic farming is more expensive, but partly that's because it's a less effective way of turning inputs into outputs. That's a problem for the farmer, not the consumer.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:20 PM
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it's a less effective way of turning inputs into outputs

I believe that economists talk about externalities, which I think refers to the other costs -- those would be things like depleting the soil -- that something like farming incurs. Organic farming incurs far fewer of such costs than non-organic farming does. So it's not that organic farming is more expensive because it's less efficient: it's because it's less harmful. Rather, it's less efficient because it's less harmful. That is a problem, if you want to call it that, for not just the farmer, but for all of us. I'm surprised at you.

I'm not being very clear here, partly for tiredness, and partly because I'm honestly surprised to have to try to explain this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-12-10 10:33 PM
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I read "talent" as a unit in the ancient Greek system of weights and measures, sometimes signifying a sum of money by implicitly assuming an amount of silver. Why?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 1:12 AM
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I read "a unit" as a ring element that has an inverse. Why?


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 1:57 AM
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I think you guys are reading her wrong- she is saying:

Wah wah farming is hard I need more money you need to pay more wah wah.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 11:40 AM
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I'd say a solid majority of the people who call me "big man" are African-American gentlemen of approximately my size.

Same here, because everyone who's ever done it has been a panhandler. Also true of "boss".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:10 PM
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Someone needs to bring back "chief". Also "slugger".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:15 PM
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I like to call people "champ".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:17 PM
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133: Sure thing, sport. (Okay, I admit I was watching Eureka.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:18 PM
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I actually do call people "Chief" occasionally. I approve of "Ace" and "Sport", but don't spontaneously use them myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:19 PM
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I like "coach".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:20 PM
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Also "slugger".

Because we need more domestic violence jokes lately.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:20 PM
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Get out of my mind!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:21 PM
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Lately I have the incredibly inappropriate urge to chide my students with "Relax, baby doll" as though I'm some leisure suit Vegas dude, when they're stressed out over a problem or something.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:25 PM
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Same here, because everyone who's ever done it has been a panhandler. Also true of "boss".

In my experience in NYC, "boss" has been exclusively used by cab drivers and bodega cashiers of South Asian extraction.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:29 PM
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"Relax, baby doll" as though I'm some leisure suit Vegas dude, when they're stressed out over a problem or something.

I love this.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:31 PM
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I know!! Me too!! I'm dying to use it, but only in the most inappropriate of times. It's killing me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:44 PM
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143: Relax, baby doll.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 6:20 AM
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143: Relax, soul sister.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 7:21 AM
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There's some absolutely terrible song on the pop stations that rhymes:

Hey soul sister
Play some mister-mister
on the radio...

It's in that cheesy ukelele romance style that's been big lately. But this song makes me want to scream "WHO LISTENS TO MISTER-MISTER??"

(I should probably relax, baby-doll.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 7:50 AM
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My children love that song, and the band who plays it. Which means that your mention of it is going to have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:01 AM
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146: Also, I can't bear to listen to it long enough to know whether it's racist but it's annoying enough that I assume it is. I mean, not only does the narrator not know that you can't just call any hot black woman passing by "soul sister" but you also can't assume she enjoys Mister Mister, plus shut the fuck up and take your ukulele with you!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:15 AM
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And then: jump under a train.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:17 AM
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I don't think it's noticeably racist -- I couldn't repeat the lyrics but I've heard it a lot, and I think it's sung to a girlfriend rather than a passerby, and there doesn't seem to be anything else with a racial valence than I remember. (And I also think the line is "Aint that Mr. Mister on the radio?" rather than "Play some", so not so much an exhortation than a comment.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:21 AM
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You're probably right, LB. I thought there were a couple of variations on the Mister Mister line. The song just strikes me as extra creepy, but so have the rest of the Train songs I've heard. Luckily I don't have to listen to them (or complain about them on the internet, I realize).


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:30 AM
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And I didn't mean that to sound dismissive, LB. I'm sure you are right! Hooray!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:32 AM
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I don't think I've ever heard the song. The lyrics are terrible, but not particularly racially coded.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:32 AM
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Wow, that song is awful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:33 AM
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The Wikipedia entry on that song is amusing. Apparently it was written by a musician from California who was wondering what Burning Man might be like. Because, you know, Burning Man is so totally inaccessible to a musician from California, so he could only idly wonder about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:37 AM
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155: In his imagination they play Mister Mister at Burning Man?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:41 AM
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And yet, not hardly the worst lyrics* they've put out.

"Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you
Even when I know you're wrong?
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze-dried romance
Five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had, and me?"

*As far as I know, I've only heard two other songs by them, so these probably aren't the worst either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:46 AM
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I'm sure somebody's played Mister Mister at Burning Man. Other than that, the song seems to bear no relation, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:46 AM
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Newt's going to show up on this thread and start kicking ass and taking names for people dissing his favorite band. He has strong feelings on the subject.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:59 AM
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157: Oh Jesus I hate that song.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 9:19 AM
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