Re: Times Change

1

I've still never seen anyone either hit anyone else, or seriously threaten to

This is so foreign to me that I had to check to make sure there were no irony markers. Weird. I've only been in one fight since I was a kid (and that was almost 20 years ago, ejecting somebody from a party that had already ended) but I've certainly seen a bunch. Mostly in high school, but not exclusively by any stretch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:24 AM
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There were fights pretty much daily at my middle school. I would have guessed this was true at most places with kids that age. I guess not? I don't remember any fights at my high school, but it was a pretty unusual place.

(I was never really in a fight, since the one time I started hitting someone who had been pestering me for years, he was too dumbfounded to hit back.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:56 AM
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Same here; lots of fights in middle and high school. Never involving me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:02 AM
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We were fighty people in a fighty culture. But my dad always taught me that cool people are the ones who are obviously so dangerous that they only need to raise an eyebrow and say a few words, and never descend to the foolishness of actually throwing punches.

I've had to resort to actual physical violence in self-defense a few times, but my proudest moments have been when I've avoided the fight by freaking my opponent out. The first time I did it was in seventh grade, when this crazy bitch named Krissy was marching up the hallway behind me, yelling insults at me. I wheeled around and said something very scary and very calm and she never bothered me again. Daddy was so proud!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:04 AM
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I don't think there was a fight in my high school in the six years I was there

I find this difficult to imagine. I don't think a day - certainly not a week - went past at my school without a fight somewhere. (But that may just represent the more violent nature of Heroinopolis, capital of North Knifecrime Island.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:05 AM
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I've never seen a fight. I knew some (poor) kids were fighting in middle school because they got suspended for it. Definitely not in high school or college, except once at a frat party.

This means the fear of mugging when I'm walking late at night in the city is kind of like my fear of the Mothman when I'm walking late at night in the woods. Have absolutely no idea how a physical confrontation would really progress.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:07 AM
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Most fights I recall were on the bus. But there were plenty, either way. I recall seeing one miscreant bludgeon another fellow with his (the miscreant's) crutch. Not an easy thing to do on a bus!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:08 AM
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But yes also to the Coates post; there are certain things you learn in non-bourgeois life that really don't serve you well when you try to mingle. Another one is cursing. Whenever I've hung out with rich young New Yorkers, they really do sound like they're in Metropolitan to me. And when I casually say something "It was fucking great!" there's a sudden chill in the air. Darling? Where did this potty-mouthed hobo come from?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:08 AM
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8: I think what you're talking about isn't "bourgeois", it's "nobility".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:10 AM
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When I was a senior, I was over at my girlfriend's older sister's house (x+8) and her husband was amazed that our high school wasn't having the daily fights there'd been when he was there. We both thought ready availability of weed was a big part of the difference.

Even in his day, though, I think there was a huge class element to it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:12 AM
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I'm thinking of the boarding-school class, or at least the Ly/cée Fran/çais class.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:13 AM
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Whenever I've hung out with rich young New Yorkers, they really do sound like they're in Metropolitan to me. And when I casually say something "It was fucking great!" there's a sudden chill in the air. Darling?

This is the complete, polar opposite of my experience.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:17 AM
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Was in a BJJ class with a Russian instructor (former Interior Ministry soldier, tough dude.) When he asked an older (mid-40s) student "What do you do when you're in a fight?", the student responded "Dunno -- never been in a fight." The instructor was not impressed.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:19 AM
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Not much fighting at my high school. Certainly nobody getting suspended for fights at school, although some kids would sneak off to hardcore shows and so on. I punched a dude once (not that hard), because he was a prick, but he burst into tears and I felt like an asshole.

There definitely is a certain stance to the world that makes fighting more or less likely; I grew up waaay on one side of the curve, which I think is in some ways as unhealthy as being waaaay on the other side of the curve. Certainly, I think learning not to always back down is a useful thing. On the other hand, I'm a pretty big dude, so maybe the stakes are lower for me?

I really want to know who the other dumbass blogger in Coates's story is. Thoughtful post, yeah yeah, but did that guy deserve it or what? My money's on "probably".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:19 AM
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11: Clearly not the same people we see in the Bret Easton Ellis novels.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:20 AM
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I'm thinking of the boarding-school class, or at least the Ly/cée Fran/çais class.

Really? at my fucking boarding school we fucking cursed like fucking troopers all the fucking time. Maybe it's a generational thing. Also, fighting stopped being cool around puberty.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:24 AM
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I can't think of anybody I've met who was rich -- or went to boarding school, or whatever -- who doesn't swear, or who would react that way. I guess I do know a couple of thirteen-year-olds who probably wouldn't swear in front of me, but by the evidence of (one of) their facebook profiles that's pretty much an act for the oldsters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:26 AM
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CA got in a lot of fights in high school, mostly because he was a punk rock kid in a preppie hell school. Oh, and also because they decided he was gay and he wouldn't say he wasn't. So lots of folks wanted to fight him.

The last time I was directly involved in something that was about to become a fight was the night I first got to Chicago after graduating from college. A bunch of us were staying at CA's parents house and had walked to the lake around midnight or so. It was the aforementioned high school's graduation night (and, doing some math, ogged's graduation night, I think) and some drunk kids were walking into the park. One, not noticing the low chain slung across the gravel entry, totally ate it and somebody in our group laughed. This prompted the high school kids to pick up rocks and winging them hard at our heads. Hooray! At any rate, our group scared them away without further incident. Sorry, ogged!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:29 AM
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I'm thinking of the boarding-school class, or at least the Ly/cée Fran/çais class.

Maybe it's a generational thing.

Again, yeah, this is crowd of which I was speaking, and I don't think it's generational -- or maybe all of my friends in this category are foul-mouthed traitors to their class. (Don't think so.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:32 AM
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12, 16, 17: This is a relief to hear. I've spent quite a few years in and out of relationships with guys who found it titillatingly "earthy" that I swear.

I wonder if it could also be gendered, in that perhaps wealthy men swear around each other, but ladies of that class are expected to behave in a ladylike manner? There's something about even the artsiest Ivy hipster girls that radiates a very un-punk fragility.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:33 AM
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My son says there was one fight at his high school last year, none so far this year. Maybe the commenter-who-is-an-alum will come by and tell us what it was like there in the past.

I was pretty nearly in a fight at my 21st birthday party. It was a group party, actually, and a guy I only knew as Peter Bizarro came by looking for his ex-girlfriend. There was shouting and he pushed her down, out back by the bonfire. Several of us guys quickly got up and stood between them, and he picked up a 2x4. More shouting, a few feints, and a promise of violence on an individual basis, later on. And then he left. And then a small group came that included a young woman I spent a year or two thinking about. No $5 though.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:36 AM
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I wasn't particularly rich - my dad was a diplomat, and that's how the British government deal with educating the kids of people who are off to a new country every few years - but I knew plenty of people who were. Potty mouthed to the last little Lord Fauntleroy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:37 AM
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People who get arrested still get hit, don't they? Perhaps the state has effectively extended its monopoly on violence to include fisticuffs.

Shirts off before you fight, btw, LB. Them's the rules.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:39 AM
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We had a near-riot at a party at our (druggy group) house once shortly after high school (there were these kids called the FSUs (stands for "Fuck Shit Up" -- good name, guys!) who used to go to hardcore shows and try to ruin them, and who decided to attend our party) that involved shoving, threats with broken bottles, and a 6'5" guy chasing people down with a battle-axe. I didn't contribute much, though, because I was out of my mind on acid. So was the guy with the battle-axe, but he had an axe. Actually I guess I had a katana around someplace. Probably a good thing that didn't occur to me at the time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:44 AM
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There was a fight in our office a few years ago, where one woman followed another one into the toilets and laid into her. She got fired. Her position was not made stronger by the fact that she'd given her coat to the Union rep to hold while she got stuck in.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:46 AM
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The "hold my coat" thing is a very, very old trope. Hipponax starts a poem, "Hold my coat while I punch Boupalos in the eye."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:51 AM
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My one fight was with a guy (who nobody knew) who was still at our fraternity house as the last people were going to bed. He got belligerent when I told him he couldn't stay the night there, and eventually winged a full can of beer at me. The fight consisted of about two minutes of damage-free wrestling, then me holding him down until the police arrived.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:52 AM
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I used to get in fights all the time when I was a kid. The most memorable was this one time when I was in 7th grade, getting bullied in the locker room by an 8th grader. He was pushing me around, and then one day I'd had enough. I wheeled on him and got him in a headlock, then started punching him in the face, repeatedly, as a crowd cheered me on.

It took a long time for me to figure out fighting was not ok.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:55 AM
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I think one of the reasons that fights generally didn't happen at my high school is that the set of people who would form a circle and watch the action was greatly outnumbered by the set of busybodies who would come in and immediately break it up. This speaks to Coates's original point, I suppose.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:57 AM
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In several classes in 7th and 8th grade I sat next to a girl who was quite intelligent, but completely out of place code-switching-wise in these particular honors-ish courses.

Her left earlobe had healed in two pieces from where her earing had been ripped out in a fight, and she hadn't received medical treatment. I was completely hypnotized by her earlobe and was constantly fighting the urge to stare.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:03 AM
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Aside from my own brother, the only person I've thrown a punch at was the brother of the only person who has thrown a punch at me. This excludes the fighting that was technically part of a game of some type or another.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:25 AM
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29 is my experience too (in white, middle-class surburbia): the ring of spectators would quickly draw the attention of authority figures; no fight I witnessed lasted more than one or two punches. I got in a handful of fights growing up, in the trading-a-punch-or-two sense. All before high school, I think, and I don't remember ever throwing the first punch. I was geekish and lippy and tended to provoke the more aggressive kids.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:46 AM
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As best as I can remember, I have been involved in six fights in my life, all before the age of 18. I grew up in a fighty culture, so I'm pretty sure this is below average for my peer group.

In two of the cases, I was attacked without provocation and defended myself. Two were cases of "slow to anger, but full of righteous fury" -- one of them egged on by a bunch of guys doing the "let's you and him fight" thing. In one case, I didn't really fight at all, but he did, so I got the guy in a wrestling hold and held him that way until a teacher came buy. My defense that *he* was the one fighting was not especially successful. In the last case, I started it because the other guy was mouthing off. The victim was my cousin, and I pummeled him but good.

In retrospect, there are at least two fights I should have started but didn't (against two guys who constantly tormented me). I would have gotten the worst of it, for sure, but they might have picked on someone else from then on out.

Oh, and I just remembered a seventh fight. Another "slow to anger, but full of righteous fury" situation. Ironically against the same guy from one of the previous fights, several years prior. I'm convinced that he provoked the second fight because I bested him in the first, and everyone knew it, and he wanted a rematch, having acquired a weight and strength advantage in the interim thanks to earlier onset of puberty. In the rematch, he was well on his way to hurting me when the fight was broken up. Fortunately, the witnesses all backed up my account of being provoked to the point where any man would have to defend his honor, so I got off lightly.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:48 AM
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Embarrassingly, I think the closest I've ever come to reproducing Coates' experience is this time that my landlord was being really pushy and neurotic about the entryway door and he kept insistently asking me every day whether I had been propping it open or forcing it closed, etc., and I got to the point where I was like, "Dude, ask me about the door one more time and I will make you regret it..." and my wife was all like, "Code switch! Code switch! Do not physically threaten the landlord over a stupid fucking door!"


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:50 AM
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1: This is so foreign to me

That's kind of related to part of what I was talking about in the post. Even for someone like me or Ned, who's dead center of the 'no one sane ever gets in a fight' culture, 'fights happen and aren't all that weird' culture is pretty close. I think of it as out of date, because my dad grew up in 'fights happen' culture and I didn't, but it's also geographical and otherwise variable within white middle-class culture. Coates' impulse (to get violent over a verbal altercation) was deviant within the culture of 'people who write for the Atlantic', but I don't think it was quite as deviant as he seems to think it was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:51 AM
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34: Especially don't threaten him with a door stop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:53 AM
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My defense that *he* was the one fighting was not especially successful.

In the sixth grade, a guy punched me and broke my glasses. I got detention on the theory that I must have done something to provoke him. (I probably had, but you would think lines could be drawn.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:53 AM
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This is so foreign to me that I had to check to make sure there were no irony markers.

Same here. I think of myself as a non-confrontational sort (maybe not so much so verbally when I was younger) and I've been in at least a half dozen fights in my life, most recently about ten years ago. A couple of fights in elementary school, a big fight in middle school, another in high school, a near fight as an undergrad (in the middle of an econ class called 'Capitalism and its enemies'), and one since then. I've never been in an especially brutal or life-threatening fight, but I've watched them take place. When I was in school I tried to stay out of the path of fights, but fights and bullying were routine enough that they eventually came to you whether you wanted to fight or not.

(Also, my impression has always been that the posh set swears like motherfucking sailors.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:53 AM
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it's also geographical

ARE YOU CALLING ME A REDNECK?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:55 AM
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20: I wonder if it could also be gendered, in that perhaps wealthy men swear around each other, but ladies of that class are expected to behave in a ladylike manner? There's something about even the artsiest Ivy hipster girls that radiates a very un-punk fragility.

I'm not in the class you're talking about, but I'm one-degree-of-separation: NYC professional parents, not rich or in private school, but people from my school certainly hung out with the private school kids. And despite the fact that I do, actually, swear plenty, I get people apologizing for swearing in front of me (JP Stormcrow just did at last week's meetup). I dunno, is there some demeanor thing that comes across as "I am a perfect lady who doesn't swear" strongly enough to overcome the fact that I'm in fact fairly profane?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:56 AM
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I hesitate to read the comments at The Atlantic, for fear of wading through a few hundred Internet Tough Guy soliloquies. TNC may have gotten over his "Don't be a punk" thinking, but the Internet -- notions of "liberal" and "conservative" notwithstanding -- keeps the old covenant.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:56 AM
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35: I think it was extremely deviant in a professional context. There are pockets of middle-class white culture where a little fighting among under-aged boys is encouraged or tolerated, but never ever among men in a white collar workplace.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:57 AM
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41: It's pretty good -- Coates' commentariat has a low nitwit quotient. Not none, but he's in there keeping things sane, and he's got good commenters also informally policing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:58 AM
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42: I'd love to hit somebody, but I really can't. Every man in my office is either my boss or 15 years younger than me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:00 AM
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42: That's true, everyone's stories seem to be college at the latest. I (vaguely, novel and movie based, maybe I'm wrong) think the 'absolutely never for white collar men in a professional context' is modern, though -- that there are people alive today for which Coates' impulse would have been hotheaded, but not all that crazy weird even in a professional context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:01 AM
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Now the only way I have to work out hostility at the office is to send e-mails urgently requesting information that I know doesn't exist. In the past, I would get similar e-mails and it used to send me into a panic because I thought I must have forgotten something crucial. Now I realized that it is just a symptom of somebody not liking me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:04 AM
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44: You should run for a Korean parliament seat or Japanese or Italian.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:05 AM
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JP Stormcrow just did at last week's meetup

Yeah, what the fuck was up with that?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:06 AM
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everyone's stories seem to be college at the latest

My guess is there's an alcohol-related spike during the college years. Fights got markedly less common once guys were ~15, I suspect because suddenly people were big enough to actually cause/get serious injuries rather than just a busted lip or a bloody nose.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:08 AM
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Nice fucking language, Stormcrow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:11 AM
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Wrestling one of my 8th grade tormentors to the ground, sitting on his chest, and then stuffing his mouth with handfuls of grass as I pulled it out of the ground is still one of the most thrilling moments of my life.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:11 AM
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TNC's commenters mirror his tone and style* to an unnerving extent.**

* Kind of prolix and precious.

** But de gustibus.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:16 AM
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Populuxe Khan: "Man's greatest joy is to topple his enemy, sit on his chest, stuff his mouth with foliage, see the tears of his loved ones and embrace his women if he had any, which he doesn't because he's 12."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:17 AM
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Yes, I find it hard to imagine a school environment that wasn't characterised by constant low-level violence. (Also, surprisingly little class component - there were thugs from all classes and backgrounds.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:18 AM
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53 was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:18 AM
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49: Oh, see, this reminds me. Several years ago -- maybe 7? -- I went to a skeevy nightclub maybe an hour or two before closing. That place was a fucking powder keg. Testerone-driven violence was plainly about to break out any second, and while it was certainly alcohol fueled as well, the real problem seemed to be that the guys who were not currently on track to leave with a woman felt absolutely contractually entitled to one. It was the freakiest thing I'd ever seen. I was there with a guy friend and another girl friend, and when either of us women were being hassled too obnoxiously our guy pal would tell the offender "she's with me" and that would keep them off, until the very, very end of the evening, when one fellow so chastened said, "YOU DON'T GET TWO. PICK ONE." He meant that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:20 AM
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52: Yeah, but not a lot of the Internet Tough Guy nonsense among them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:20 AM
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56: Well he kind of has a point.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:28 AM
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56. A good night out for all, clearly.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:28 AM
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56: There is also a syllable missing!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:32 AM
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The line:

I suspect that a large part of the problem, when we talk about culture, is an inability to code-switch, to understand that the language of Rohan is not the language of Mordor.

struck me as pretty weird. Why, when talking about the difficulty of code-switching, would you suddenly code-switch from "thoughtful, literate commentator on culture" to "extreme geek"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:33 AM
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Disappointingly no fights since elementary school. I've since acted the busybody and broken up a couple of incipient fights (not beyond the shoving stage). I was once the guy in a situation similar to that described by oudemia and though nothing happened I felt extremely vulnerable as I was recovering from sciatica at the time. If violence had broken out I would have been hard pressed to do anything beyond falling down and whimpering.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:33 AM
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61: Go away you unhorsed, swordless freak.


Posted by: Opinionated Eomer | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:35 AM
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When I was in school my impression was that the policy of zero tolerance against any kind of violence, particularly fighting back when attacked, meant that boys basically used psychological warfare and mockery with impunity in the way that had until recently been associated with girls. Meaning that a large person like me who played soccer all the time was just as valid a target for bullying as the Peter Lorre lookalikes.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:37 AM
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61: This is classic Ta-Nehisi. It may be bigger than that -- Tolkein references are cool and literary now (?). See Diaz, Junot.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:38 AM
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My school used to have Peter Lorre lookalike constests and the winner was so esteemed he could have any girl he wanted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:38 AM
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I was in a fight once. It was moderately unprovoked. I was sucker punched from behind, got concussion, and was bailed out my obese (and hence immovable) friend. Yay for lard! We called the police when I got home. The perps were know, tried to skip out of town and instead got caught by the long arm of law. Several weeks later I found $5 x 1000. True story.

To clarify, I got criminal compensation (or something like that) to the tune of $5000 for standing in the way of someone's fist. My buddy for $3K IIRC.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:38 AM
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Why, when talking about the difficulty of code-switching, would you suddenly code-switch from "thoughtful, literate commentator on culture" to "extreme geek"?

Cough 52 cough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:39 AM
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66. What if he was gay?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:40 AM
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56: Heh. This story wasn't violent, or at all close to it, but the same thought process: one weekend while I was in Samoa, a large US Navy ship of some kind docked for the weekend and dumped 500 sailors looking for fun in a very small city where the local culture meant that local women weren't hanging out getting picked up by sailors. So about ten or fifteen PCVs, probably half and half male/female, were sitting at a big table at our local bar, and we start chatting with the sailors at the next table about where they can go for an evening's entertainment (a couple of drag shows, a couple of places to go dancing, but really not all that much.)

And after the conversation had gone on for a bit, one of the Navy guys commented generally to the crowd that the sex ratio was unbalanced with all the women at the PCV table, and we should reorganize so that the women were evenly spread between the tables. It kind of sounded like "Could you pass the peanuts over here?" except that we were the peanuts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:40 AM
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65: See Diaz, Junot.

But he's (at least in the instances I'm remembering) putting the Tolkien references in the voice of a character, rather than directly in his own voice in a setting where they clash with the surrounding tone.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:41 AM
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Coates is wildly geeky, and not at all in the closet about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:42 AM
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that there are people alive today for which Coates' impulse would have been hotheaded, but not all that crazy weird even in a professional context

But he's definitely saying that as a black man, it would have been extra destructive for him to fight someone in that context.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:43 AM
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I come from a _very_ fighty culture. I'm a small town in the industrial belt to the west of Heroinopolis, in North Knifecrime Island, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it's quite a bit more violent than Heroinopolis itself. Or at least comparably violent to the worst bits of Heroinopolis. So, despite being bookish and small for my age, I had a fair number of fights growing up. Maybe half a dozen once I was old enough that the outcome could be potentially serious, from high school on. But the last physical fight I had that was serious was when I was still in my teens, so it's been nearly 20 years. The last couple I was in were serious enough that in one case I went to hospital, and in the other I suspect if a (female) friend hadn't intervened -- by smashing one of the guys who was kicking my prone body in the face with a cartridge belt -- I might well have ended up genuinely injured.

I have had a knife pulled on me once since then, and gotten in mild shoving matches where no real blows were thrown, but nothing worse than that. I've come pretty close a few times in recent years, when someone's really stepped over the line, or been getting really aggressively in my face, but have always managed to defuse the situation or walk away. I'm fairly phlegmatic, generally, so it takes a fair bit to rouse me beyond a bit of bad language.

On the topic of the OP, I certainly think that there's a time and a place for violence, and if someone's genuinely being a violent or aggressive arsehole, it's perfectly right and proper that someone drop them. However, those situations are pretty few and far between and almost always handled better another way. I did stop a (date) rape a few years back and in that case, if the guy hadn't backed down, I would have hurt him, but given that I'd just smashed a door open and was standing over him he wasn't really mentally geared up for fighting back.

I sometimes think that the relative lack of psychological bullying and nastiness among my male peer group growing up was partly the result of the fact that violence was pretty much always available as a final option.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:44 AM
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Speaking of peanuts, there is an add campaign for Snickers over here in which (Mr T?) implores men to "get some nuts" and eat a Snickers bar. Whilst clever in its way, nuts and mouths don't quite conjure the image I expect the ad agency was after.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:46 AM
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given that I'd just smashed a door open

Off topic a bit, but the one time I had to smash a door (because I'd locked myself out of the house and I would have been late for a job interview if I didn't get inside), I really enjoyed it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:47 AM
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So for smashing down doors, do we recommend a shoulder or a foot? It's something I've always wanted to try.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:48 AM
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77: Foot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:49 AM
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I kicked through a wall once. Shoulder hurts like a son of a bitch. Foot takes forever, but is less painful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:49 AM
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I sometimes think that the relative lack of psychological bullying and nastiness among my male peer group growing up was partly the result of the fact that violence was pretty much always available as a final option.

64 to 74. Throw a punch or tackle someone to the ground at my middle school or high school and the question was whether you would be kicked out of school for two months, kicked out of school for the rest of the year, or kicked out of school permanently. Ergo, nobody ever did such a thing unless they wanted to get kicked out of school (which some kids did). Even then it was kind of assumed that the instigator was less likely to get punished than the person who fought back, since the latter would be more likely to do so in the presence of witnesses.

Looking back I wonder what the kids who got kicked out of school for months at a time, but not permanently, did instead of going to school. Since the kids who wanted to fight were the ones from poorer families I am assuming it did not help make our society more equitable.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:49 AM
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You want your foot to hit pretty much right where the bolt goes into the door frame (on the door, of course).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:50 AM
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76: Me too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:50 AM
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re: 77

I used my foot. It's amazingly easy, you don't even need to use a great deal of force; this was an ordinary door with a Yale lock, rather than some heavy solid wood thing with a bolt.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:51 AM
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73: It's probably true that his getting violent would be treated as more deviant because he's black, and from a working-class background.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:51 AM
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My fiancee (about 88 pounds at the time) broke open the door to her dorm once. This was a sort of condo-style dorm and this door to her room was directly facing a street, not a corridor or anything. After that a lot of us were concerned about the quality of the locksmithmanship in that building.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:52 AM
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82: I noted that you didn't have to worry about the dead bolt either. That's the nice part about locking yourself out as opposed to losing your key. I did a fair bit of damage to the door frame, but the deadbolt lock still worked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:54 AM
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re; 80

To compare, when I was in my second or third year at high school, one of the 'name' hard cases in the year below me -- outweighed me by about 30lbs, and was about 6 inches taller -- decided that I was his target for the day. I got dragged off his prone body by a PE teacher who happened to be passing. The kid was in tears. I didn't even get reprimanded. The situation was explained, some other kid testified to the effect that the other guy had started it, and the teacher's take on it was, basically, that if the wannabe hard-nut was going to go around bullying people he had to expect to get a pasting now and again.

Similarly, a year or two later, some kid threw chewing gum in my hair [I had rock hair, see threads passim]. He was slightly surprised when I dragged him over the desk and headbutted him. I seem to recall I got a verbal reprimand for that, but no detention. Again, there were witness to the effect that I was provoked.

I wouldn't have gotten away with any of those things if I had a reputation with the teachers as 'bad', of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:55 AM
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if you stop eating properly, you can always get in the cat door. saved my ass many times.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:55 AM
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||

Someone just called the apartment I'm staying in and asked for what sounded like "Absolute Muscle."

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:56 AM
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88: What a pyrrhic technique, that can only save the ass of someone with no ass.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:57 AM
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I remember the time when my brother, who had been practicing on his own and was maybe 12, showed my mom how he could pick the lock to the sliding glass door in about 15 seconds. Rather than being impressed, mom insisted that dad run to the basement and get a stick to wedge in the track.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:57 AM
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Seafood infused vodka?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:58 AM
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The time I punched a kid in middle school I didn't get in trouble; the teacher assumed he had provoked it. There was a phone call between my parents and the assistant principal, the gist of which was that the school didn't want to suspend me or anything because then I wouldn't be eligible to lead them to victory in some upcoming statewide academic competitions. My parents were uncomfortable with that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:59 AM
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also, if you have stereotypes about people in the south getting fucked up wasted and then getting into fights over stupid shit, then continue to stereotype. not of the "hurt you really bad" type, more like a few punches and people start dragging the fighters apart, etc. although, as readers of the archives know, my (future) step-dad got into a knife fight with my dad at a party when they first met. step-dad pulled a knife, rather, and my dad was just incensed that such a thing would be done to a man on his own very hearth (they were by the fire) that he...disarmed him somehow? now I don't remember. maybe, hit him in the arm with the poker and stopped once the knife was down.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:00 AM
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92: Great tastes that go great together!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:01 AM
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||

My current most frustrating student. I've mentioned her before - single mom, ex-military, totally stressed out and perpetually peeved, approaches all math by rote memory and will not accept help, and totally disruptive because she constantly answers questions in class out of turn with wildly nonsensical answers.

I almost escalated things in class today but I'm so glad I stopped myself. It was merely that I'd just said that we're now going to go over The Addition Principle, and I gave a verbal intuitive example and said "So how to we get the total number of possibilities?" and she calls out "MULTIPLY" loudly and bored-sounding.

If she were 18-24, I would have given her the stink-eye or a sarcastic response. I caught myself just in time and I'm glad I didn't, because I'm starting to think that she's really trying to actually pick a (verbal) fight.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:04 AM
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61,63: As was revealed at the meetup last week (well at least to those who fucking stayed), part of my handle (dating back to college) has its genesis in a LoTR reference (and from Rohan--Gandalf is so labeled upon his arrival there by Théoden and Grima Wormtongue). Full nerd would have been to use Láthspell.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:05 AM
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97: I'd wondered about that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:06 AM
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I almost escalated things in class today but I'm so glad I stopped myself.

Fight her! And liveblog it!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:06 AM
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Kickboxing works best if you're trying to type and fight simultaneously.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:08 AM
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You're allowed to carry a gun while teaching, right heebs? Maybe that would shut her up.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:09 AM
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Going through the door is always the best way. Couple of swift kicks aimed just below the lock and you're in. If you try to go through a window, you run the risk of injuring yourself.

Having said that, on the few occasions I've ever had to break into a house, it's been windows every time. You have more chance of getting away without it being detected. And I like to think I operate in more of a Raffles the Gentleman Burglar style than a kick-the-doors, blag-the-slags style.

Throw a punch or tackle someone to the ground at my middle school or high school and the question was whether you would be kicked out of school for two months, kicked out of school for the rest of the year, or kicked out of school permanently.

I am trying to think how many people would have been left in my school if this rule were suddenly enforced: about 5% of them, probably. There was a guy running a protection racket who stabbed someone, and he didn't get kicked out permanently.

74: pretty sure that Paisley, or wherever, is considerably more violent than the relatively calm bit of Heroinopolis in which I went to school.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:10 AM
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Yes, although if you have an iPhone you could adopt this method:

http://www.bridgemansavate.com/photos/photos/11Baruzy1950sW.JPG

[replacing the sherry glass with iPhone]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:10 AM
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I once hit someone with a pair of compasses - it didn't bleed much, but the guy freaked out seriously and never gave me that much trouble again. Fortunately it didn't actually bleed much, so troublesome questions about "so, you stabbed a fellow pupil" were avoided. The depressing thing was that this happened at the beginning of a maths lesson (we'd all taken our places in class but the teacher hadn't made an appearance).


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:12 AM
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101: I don't think my university lets you carry guns, even if you have the state permit. I've been looking at an umbrella with a sword in the middle and that is probably a nice tool for teaching. You can, for minor cases, brandish the umbrella without pulling the sword. Brandishing a gun tends to escalate things very quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:12 AM
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re: 102

I'm from the Falkirk area. But yeah, Paisley, or any one of the other towns in the belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh would be similar, I expect.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:13 AM
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104: Those compasses were great. We used to see how deeply you could stick the point into a tree or text book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:14 AM
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Speaking of geometry supply-related-battles... a friend and I would have nasty fights with those wooden rulers that had embedded metal straightedges. We'd both end up with forearms, hands, and knuckles creased with welts and superficial gashes. The object was to get the other person disarmed.

Thankfully the teacher was usually busy with the twits.

Good times.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:26 AM
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Looking back I wonder what the kids who got kicked out of school for months at a time, but not permanently, did instead of going to school.

Isn't this why in-school suspension programs were created? You had to commit a felony, practically, to get kicked out the schools I attended. Punishment for lesser infractions was always in-school detention, either during school or on weekends. Determined troublemakers might drop out eventually, but expulsion was rare.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:27 AM
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I suspect that very few of us -- perhaps ttaM and ajay -- come from a culture or environment like the one Coates is describing, in which fights don't just break out occasionally for odd reasons but are a routine feature of the landscape. (Just read the Coates piece; I'd forgotten that he's from Baltimore. An elementary school teacher friend of mine taught for several years in one of the areas Coates mentions, Cherry Hill, and dealing with fights was a constant feature of his day. He mentored a girl who was accepted into an advanced summer camp program; she was kicked out a mere week in for having pulled a knife on another girl who was harassing her. Ten years old. My friend was devastated.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:29 AM
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106: sorry, I did know that. My mistake.

I've been looking at an umbrella with a sword in the middle and that is probably a nice tool for teaching.

OK, that's impressive even by the standards of Eilean nan Knifecrime. (There's still a shop in London that advertises "Swordsticks for Sale", but they're illegal these days.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:34 AM
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Our town had a special school for kids that got expelled from high school: no sitting on your ass allowed, you had to go learn remedial math (like, counting and shapes, for real) while obeying rules like "no sunglasses" and walking through metal detectors. You couldn't get expelled from that school unless you got sent to juvie, but you could drop out after age 16. I had a friend in high school who stuck it out and eventually transferred back to the non-miscreant's school, getting his diploma at twenty-one. (While resolutely refusing to buy us beer. Dick.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:36 AM
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I once hit someone with a pair of compasses

Heh. In 5th grade, this boy who sat next to me kept poking me with his pencil*. Unfortunately for him, it was math class, so I stabbed him back with my compass. He didn't pester me after that.

* Not a euphemism.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:37 AM
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For pencil stabbings, mechanicals were the worst. I had a tiny dot of a tattoo on my wrist for years.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:41 AM
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Am I the only one surprised to learn that the blood of the poppy is so available as to cause a not-quite-Hyperborean municipality to be called "Heroinopolis"? Is this a triumph of the free market, the fossil fuel economy, the late Khun Sa, the Kuomintang,* George W. Bush,** something else?

* Specifically, the militarization of the Golden Triangle.

** Afghanistan is open for business, apparently.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:43 AM
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87: some kid threw chewing gum in my hair [I had rock hair, see threads passim]

This made me chuckle sorely. What is it about kids putting things in people's hair? I had, still have, a sort of tangled mess of longish curlyish hair, and over the years a kid put a spider -- a Daddy Long-Legs -- in my hair, another once dribbled soda in my hair, and in 7th grade someone put a small frog in my hair. Fuckin' A. That shit pisses me off. All I do about it is get really upset and maybe cry (later, at home), however; gotta keep the temper in check, after all.

It took me something like 20 years to get over an irrational fear of Daddy Long-Legs.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:44 AM
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I think a lot of fights in middle school and high school are holdovers from sibling and grade school tousles. Kids don't fully realize that they are big now, and that fighting has more consequences. If you grow up in an environment like LB's (or to some extent mine) this is when the norm shifts to no fighting ever. But if you are an environment like Coates' the fighting gets ritualized, becomes a part of a set of signals that you are sending to others, rather than going away.

Well that's my half thought of the day. I haven't read the thread, and should actually go get lunch before I teach again.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:45 AM
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re: 115

It's not as bad now, I don't think, but Edinburgh had a huge heroin problem in the 1980s. Along with the highest rate of HIV infections among non-homosexuals outside of Africa, I think. Hence Trainspotting, and the like. Scotland in general had a pretty big heroin problem during that period. Lots of Glasgow was pretty bad as well.

We'll see if the current economic situation is going to lead to happy days for smack dealers, again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:48 AM
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74: a (female) friend hadn't intervened -- by smashing one of the guys who was kicking my prone body in the face with a cartridge belt

Do you still have her number?

I've recounted my "last fight" story here plenty of times, so I won't beat that dead horse.

It's strange, a lot of other people I know who are my age and general social position still get in the occasional fight. I think it was 3 years ago that I got a call from a friend to say that he wouldn't make it to the show I was at, because they'd been at a grad student party and a fight had broken out, and one of our other friends had had a bottle smashed over his head. That was a bit of a shock.

My Xtian punx neighbors were in an altercation a couple of months ago at the end of our block, where they saw the local ne'er-do-well youths breaking into a friend's car. The punks were all "Hey, quit breaking into our friend's car", and the youth were all "Shut up, bitch, I'll kill your baby". That was somewhat consterning as well. I haven't heard that there've been any more interactions there though -- basically these kids had been hassling everybody in the neighborhood, and people finally got sick of it. I'm not sure exactly what happened -- I think some combination of explicit threats of serious violence and some police intervention --- but things are definitely calmer.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:53 AM
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118: I am kind of stunned whenever I learn of the fluency with which sellers of illegal drugs will transport them over great distances to places with poor, desperate people.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:55 AM
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I remember thinking basically the same thing as LB - Coates' instinct to threaten someone who's persistently being a dick doesn't seem that beyond the pale, but I guess a black guy in a white crowd and a new hire at a white-collar job do change the context.

61
Why, when talking about the difficulty of code-switching, would you suddenly code-switch from "thoughtful, literate commentator on culture" to "extreme geek"?

Thoughtful, literate commentators on culture are allowed to drop references to things that have won roughly 27 Oscars. The geeks have inherited the Earth.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:55 AM
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"The geeks have inherited the Earth."

It occasionally occurs to me how remarkable is the change that occurred around 2000 or so. I'm old enough to recall a time when there was a fairly real social stigma attached to being into "geeky" stuff (Tolkien, scifi, gaming & etc.). To the point that an adult professional would never casually mention such interests to a boss or co-workers for fear of the subtle ostracism that might result.

It was almost disorienting to watch that fade away to basically nothing in a few short years.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:14 AM
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122: Gareth Branwyn or R.U. Sirius or one of those guys had a similar thought about the movie Dazed & Confused, where he remembered that time, somewhere around 1975 or 76, when suddenly all the jocks and high-achievers grew their hair out, started smoking weed and listening to Zeppelin and Sabbath and generally became the kind of "freaks" that they would have been pounding on just a couple of years before.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:18 AM
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Our town had a special school for kids that got expelled from high school:

My cousin is teacher in the special school in his town. He says it is mostly kids with some mental illness or another. That may vary by region and how likely they are to send somebody to reform school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:26 AM
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123 -- That's my cohort, class of '76, but I'd say the transition was a little earlier, at least on the coast. The other thing going on, though, is that the assumption about what interested the girls shifted at the same time. Jackson Browne's meet-up story in Ready or Not was both plausible and culturally accepted, at least in strata.

If McManus was here, he could offer some fancier cinematic references. And Emerson could tie it in with the stagnation of working class incomes from 1972 onward.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:27 AM
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Regarding the OP, my experience is similar to others': at least in white suburban middle class-land, fights and a general background of low level violence were the norm in middle school but it quickly tapered off in high school.

I suspect there's a class aspect to this: I attended a large HS (~2,000 kids) and we were segregated into "college bound" and "not" pretty early on. Maybe there were regular fights that I just didn't see.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:53 AM
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There was a lot of talk of fighting in junior high, but I had my doubts as to whether it happened much. I once actually got into a conversation about who could beat up whom, wherein the conversators ranked our own upbeating prowess, and even at the time I knew I was shoveling pure horseshit. What else is there to talk about when you're 13 and live in a town of 25,000, I guess.

Because I've never been in a physical fight, the idea is perversely exciting. This is funny, in part because I would be on a stretcher very quickly in the event of fisticuffs, as would most people who have ever used the word "fisticuffs."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:03 AM
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125: Oh, I'm sure it varied widely by location. Looking at the yearbook of the small-city high school where my dad was teaching that year, there's definitely some freakiness about to burst out, but a surprising number of kids look like they came from the early 1960s (except for the width of their ties in the formal portraits).


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:15 AM
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(Wait, why would you heatbutt someone? Doesn't that automatically result in equal pain for both parties?)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:17 AM
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Regarding the OP, my experience is similar to others': at least in white suburban middle class-land, fights and a general background of low level violence were the norm in middle school but it quickly tapered off in high school.

Same here. I got into a few fights in elementary and middle school with bullies (including one that my mother basically told me to start, right in front of one of my Hebrew school teachers). While there were a few fights in my high school, it wasn't the upper-middle-class and upper-class kids getting into them.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:19 AM
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129: If you do it right, you hit their nose with the top of your forehead. Noses are soft and squish quite easily.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:21 AM
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129: No, if you get the point of attack right and are balanced with your weight behind it the results can be spectacularly asymmetrical depending on where you strike the other person. But it certainly does run the risk of backfiring.

I had my sternum broken by being on the receiving end of an inadvertent headbutt while playing rugby.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:22 AM
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129: Not automatically, no. I could smash my forehead into the bridge of your nose to demonstrate, but that wouldn't be neighborly. Instead, try heading a soccer ball with your forehead, and then with your face.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:22 AM
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129: Depends on where you headbutt them, I'd guess.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:22 AM
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Last and shortest. I'm in for some bullying.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:23 AM
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Let me be the first to suggest headbutting Fresh Salt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:23 AM
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Heatbutt comes from trying to squeeze through the cat door, I believe.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:24 AM
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Oh, you know, I've seen some crazy ass fights on the soccer field between two ordinary adults who otherwise would probably not dream of fighting. I remember a fight where one woman was down on one knee, holding the other by the hair, and just pummeling her face. (I think she got kicked out of the league.) And another guy got straight-up head-butted, complete with bloody nose and all. I think that guy also got kicked out of the league.

One of my teammates routinely provokes people into starting something, but usually it's broken up before anyone gets punched. I could see myself getting in a fight on the soccer field in a pinch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:27 AM
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Pinching is a pretty ineffective fighting technique.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:31 AM
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Oh, wait, I have seen something that was almost a fight in the US -- IM basketball game at Dr. Oops' college, someone fouled someone and all of a sudden one team is holding back a guy with a silly walrus moustache while Dr. Oops' then boyfriend made "You want a piece of me?" beckoning gestures at him. So that's once, lifetime. No actual punches were thrown, but I recall finding it plausible at the time that they might have been.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:32 AM
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Hawaiian Punch has taken to biting herself. Talk about ineffective fighting techniques.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:33 AM
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You could get her one of those funnel collars.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:34 AM
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There a city not far from here that's known as kind of a rough place -- the running joke is that there are people standing by, ready to engage in a fistfight, if/when you're interested. It's an option for out-of-town guests: should we go to the lake up north, the granite canyons down south, have fistfight out east, or just hang out down town. None have yet chosen eastward -- I guess I need more redneck or Scots friends.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:34 AM
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141: Limbering up for when the new sibling arrives?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:34 AM
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139: Nuh-uh.


Posted by: Mr. Spock | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:35 AM
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Watch out for mustachioed gentlemen: they may be handy with fisticuffs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:37 AM
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No actual punches were thrown, but I recall finding it plausible at the time that they might have been.

I think that's less "a near fight" and more "dudes looking for somebody else hold them back so they can look tough".

You've only seen that happen once? New York: America's least-fightin'est city.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:39 AM
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Oh, that was in Maryland.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:41 AM
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140: Ahahah. Yeah, people would fight in IM basketball. As with academic politics, the stakes there were extremely low. Unrelated to basketball, but coming from the same place of masculine anxiety, a friend got socked in the jaw at said college, because as he was entering his dorm he said "Hey ho" to a guy who was exiting. This prompted an attack from the loony man, who insisted my friend had said, "Homo." Uh, not. In any event, I see from Facebook that deranged "I'm no faggot" guy now is very, very out and living in a famous gay beach town in Greece.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:42 AM
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You've only seen that happen once?

This is where I start wondering if LB and I even live on the same planet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:43 AM
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The sky is really pretty here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:44 AM
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Maybe LB's got the opposite perception problem of kids who ask "Daddy, why is that doggy hurting that other doggy?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:45 AM
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"Everyone's in love!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:45 AM
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Friends of mine got into a shoving match with some skinheads in a club in high school once, because they were hassling an even more hapless friend of ours. But I wasn't there that night, and no one who was had any visible evidence of having been in an altercation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:47 AM
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"Oh honey, they aren't fighting. The dog in front is sick, so her friend is just pushing her to the hospital."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:48 AM
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147: New York: America's least-fightin'est city.

When I was in NYC in 2004 I saw some teenage kids getting into a fight. Thankfully, there were some cool-headed young women there who basically shamed everyone into laying off of each other. It was actually kinda heart-warming.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:49 AM
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Yeah, people would fight in IM basketball.

That reminds me, the last time I ever tried to knock someone down was at an IM touch football game. The rules were like basketball in that if you were blocking, the defense couldn't smack you out of the way. One guy kept running right at me, probably because I was the smallest person on the offensive line, hoping I would run away or something. In the huddle somebody said that as long as I didn't move my feet and kept my arms in, any contact was his fault. I crouched down low and knocked him over when he ran by me. Plus, he got the penalty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:52 AM
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The one and only time I got into a fight was a bar room brawl, sort of. I was visiting with some friends, so I was the non-local at the local disco. I was asking girls to dance, which this guy took as an invasion of territory. He cam over and said something to me, which I couldn't hear because the music was so loud. I leaned in so that he could repeat what he said, but instead he grabbed my shirt and lined me up for a punch, just like in the movies. As luck would have it, he was pretty drunk. I guess he saw two heads or something, because he missed my face completely. Not needing any further provocation, I proceeding to punch him in the face repeatedly. When they pulled me away, I tried to explain that he had started it, but he had the bloody face and I had the bloody hand, so I was asked to leave. My friends were pretty embarrassed about the whole thing.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:00 PM
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I had a guy try to start shit with me at a club. He kept sneaking up behind me and imitating my dancing, and then got in my face when I asked him what on earth he was doing. He was clearly trying to start a fight, and I almost took the bait, but it was my friend's club night and it seemed tacky to get in a fight there. I was pretty pissed, though. The next day I went to an MMA event (pro, but pretty low-level; this was before California could have real MMA) and he was fighting in the first bout. Oh, hi!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:04 PM
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Did he win?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:05 PM
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And let this be a lesson to all of us to always avoid tackiness. You never know when it could save your ass.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:05 PM
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160: he did! Pretty pathetic match, though. It was Pankration and thus open-hand, and he couldn't submit the guy, so he basically won on slap-points. He still probably could have taken me in a fight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:07 PM
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159. Sifu do you dance like Elaine or something?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:07 PM
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163: I can't imagine, no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:09 PM
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(So what I'm saying is if anyone is pissed off about anything, meet me in the playground after school. Further to 127.2)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:15 PM
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I'm pretty mystified by the lack of observed fighting by LB. Can it really be a class thing? I actually went to a boarding school (the truth is revealed!) and we had fights semi-regularly -- at least once a month, often more (also, I swear like a fucking sailor. Once again, I have no clue about the pussies that AWB is hanging out with).

So, I was in a few fights in high school, as were most people I know. I also went to a fancy-ass college, and people fought pretty often there, too (usually drunk, and usually in situations where they were quickly pulled apart by friends, but that's true of pretty much all adult fighting). I don't see a lot of fights now, but I can think of at least three I've seen in the past year -- one at Dodger Stadium, one at a bar, and one in the street.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:17 PM
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I'm mystified too: how many meetups has she been to?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:19 PM
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Fleur has been in a couple of fights. I hesitate to characterize them as fistfights, because they involved some more exotic fighting techniques. I'd best not recount them without her consent. Maybe if she drops by she will regale you. Suffice it to say that she's left a couple of girls bruised and bleeding.

Needless to say, I try to stay clear of her when she's angry.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:21 PM
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147 -- Springsteen seemed to be singing about some exotic planet, or the West Side Story metaphoric past, in Incident on 57th Street.

Those romantic young boys, All they ever want to do is fight


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:21 PM
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159: According to the latest Charles Murray abomination on the WaPo Op-Ed page ("The tea party warns of a New Elite. They're right."), Sifu & apo are objectively *not* members of the New Elite--and the acronym MMA means nothing to them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:24 PM
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166: Hey, Ned's never seen any either! It's not just me. The class thing doesn't explain it, unless you're thinking of some very specific socioeconomic niche -- my economic background wasn't extreme in either direction by the standards of the other commenters around here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:24 PM
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Thinking about it, the most recent fight I've been in was when, with zero provocation other than saying "Hi" I was cold-clocked by a girl in a bar. That happened in Buffalo, about 10 years ago. I didn't hit back, but man did it hurt, and I was the one who got thrown out of the bar. Lesson: do not fuck around in Buffalo.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:24 PM
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LB brings with her such an aura of peace and serenity that even the most savage breast is quelled in her presence.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:25 PM
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I knew I'd watched fights at my public high school, but I was racking my brain to recollect watching a fight in my private boys high school. Then remembered - oh yeah I was in one!


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:26 PM
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172: does that kind of thing count as a fight? I once had a girl scratch the shit out of me, but I didn't fight back. (In fact, I held my arms out to my sides because I pretty much knew if I touched her at all it would work out more poorly for me than some scratches on my face and neck would.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:28 PM
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170: The Charles Murrays of the world are so full of shit.

Time and again, this essay describes as "mainstream" or "quintessentially American" things that the vast majority of Americans don't do: living in a small town (80% of Americans don't), reading Harlequin romances (85% don't), watching The Price Is Right or Oprah (more than 90% don't), belonging to Rotary or Kiwanis (99+% belong to neither.) It isn't just "elites" who don't do these things; the average person doesn't do them. (Nor follow NASCAR.) They're not even majority behaviors among the groups where they're more prevalent: the rural-and-small-town, the poorly educated, the old. So Murray's quarrel is actually with the REAL mainstream America, is it not?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:29 PM
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Also, MMA is about as quintessentially American as samba music and natto.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:30 PM
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does that kind of thing count as a fight?

I dunno, maybe not. It was the last time anybody threw a punch at me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:34 PM
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173: But I will say that I'm with Natilo in that I've apparently seen more fights in my limited time in NYC than LB has. (Not a fight, but last week the guy walking right in front of me on Bleecker Street was almost literally pissed upon when a bum coming the other way prematurely let loose with a robust stream before completing his pirouette into a convenient nook.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:41 PM
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179: And no, I am not Joe Buck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:42 PM
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Seeing a fight seems like the kind of thing that someone could forget about within a week, unless you know one of the participants or there were visibly horrible injuries. People yelling at each other? People wrestling around? People shoving each other? A crazy person that seems to be fixated on someone else at the moment? People yelling at each other, but apparently not physically violent? People arguing like they might fight soon, but they get broken up immediately? People visibly throwing punches at each other? Only the last of them is "really" a "fight", and all the rest aren't your problem if you don't know the people involved.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 12:59 PM
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I keep thinking of more fights I've seen. Mostly in San Francisco, for some reason. That city is full of rage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:11 PM
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182 is weirdly true for me as well. I saw a guy shot -- the only time I've ever seen that -- in San Francisco. On Mission Street, right near various SWPl establishments.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:14 PM
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I never saw much interesting when I went to San Franciso. I remember there was a shallow pond and you could rent rowboats. I learned that oars work much better when pushing against mud as compared to water. Napa was much more interesting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:22 PM
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183: we had what you would now call a "hackerspace" on market and 6th in SF and the Wendy's across the street used to get shootings or stabbings on a basically weekly basis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:22 PM
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Just now, I was sitting on the porch reading and several high-school kids walked by. One of them tried the door of an alarmed SUV with everyone watching. I live next door to a cafe with quite a few people sitting outside watching as well. What was he going to do?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:23 PM
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185: Dave Thomas was a stickler for following routines in everything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:26 PM
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What was he going to do?

Deliberately setting off a car alarm to disturb the peace of people sitting at an outdoor cafe?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:27 PM
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187: Probably steal shit and count on the "not my problem" effect.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:27 PM
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Hey, anybody feel like trying something terrifying? Install this bad boy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:28 PM
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Someone send out the Fleur alert. I want to hear her stories.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:35 PM
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I saw a guy shot -- the only time I've ever seen that -- in San Francisco.

I've never seen anyone shot, but my brother walked into a hotel that was being held up, in New Orleans.

He and his friend turned and ran, and the bad guys went after them, and shot my brother's friend in the leg.

Then my brother didn't bother to mention this story ever. Years later I bumped into the friend who said, "Heebie! How are you? I haven't seen your brother in forever, not since I was shot!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:38 PM
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183: That's not exactly fair... that's pretty much the worst block in the entire city.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:43 PM
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190: I was looking at that earlier. Have you gotten it to work yet?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:44 PM
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192: Have you ever considered that your brother has super powers and is a costumed crime fighter and didn't want to tell him family because they'd worry but he couldn't tell them that he is bullet-proof because he has to keep his powers secret to protect his family and friends from the comically short-sighted but endlessly cruel villians who seek his demise?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:45 PM
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194: it's certainly capturing plenty of cookies. I haven't tried hijacking anybody because I'm at work and don't want anybody to get the wrong idea.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:49 PM
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193: yeah, I wasn't even really thinking of that; I saw lots of fistfights and weird aggro interactions all over the place. Mostly involving homeless people and/or hippies in GG park, but still.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 1:52 PM
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I'd love to hit somebody, but I really can't.

the one time I had to smash a door (because I'd locked myself out of the house and I would have been late for a job interview if I didn't get inside), I really enjoyed it.

Moby, it's not too late to start that bounty hunting gig.

People who get arrested still get hit, don't they?

Sometimes, yes. Not as often as they used to due too many cops being overly dependent on the taser.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 2:01 PM
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I've told the story before about house-sitting for a friend and puttering around with a late breakfast when four Real Americans, one with his gun drawn, busted the door open. No violence ensued, although I can't say I enjoyed having that thing pointed at me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 2:09 PM
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198: Can you get me a reference and do they have dental?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 2:11 PM
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199: Was it bounty hunters or friends who didn't know he had a house sitter?

(Also: That's what she said.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 2:13 PM
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RTFA. Well known outlaws. They knew he was gone, and knew I was there.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 2:35 PM
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The most bizarre thing about that very bizarre Charles Murray piece is sudden appearance of the old Charles Murray, the aristocrat who wrote The Bell Curve, a book celebrating how much smarter We are than They are. Apparently he still stands by this atrocious abuse of statistical methods, but now insists that it really means that the hard working little fellow is unfairly locked out of power.

Seriously, a man who has spent his lifetime arguing that rich white people are smarter--genetically smarter--than poor blacks is now upset that four out of five Yale grads come from elite families?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 3:31 PM
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Sometimes, yes. Not as often as they used to due too many cops being overly dependent on the taser.

Yeah, I guess torture doesn't really count as a "fight".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 3:44 PM
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Christ, I just used 20 minutes of my life to read and think about an article where Charles Murry quotes extensively from David Brooks. I would have been better off intellectually and emotionally if I had spent the time watching a youtube video of a jugalo discussing poo.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 3:45 PM
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Has anyone ever thought of crossing a juggalo with a pug to make a puggalo?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 3:50 PM
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The most bizarre thing about that very bizarre Charles Murray piece is sudden appearance of the old Charles Murray, the aristocrat who wrote The Bell Curve, a book celebrating how much smarter We are than They are. Apparently he still stands by this atrocious abuse of statistical methods, but now insists that it really means that the hard working little fellow is unfairly locked out of power.

Interesting thing I got from a recent lecture: the statistics in The Bell Curve were all done by its co-author, Richard Herrnstein, who died the same year it was published, and Murray probably doesn't really understand why the statistical reasoning is flawed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:06 PM
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I'm with LB and Ned and maybe someone else -- I remember kids would have sorta-fights back in elementary school, but that was about it. Then again, I didn't exactly grow up in Heroinopolis.

Also, the link in 146 leads to some wacky stuff (NSFW) if you keep clicking. Apparently there were not one but two different neo-Bartitsu seminars being held in Germany the weekend of Oct 9-10.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:11 PM
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203, 205: I've been resisting reading the Murray piece for just that reason, but having just looked at the first two paragraphs of it, I'm recalling a really odd moment on one of the Sunday talk shows recently: someone -- Michael Gerson, I think -- said something along the lines of 'You know, the American people look at the people running the country who think they're so smart, and they say, "You're not that smart after all, looks like," and then the American people figure they might as well try something different.'

Huh. Let's try patently not-smart people, I guess. That might work better.

Anyway, I get that Charles Murray might carry on in a deeply confused way, but I really don't understand David Brooks, who is actually, by many accounts, not stupid.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:13 PM
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Has anyone ever thought of crossing a juggalo with a pug to make a puggalo?

One could cross a Cocker Spaniel with a Maltese to make a Cocktese


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:14 PM
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Other school memories, later (16 or so): he pissed me off enough that when he did it again, I managed to kick him in the teeth from a standing position. I still don't know how.

I went as Steve Marriott to a sixth-form party at a hotel and several of us were asked not to leave after a brawl on the dancefloor. Why so? So as not to have another brawl in the cab queue.

I remember most of all that it was tiresome. Alertness and cynicism get boring and use up too much fuel.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:20 PM
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re: 208

Yeah, I'm tangentially connected with some people involved in that scene. However, to take just one example, one person I know of has been teaching techniques from the martial art I do -- which is part of the b4rt1ts/u corpus -- and his exposure to the art consists of 4 weeks lessons [from me], and some books and DVDs he's bought. I find that sort of thing both a bit annoying and, I suspect, fairly common in the historical 'scene'.* I feel guilty representing _myself_ as knowledgeable in that style, and I have 5 years training, a bona fide instructor's license [albeit the most junior one], and officiated at the recent world championship.

* He's a nice guy, and, I think, over-enthusiastic rather than fraudulent, but still ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:21 PM
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Huh. Let's try patently not-smart people, I guess. That might work better.

Nah, it's the old book-smart vs street-smart debate. The problem is that no one is familiar with this particular street.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:24 PM
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Sesame Street?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:26 PM
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208. The Marines have a whole program of semper fu which incorporates anything you can get your hands on.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:30 PM
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215 to 214.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:35 PM
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Kermit... CHOP!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:35 PM
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The problem is that no one is familiar with this particular street.

That makes no sense to me. Who's no one?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:36 PM
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Or, which particular street?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:37 PM
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Parsi- that's what I get for trying to be clever. There is no street, but there is a sense that the smart guys aren't all as smart as they think they are. But perhaps that is too cynical.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:43 PM
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that's what I get for trying to be clever.

No good deed goes unpunished.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:46 PM
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I was almost in a fight about half a year ago - with a bunch of sixteen year olds who were basically just hanging out downtown looking for an excuse. My friends and I (we were three to their six or so) were just walking back from a bar when they started getting in our face. Then one of them picked up a large potted plant that was in the street and threw it at us, while another ran up to a friend of mine and tried to headbutt him. I was holding a glass bottle of coke which I'd already finished and was itching to use it on one of them (I'm stupid like that, though it would have been the most justified occurrence of violence imaginable - they were just looking for a fight and we walked past, we hadn't even said anything to them).
My friends, who are more cool-headed than I am, pulled me away and started walking very fast while pulling out their cellphones to call the police. I realized a few minutes later what my friends did immediately, which is that we were probably at risk of being stabbed if we tried retaliating at all.
I have a couple more good fight stories, but I think this is already the longest comment I've ever written, so I'll give it a rest for now.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:51 PM
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220: Sorry. I'm just a little freaked out that anyone thinks that putting idiots in office is a good idea because street smarts are somehow helpful. I find this quite shocking.

I know what the sense is; the latest iteration of the narrative is just another version of class-based anti-intellectualism. It annoys the hell out of me that we can't leave this story behind.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 4:59 PM
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223: Join me in my nonexistent crusade to abolish elections!


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:08 PM
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Bring back Crossfire and have Coates on regularly. That is all.


Posted by: E | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:11 PM
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224: Abolish elections? I forget -- why do we want to do that, now?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:13 PM
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Join me in my nonexistent crusade to abolish elections!


Oh king, eh, very nice. An' how'd you get that, eh? By
exploitin' the workers -- by 'angin' on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an' social differences in our society! If there's ever going to be any progress--


Posted by: Dennis the Anarcho-syndicalist | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:16 PM
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I'm just a little freaked out that anyone thinks that putting idiots in office is a good idea because street smarts are somehow helpful. I find this quite shocking.

It must have been awesome to have been in an ether-induced coma from 2000 to 2008.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:21 PM
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228: I'm afraid that some of the current slate of potential Congresspeople and Senators are worse.

But okay, I'll knock it off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:29 PM
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224: Abolish elections? I forget -- why do we want to do that, now?

One fundamental weakness with elections is that they attempt to solve two problems--selecting good representatives, and holding existing ones accountable--with only one yes/no (this is somewhat muted in multi-party elections, but not fundamentally so). The problem here--it is always rational to put up with a corrupt/ineffective/whatever incumbent, so long as the Other Team is more threatening.

But the larger problem, I've started to believe, is elections themselves; people just don't know enough about politics, and that's not going to change. So we should give up on the idea that elections result in good representation, and instead use large-N random selection to assemble various statistically representative bodies for various legislative, executive, & federative functions. As for accountability, more of the same--medium-sized quasi-inquisitorial grand juries for political corruption.

All of these positions, naturally, would only make sense if they carried a salary high enough to be worth taking for, say, 6 years, but not crazy--say, 60-70k, maybe w/ CoL adjustments.

And it would also only make sense if terms lasted long enough to have institutional knowledge develop--say, 2 yrs as helper, 2 yrs with full voting power, 2 yrs as advisor.

Also, there would be ponys.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:45 PM
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If we're going to go that crazy, how about my alternative plan for governance: Put me in charge.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:47 PM
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(There was some more of this in this thread.)

The main thing, really, is that elections are a game to be won, and as representative democracy has matured, folks have figured out better and better ways to win it. So I just think it's time to ask, why do we bother? Why do we give power to the person who is best able to convince mostly-apathetic bystanders that the other guy is worse? Why don't we go with statistical representation instead?


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:51 PM
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230: assemble various statistically representative bodies

Statistically representative of what? Race, religion, age, education level, degree of cosmopolitanism, ideological affiliation?

It's good to see you, by the way. Settled back in the apartment that you'd sublet?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:53 PM
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231: Well, ok: here in the real world, there've actually been a number of interesting innovations in direct participatory governance, the most well-known being community budgeting in Brazil, and local planning in Kerala. Slightly dated analysis of these and other cases can be found here.

What's interesting is that, compared to my crazy version, these are in one sense much more utopian, since they rely much more on uncompensated volunteers contributing serious effort. And yet, they seem to be doing okay, at least relative to the status quo ante.

But I like my idea better. Besides, ponys.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 5:57 PM
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And it would also only make sense if terms lasted long enough to have institutional knowledge develop--say, 2 yrs as helper, 2 yrs with full voting power, 2 yrs as advisor.

That would give a lot of institutional knowledge compared to the average citizen, but based on California's experience, still far too little.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:00 PM
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233: Yeah, devil's in the details, though if you've got enough of an N, it mostly works out. Admittedly, though, saying 'We draw 20k people and let them sort themselves into committees' is a bit of a dodge. You'd want to phase it in, I suppose. Start with California--make one chamber of the legislature 300ppl, lottery via tax-ID/SSN#, whatever.

And yes, back in HD, and even left the apartment today.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:04 PM
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235: perhaps; and maybe someone longer would be ok. But keep in mind, a large part of California's problem is that you're combining 6-year term limits with an electoral system where you need to run an expensive campaign every 2 or 4 years. (And I'm guessing constituent service is a huge part of an Assembly or State Senate member's job, too; not officially, but as a necessary part of getting reelected.) Do away with elections, and you can actually have people focusing on whatever they ought to be doing. (And yes, general ombudspeople ought to exist, too; there's just no good reason for them to also be legislators.)


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:11 PM
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Trapnel, I think you should seriously consider 231.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:17 PM
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How about this: when I'm put in charge, I will seriously consider putting you in charge in my stead. Deal? Ok, bedtime now.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:20 PM
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||
This Jerry Brown ad made me laugh. I'm hoping it works.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:29 PM
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Instead of a lottery, I think they should have a water balloon tossing contest. We need leaders with gentle hands and demonstrated aptitude for teamwork.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:30 PM
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This is another good Brown advertisment:

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/10/19/schwarzeneggers_echo.html?ref=related-entry


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 6:35 PM
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there is a sense that the smart guys aren't all as smart as they think they are.

This is true, the smart guys aren't as smart as they think they are. What goes unremarked on these days is that the dumb guys aren't as smart as they think they are, either.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:27 PM
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I'm the smartest guy in the room.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:32 PM
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I'm late to the fighting thread and pretty sure I've told all three of these stories at one time or another. Oh, well!

I can think of three times I've encountered fighting personally:

1. I was around twelve, and we were hitting tennis balls with a bat at a local park. A neighborhood bully who normally left us alone decided he wanted to come steal my aluminum baseball bat, and being a good twenty pounds heavier and five inches taller than I, he had no trouble accomplishing that feat. When I protested, he made fun of me, and then swung the bat at me hard. Hit me right in the hip, and I dropped like a rag doll. He dropped the bat and took off running. (No permanent damage, but damn, that hurt.)

2. Around the same time, some kid was talking shit regarding our competing baseball teams. He was up on some dirt hill, and challenged me to come up there and make him shut up. Stupidly, I did so. He threw a sort of lame punch, and I tackled him, proceeding to knock him down the hill, sort of ridding on his back like a sled (inadvertently, I should add). His friends intervened, and that was that.

3. In a high school drama class, we were in the back of the theatre doing small-group work. I was paired off with a then-recent-ex-girflriend and her good friend, who had recently decided she was going to make the transition from super preppy girl into full-on drama freak (meaning dressing in a punk-ish way, dyeing her hair purple, etc.). I, embittered from the recent romantic flame-out plus just generally being a bit of a shit at the age of 14, started to throw mocking remarks at the prep-turned-freak girl. The ex- proceeded to leap across a row of theatre seats and clock me square on the eye. I spent the rest of the day riding around in a friend's car, smoking cigarettes and nursing my combination bruised ego/black eye.

Strangely enough, the ex- from #3 and I are still in touch, and she recently asked me if I'd like to go look at Fall leaves with her.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:35 PM
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245: You can either hit her back or fall in love. Either way, why not?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:38 PM
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Tell her you wouldn't enjoy them due to irreversible nerve degeneration in your eye.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:40 PM
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245.1: He dropped the bat and took off running.

Well-played in a br'er rabbit kind of manner.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:41 PM
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Aside from grade school kids with crayons and tracing paper, botanists too junior to have tenure, and epicurean sloths, nobody ever actually goes looking at leaves to go looking at leaves, do they?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:43 PM
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249: Gee, who among us grew up on the relatively treeless prairie?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:45 PM
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One time I was witness to a fight between a girl and a guy where the girl effortlessly kicked the guy's ass. A group of us were sort of half-heartedly throwing rocks at one another across a creek (at age 12 or so). This little red-haired kid managed to sling a rock that hit the girls's brother in the leg. She waded across the shallow creek, announcing as she came that she was going to kick the guy's ass. I saw the panicked look in his eyes, not knowing whether he would be more humiliated by running away or by staying and getting whooped. In the end, he stayed and got whooped, which was probably a mistake, because he started crying and making empty threats to go fetch his older brother.

The prologue of the story is that the red haired kid is doing hard time in the penitentiary for being an accessory to murder, after the cops stopped him with a body in the trunk; and the girl is living in a distant state with one of the teachers from my junior high school, whose wife discovered the two of them in flagrante a couple of years after the rock-throwing incident.

It isn't alameida-quality southern gothic, but it's the best I've got.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:46 PM
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249: I've always thought the term "leaf peeper" sounded kind of dirty. Leaves were something we raked, not sat around admiring. Also new to me since I moved to NYC: people go on trips to farms to pick their own produce. They pay money to do this.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:48 PM
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The prologue of the story

Wow, West Virginia *is* backwards!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:49 PM
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Yeah, I mean, like, I've seen plenty of fights. There was the time that me and the other student newspaper geeks wound up at a frat/jock party, and one of our number got in a fight with some assholes about a foosball game of all things. I think that might have been the last time I was imminently worried about my personal safety.
Then there was the time I turned a corner in downtown MPLS and saw 3 or 4 guys kicking another fellow, who was on the ground, for about 30 seconds before they ran off.
And the incident I mentioned awhile back where some old guy was hassling a younger fellow, and the younger guy turned around and popped him one, laying him out.
Coming home late at night once, I saw two homeless fellows having a real battle royale in a bus shelter, but they were so wasted they were only landing about one punch in five, so I doubt they wound up really injuring each other.
I feel like I saw a fight or two when I was living down in Omaha, but I can't really remember the details.
And of course I've seen people ready to mix it up with the Nazis a bunch of times, but that usually winds up being a little bit of shoving before the cops separate us. I mean them.
Saw a really stupid fight on the bus last year. Some dumbass started talking shit to a group of like four young women, they told him to fuck off, he hit one of them, and that set her sister off! She was ready to rip out his throat. Luckily a very large male friend of the women intervened and it fizzled.
So yeah, I'd say I do my level best to stay away from violence of any kind, but when you walk and ride the bus a fair amount, you see a lot more than you do driving around in cars.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:49 PM
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253: Epilogue, epilogue! I was halfway between writing epilogue and postscript.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:51 PM
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250: You'd think that would make me more interested.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:51 PM
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256: Sure. Kill the leaves!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:55 PM
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245: she recently asked me if I'd like to go look at Fall leaves with her.

I'm not much of a one for leaf-peeping, but if the girl* from ttaM's 74 is available, I would be happy to take her to look at some leaves. Or some etchings.

*I'm guessing she's several years older than me, since ttaM is, but still.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:58 PM
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after the cops stopped him with a body in the trunk;

"Sir, can I search your vehicle?"
"No."
"Pretty please."
"No."
"I'll let you run the sirens in my cruiser."
"O.K. Just be quick."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 7:59 PM
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240 242

My favorite Jerry Brown quote :

"The black kids can teach the white kids how to fight and the white kids can teach the black kids how to read,"


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:01 PM
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California! Uber alles!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:03 PM
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A few months ago I was riding the subway when a couple of white, suburban-looking skater kids got on. One of them was shoving people and saying "move it, move it" even though there was plenty of room. (He had a Burton backpack and a Burton logo tattooed on his arm.) I told him to chill out. He bristled and asked if I wanted to take it outside. I stared incredulously. He said,"Yeah, why don't you get off with me at Wall Street and we can settle this." I was amazed. I said, "You mean, like fisticuffs?" He didn't have a good response to that, badgered me a bit more, and finally shut up. He and his silent friend got off at Wall Street.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:18 PM
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209: The best description I've heard of Brooks is that he is a stupid person pretending to be a smart person pretending to be a stupid person.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:23 PM
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but when you walk and ride the bus a fair amount, you see a lot more than you do driving around in cars.

And how.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:24 PM
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262: ... and now that dude's an investment banker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:25 PM
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#260. Hey, baby, America's all about exchanging skills.

nobody ever actually goes looking at leaves to go looking at leaves, do they?

I went looking at leaves last weekend! A mountain, some leaves, abundant sunshine (as the Weather Channel says), and a flask or two of the good stuff all makes for a lovely day.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:26 PM
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further to 263: Here Teo attributes the description to AWB.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:29 PM
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Most recent not-actually a fight I saw: buncha homeless dudes were having a little sidewalk party outside our apartment. They were loud, and one of them had an incredibly screechy voice (seriously it was amazing) but whatever. Gotta have a party somewhere. Still, I could see as they got more and more liquored up that that things were heading for some kind of unfortunate outcome (they'd started being more vocal with passers-by). Eventually, a guy walks buy, they say something to him, he says something sharpish back, and the one guy with the horribly screechy voice totally cracks, starts screaming threats: "I'm gonna kick your ass you son of a bitch come back here and say that yeah I'll come get you!" Screechy actually rises in order to chase down the passerby and kick his ass! But it turns out he could barely walk, so he sort of half-wobbled half-tottered (wottered? tobbled?) after the guy, and eventually gave up.

Eventually the cops showed up with a paddy wagon and took the homeless guys away. They were quiet and coöperative until they were locked into the wagon, then they started hollering to beat the band. The one cop said to the other "you want me to follow you to the station, in case a donnybrook ensues?" which I thought was fantastic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:31 PM
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I took a bike ride up to a local (small) hill this weekend to get a view of some leaves. They're really coming along right at this particular moment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:34 PM
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267: Here.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:35 PM
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249: epicurean sloths

You say that like its a bad thing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:36 PM
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Anyhoo, the last time I was in a situation where a not-very-plausible hint of physical violence was in the air I was in theory the aggressor: Blume and I were riding through Harvard Square and some dumb Harvard kid thought to leap out into the middle of the bike lane right in front of her (I had already ridden past). To my mind this was an idiotic and dangerous thing to do, so I stopped my bike and strode purposefully back towards him to yell at him. In retrospect (and, okay, half-intentionally) this must have seemed a bit threatening, because he sort of cowered and two of his friends took it upon themselves to "get his back" and point out to me that he was really drunk. I pointed out that being drunk wasn't a particularly good excuse, and if he'd managed to get my wife run over by a taxi wouldn't he feel bad, and then we all went on our way.

Meanwhile, Blume had been perfectly capable of avoiding him, but had instead decided, if he didn't get out of her way, to ram him with her basket.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:38 PM
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271: Being picky probably isn't the best trait when you move that slowly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:40 PM
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"You mean, like fisticuffs?"

That is awesome.

in case a donnybrook ensues?

That is awesomer.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:43 PM
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272: There's a guy who stuck a car bumper on the front of his bike. It might make ramming easier, though I think he did it to keep cars away from his side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:44 PM
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but had instead decided, if he didn't get out of her way, to ram him with her basket

I didn't actually intend to hit him (and didn't), I just swerved toward him to give him more of a scare.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:48 PM
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though I think he did it to keep cars away from his side

The only way this could be awesome is if he had a controller that would make it turn vertical for when he wanted to be close to cars, speeding past them at a backed-up light.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:49 PM
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The only way this could be awesome is if he had a controller that would make it turn vertical for when he wanted to be close to cars, speeding past them at a backed-up light swing up over top of the bike and gyrate sufficiently to generate lift. WEEEE HELICOPTERBIKE!!!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:54 PM
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277: It's held on by those rubber cargo straps with hooks. This guy looks like he might be limited in his financial resources. One day I saw him walking the bike with a flat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:55 PM
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It's held on by those rubber cargo straps with hooks

Um, bungee cords?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:57 PM
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280: I don't think these count as bungee cords.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:58 PM
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Although it does say "bungee strap" in the page title. It's a big mystery!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:59 PM
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280: Somebody told me that wasn't the right name for them. Then I forgot the right name. But, yes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 8:59 PM
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They're Molded Rubber Ladder Cargo Straps. What's the mystery?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:05 PM
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No. It was something really short, like 'Nilla Wafers. Except the last word was "strap."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:08 PM
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'Nilla Strap? Wafer Strap? Nilstrap? Wafstrap?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:13 PM
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This one time I was listening to some guy explain how to do something vaguely technical, and he kept using the phrase "hook-and-loop fasteners". Took me far too long to realize dude was talking about Velcro.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:14 PM
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If my bike was about 1 inch bigger in any dimension it wouldn't fit in my car. As it is, the handlebars got significantly bent the last time I drove to the bike riding place and I had not brought the Allen wrench, so I spent the whole time with the right hand about a foot in front of the left hand as if preparing to go in counterclockwise circles. Hopefully every oncoming cyclist thought I was about to crash into them.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:14 PM
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Occy strap. Wiki says that is a term for the cheap kind used for cargo, the black rubber ones, not the fancy ones for outdoorsy stuff or sky diving. And that's what this guy had.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:20 PM
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289: It also says that's the name used in Australia. You're gonna trust those louts?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:29 PM
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||

I got home kinda late from work but went for a quick run anyway. I've just now discovered (while trying to pee) that, after my post-run shower, I apparently put my boxers on backwards. And it's late enough in the evening that it's really not something I'm going to bother fixing.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:39 PM
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'Nilla Strap? Wafer Strap? Nilstrap? Wafstrap?

Strapwafel!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:39 PM
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And it's late enough in the evening that it's really not something I'm going to bother fixing.

Ok, but you dealt with it at least enough to pee unproblematically, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 9:59 PM
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I'm sitting in a puddle of urine, but it isn't a problem.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:01 PM
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293: Pee delivery to the toilet bowl was an unqualified success after some, um, adjustments.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:04 PM
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you guys crack me the fuck up. hook'em unfogged wooo!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 10:43 PM
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David Brooks is a dumb man pretending to be a smart man pretending to be a dumb man. -- AWB on this. (Schott, how could you?)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-25-10 11:25 PM
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Hmmm, I've grown up fairly sheltered, but still managed to get into a fair few fights at school ; th usual rosebottle/snowball (with or without stones in them) battles between our x-tian and their public school, a few rounds with the school not quite bully (very impulsive kid from the orphanage, not bad at heart, just easily triggered), some unfortunate altercations later in life, including the time I put a well over two metre cabbie in a bear hug as it seemed he was going to work over a colleague with a jack.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:32 AM
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Also new to me since I moved to NYC: people go on trips to farms to pick their own produce. They pay money to do this.

Well, sure; hippiedom and geekery are getting played out.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:41 AM
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re: 258

I can't think of anyone you'd like less! At the time I was about 17, but E' was in her mid-20s, so she'd be in her mid-40s now. However, the real issue would be that she's a straight-up racist with skinhead affiliations. We were reasonably good friends for a while -- she was a bit of a mother hen figure for a few of the people who hung out on our town's mixed skin/punk/metal scene, and we lived on the same council estate -- but she and her sister got feather-cuts and started dating a couple of the 'alpha' skinheads who were very much NOT 'S.H.A.R.P' skins.* So we stopped hanging out, as I couldn't listen to the racism. I don't know how things ended for them, but at least one of the twins ended up going to jail for a short sentence for covering for her boyfriend [drug possession].

* combat 18 affiliations, Blood and Honour, the whole shit ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:42 AM
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Come to think of it, why should Coates have had to worry about his future at the Atlantic for almost getting in a fight as long as old two by four is still writing there?


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 1:08 AM
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nobody ever actually goes looking at leaves to go looking at leaves, do they?
...
I went looking at leaves last weekend! A mountain, some leaves, abundant sunshine ...

Like Populuxe, I also went looking at leaves recently--when I was up in Maine for a wedding; the day after the Hold Steady concert, in fact. Also lovely, though a bit too early for it to be really stunning, and recent rains meant most of the pretty leaves were on the ground.

But there was also sex-stuff on top of the mountain.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 1:26 AM
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I completely forgot about the only "fight" I ever got into as an adult. It was in the University town two stops o the train beyond asilonville and I was walking home at closing time with the future Mrs y and another friend when some prospective David Cameron types, also 2M1F, decided to wind us up for the hell of it (they do that).

We ignored them until they started getting underfoot, at which point the other bloke in our party wrapped one of them effortlessly round the bike he was pushing and dropped him in the gutter. The future Mrs y grabbed the girl by the collar and screamed abuse in her face until she fell to her knees, which left me with the other guy. He was about 6' to my 5' 3", but I shaped up to him anyway, since I clearly had enough back-up. So he put his hands in front of his face and started running backwards, yelling, "Please don't hit me!"

Then a cop car came by, so we calmly crossed the road and they got arrested, as far as we could see. Not really a fight by most definitions, though. More pest control.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 1:45 AM
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No more masturbating to Paul the Octopus.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:49 AM
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||
NMM to Paul the psychic octopus.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:49 AM
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Damn.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:50 AM
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It's like foolishmortal read my mind!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:51 AM
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I think Pulpo Paul speaks to and through all of us.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:57 AM
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301

Come to think of it, why should Coates have had to worry about his future at the Atlantic for almost getting in a fight as long as old two by four is still writing there?

Coates was worried about what would have happened if he had actually gotten into a fight not about any bad consequences from what actually happened.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:07 AM
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I once got into a fight with Hitler outside a Des Moines area Sonic. He'd shaved the 'stache and taken some kind of anti-aging thing so that he didn't look a day over 70, but you could still tell it was him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:26 AM
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||

http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/not-so-sweet/Content?oid=1319017

More on the bee thing: "Honestly," Henderson says, "we feel like we're being persecuted by a fanatic religion.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:31 AM
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NMM to Paul the psychic octopus.

Was there ever an explanation/defense of this meme? (I spent like 40s RingTFA.) I mean, what is it about a person being dead that makes masturbating to the thought of them categorically impermissible?


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:32 AM
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x. trapnel: objectively necrophiliac.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:33 AM
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A necrophiliac with a cephalopod fetish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:35 AM
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Which probably works better together than either separately.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:36 AM
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315 was also me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:36 AM
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312: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2007_02_25.html#006374


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:43 AM
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||My mom went to the ER this morning for some weird pain (she is ok!). They were like, Oh, pain? Have some morphine. They always do this for my mom. Headache? Morphine would be good. CA on the other hand could show up in a doctor's office with rebar sticking out of his forehead and the docs would say, Yeah sure, pally. Have some Tylenol. |>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:48 AM
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Ok, thank you, Apo. As for Sifu & Moby - you guys are meanies.

Savage's reasoning raises interesting questions about fantasies concerning pure fiction. The whole paranormal romance genre, for example--also essentially creepy & hopeless?


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:57 AM
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318: Is CA a bad tipper?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 6:57 AM
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The whole paranormal romance genre, for example--also essentially creepy & hopeless?

You really have to ask?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:00 AM
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Never mind Sifu. He's on "Team Jacob" and very upset.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:04 AM
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I remembered that thread, but I'm surprised that teo was the first to use the formulation "No more masturbating to...".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:05 AM
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re: 318

This is one of the ways in which medicine is gendered. I've had similar experiences.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:06 AM
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324: Yup.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:12 AM
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318: Reminds me of that Onion point-counterpoint where the old person complains that youth is wasted on the young, and the young person complains that the best drugs are wasted on the old.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:12 AM
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300: Man, ain't that always the way? There's some reformed neo-Nazi skins who are okay though. I can always hope.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:12 AM
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This is one of the ways in which medicine is gendered. I've had similar experiences.

This may well be quite finely-grained, though. One example on the other side of things: Ing/rid Rob/eyns has an interesting post on CT about why so few (~15%) Dutch mothers get pain medication during labor, which, though it mostly posts to political-economy factors, also brings up cultural ones.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:13 AM
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327 was me, obviously.

How 'bout that Rand Paul curbstomp video though? Pretty crazy, huh?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:14 AM
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'posts to' s/b 'points to,' damnit.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:14 AM
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On the gendered medicine thing, I've had pretty much the same experience, although my friend who is very large and has many, many health problems, seems to get the good stuff without even trying. His doctor actually says things like "The important thing is that we make sure that you aren't in any pain." I really should see if she's taking new patients.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:16 AM
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328: Oh, for sure. That is a case where many seem to think women *ought* to be in pain.* There was an article in the Guardian semi-recently that had the (ahem, male) head of a midwifery group insisting that epidurals were evil because pain is part of the "initiation" into motherhood and that being unwilling to suffer that pain was a sign of selfishness and unpreparedness to endure the (usually more metaphorical) pains of motherhood. The commenters then suggested that fathers ought to be tortured in the waiting room.

*Curse of Eve and all that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:18 AM
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Fights in my (private, middle class to super rich) school were rare after junior high but they did occur. My last one in school was in eighth grade when I got fed up with a bully and took a swing at him. I was getting pummeled until my best friend intervened and beat the crap out of the bully. That was the last of the bullying. One summer in my college years I kicked a skinhead in the balls off of Vaclavske Nameste. Dude was trying to mug me, a bunch of his bald buddies were standing about twenty meters away and there was a cop about a hundred meters in the other direction. I kneed and ran towards to cop. The same summer I was saved from a beat down by two drunks right outside the Palace of Culture by my girlfriend who shamed them by saying that if they beat up an American they'd bring shame on Poland.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:28 AM
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Speaking of Brooks, Bill Kristol is speaking here tomorrow on "What Will Happen Next Week?" My thought is just to wait until next week to find out rather than listening to Bill smirk about it, but I suppose I could go heckle.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:36 AM
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I sometimes wonder what it is that people who pick fights are hoping to achieve.

In high school there was a guy who made it his mission to beat me up, except that he had a curious code of honour whereby he couldn't just attack me, I had to agree to it. So he followed me around school, calling me names, pushing me about, and basically begging me for a fight. After a few months of this, I gave in and said I'd fight him. Whereupon he beat me to a bloody pulp. While I was in hospital, he was expelled from school.

So what was that all about? It was clearly a deliberately planned campaign of action on his part, not just a momentary surge of testosterone. Was he sick of school and trying to get expelled? Did he hate me so much that the pleasure of smashing my face in was worth it? I didn't understand it then and I understand it even less now.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:54 AM
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335: If you were a girl, they'd say he did it because he loved you.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:02 AM
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Seems like there would be quicker ways of getting expelled, were that his goal.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:08 AM
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It doesn't sound as if this makes sense in context, but some kind of status ladder thing? Beating you, specificially, up, would move him up the next grade on some ladder in his head?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:12 AM
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It's odd to see someone using the name "Ulysses S. Grant" write the phrase "in hospital".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:14 AM
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Semi-related:


This
is the outcome of the case I mentioned here a few years ago, right after it happened. I'm not sure if the witness mentioned in the article is my friend, or someone else. What the article doesn't go into was that this was yet another case of someone having a mental health breakdown and ending up dead at the hands of the MPD.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:19 AM
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||

How true, how true: ""Sex in a Slanket just isn't the same."

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 8:44 AM
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339: "It is safe to say that more than half the National army was engaged in guarding lines of supplies, or were on leave, sick in hospital or on detail which prevented their bearing arms."


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 9:14 AM
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335:So what was that all about?

Repressed homosexual


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 9:41 AM
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I've missed McManus.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 9:58 AM
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168/191 There is both fact and fiction in 168. I have been in a few scuffles (three to be exact), but only one was with a girl. The lady in question was with a group of thug party crashers at a family friend's home. The parents were away, most of the under age revelers were outside, and this foursome kept sneaking in trying to steal both alcohol and artwork from the house. After giving them a stern warning about calling the police (clearly a bluff with all the underage drinking), I herded them out of the house and as they were descending the steep deck stairs, I turned the hose on them. Full blast. Very Cold. This enraged the young woman, who turned around and grabbed me by the collar and we went tumbling together down the stairs. Sadly for her, although I was young and petite, I was incredibly strong for my size and a very good wrestler. Sadly for me, all that water from the hose created a mud puddle at the bottom of the stairs, and all of the boys at the party who were my *friends* started yelling: "Mud Wrestling!!! $20.00 on Fleur!" I sat on her chest to keep her pinned down. I did not want the fight to escalate and called for help, but apparently the entertainment and shock value were just too much for people to come to my aid. Furious with my *friends*, I was distracted by trying to attain their assistance. Then the young woman lunged her head forward like a viper and sunk her brace clad teeth into my rear. She drew blood! So then I hurt her a little and her friends carried her away.
That little story is for you, Will!


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 10:22 AM
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So great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 10:25 AM
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Also it reminds me that one time my prissy upper East side Jewish grandmother got into an honest-to-god fistfight* with her sister-in-law at the clubhouse of their country club.

They'd been playing couples golf, the story goes, and there was a discrepancy in possible rules for determining who should tee off next. They squabbled on the course, but then over dinner they totally lost their shit and went for hand-to-hand combat.

Also I'm rooting for the sister-in-law whenever this story comes up. Granny was a royal bitch.

*Would either of them have known how to actually throw a punch? I know for sure it was a physical fight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 10:29 AM
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I have been in a few scuffles (three to be exact), but only one was with a girl.

I just reminded Fleur that she's forgetting one episode that I remember.

Also, "I hurt her a little" is a euphemism for "I grabbed her by the hair and repeatedly pounded her face against the (soft, muddy) ground.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 11:09 AM
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Fleur!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 11:51 AM
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Biting isn't nice, Charley.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:07 PM
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Actually, biting is often quite helpful, Fleur.


Posted by: Local Leeches' Union Rep | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:10 PM
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345, 348, 350: That young woman should consider herself lucky to have survived with major limbs intact!

350: Fleur, I'm sure Charley was just expressing joy at your presence and no rebuke was intended.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:17 PM
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Then the young woman lunged her head forward like a viper and sunk her brace clad teeth into my rear.

One has led a worthwhile life if one can include this sentence in their autobiography.



Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:43 PM
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So then I hurt her a little and her friends carried her away.

In my world, this phrase is usually used by a bad-ass person who should never be crossed.

I want Fleur on the lawyer team.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:45 PM
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That's the best fight story ever. Although your friends should have been spoken sharply to for not managing the situation better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:45 PM
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LB! You dont believe her version completely, do you?!?!

"I sprayed her with the hose...."
and then "accidently" ended up wrestling with her in the mud????

This is the badass girl version of kissing another girl at a party.

She left out the part where she was wearing a bikini and won $200.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 12:51 PM
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your friends should have been spoken sharply to for not managing the situation better.

They didn't even try to sell tickets.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 1:38 PM
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Funnily enough Will, the house party in question did take place on a beach front property. And sadly and in all seriousness, some of my male *friends* did throw bills on us when I was initially calling for help and restraining her. The pain of her teeth tearing into my flesh took any potential humor out of the situation for me (and subsequently, for her). When her boyfriend helped her hobble off, I grabbed all the money within reach and tore it to shreds. It was a surreal moment when I realized that some of the people I chose to socialize with were such assholes-standing around cheering while I was holding her down and yelling for help. I am sure that I looked slightly psychotic while I was tearing the money up, screaming profanities and insults about their manhood, covered with mud. I did have clothes on over my bikini. My friend's brother was in med school and kindly saw that the injury I sustained in defending his family home did not get infected. As we all know, the human bite is very dangerous, and my would had to be well cleaned.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 2:22 PM
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You rule, Fleur.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 2:28 PM
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Fleur, I can offer you a three picture deal, but we're gonna need to see some skin.


Posted by: Zombie Russ Meyer | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 2:33 PM
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352.2 is correct. It's a style thing. And don't worry, I won't be going to your house unless invited (and will leave promptly when asked to do so).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 2:59 PM
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I want Fleur on the lawyer team.

Will, dude, I think I detect a pattern in your attempts to recruit people for your various schemes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 3:05 PM
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Uhh, the second link in 362 should have gone to this.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 3:13 PM
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361- You are invited any time you are in our area! Just make sure KR is around because while I may be a good bouncer, I can't cook worth a damn.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 3:19 PM
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362, 3: I really need to get the fuck off the internet, but following the link in that thread to the wikipedia entry on Fucking, Austria led to this delightful "See Also" section:

See also

Anus, France
Condom, France
Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador
Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Pussy, France
Shitterton, England
Tittybong, Victoria
Wank (mountain)
Tarsdorf
Pale lager

Huh-huh, hey Beavis...


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 3:30 PM
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365: As noted in another thread, I was in Wankers Corner a few days ago. I was going to a nearby megachurch, which I was saddened to learn was not exactly located in Wankers Corner.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:09 PM
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Can't forget Athol, Mass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:09 PM
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There's a "Wan King Road" in Hong Kong.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:36 PM
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My reference above to Butte, America might have been obscure.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:41 PM
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There's also half a dozen or so villages in Austria that go by the name of "Windpassing".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:43 PM
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|| My office is on the 3d floor; the bank on the ground floor was robbed today. Man in his 60s, took off with $700, went across the street to a coffee place and called a cab. We have 3 or 4. Cab comes. At first he doesn't know where he wants to go: somewhere on the U campus. He can't name a building, though, so instead directs the driver to a riverside motel. And to stop on the way at a convenience store for a couple packs of cigarettes. Pulled up at the hotel, paid the driver $25 on a $7 ride, and then got the meet the whole police department. My secretary tells me that our jail doesn't allow smoking: How many years are those smokes going to keep?|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 5:58 PM
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From the link in 341:

Sure, some require better-than-average physical dexterity and a low shame threshold, but they can be done," Friedman said.

New mouseover?

371 seems kinda sad. Poor dude.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 7:23 PM
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369,370: Windy Butte.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 10:00 PM
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Dick, Michigan before it dicks you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-26-10 10:16 PM
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Pratt's Bottom, Kent.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-27-10 12:54 AM
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