Re: If you need an emetic, this is it.

1

That's stupid enough to have been written by McMegan.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:00 PM
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"teacherpreneurship"

I think that says it all.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:03 PM
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You never hear about "whorepreneurship", even though it happens every day.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:08 PM
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Assuming you want freelance teachers and teachers to defend students with their personal concealed weapons, you've got to have some way to align the incentives. Mercenaries tended to run far more easily than regular troops if there wasn't some high degree of professionalism.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:17 PM
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Most of them hope to accumulate enough teaching experience to become tenured at a university

Oh, is that how it works?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:21 PM
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Hmm. I think I'll stick with the Evan Mecham Eco-Terrorism International Conspiracy. Do you have anything in a diuretic?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:37 PM
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Wait, I don't get it. Who is appeasing whom?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:49 PM
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5: The really good departments are headed by folks that are like Pokemon masters. They both collect and level their menagerie.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:51 PM
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Why would one assume that "senior/experienced faculty" would necessarily be any good at directing large online courses? (That is of course only one of a gazillion questions one could ask of that post.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 6:54 PM
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Right, I got no further than "teacherpreneur." Emetic indeed. Tonstant Bwogger fwowed up.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:07 PM
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(That is of course only one of a gazillion questions one could ask of that post.)

Indeed, you are entirely correct.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:08 PM
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Do you have anything in a diuretic?

Coffee.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:11 PM
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It pairs nicely with the article down the page explaining that "personal development" is the third most popular adult education subject, after writing terrible memoirs and learning to make tat to not sell on Etsy.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:15 PM
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Is the stock photo of someone holding $100 CAN meant to illustrate the approximate amount these teacherpreneurs are paid per class per semester?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:32 PM
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One of the many boggling aspects of the linked post, as well as the post to which it links, is the degree to which this is presented as a fresh new consideration. I mean, did they seriously not talk to anyone who already works as a freelancer? In any industry?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:33 PM
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The whole thing made me think of that "Spirit fingers! Spirit fingers!" bit from "Bring it On".


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:34 PM
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Maybe because "teacherpreneur" reminded me of "Cheertator".


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:37 PM
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16: I actually watched that movie with the special commentary tracks. The director really thought it was totally "punk rock." I was charmed.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:39 PM
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I should note that I love that movie with all of my heart. (Although, as this article notes, it's totally bullshit that Torrence and Missy didn't end up together.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:43 PM
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the degree to which this is presented as a fresh new consideration

That's a not-unfamiliar journalistic conceit, or approach, it seems: Hey, look, we thought of this thing, some other people are thinking about it too ... it looks like it might be trending....


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:43 PM
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Well, yes, you're right. I guess I just remain surprised at the shamelessness of it. I mean, aren't they embarrassed? I would be horrified to have published something so ignorant.

(Maybe this reveals my inherent old-fashionedness. I do still think of blog posts as something that passes through something resembling an editorial process, even if it's in the body of one person.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 7:51 PM
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I don't know anything about journalism, but in the spirit of that blog post, let me hypothesize ex recto: I suspect some of this is that the norms of journalism, as a profession with its practices, grew up around reporting "news", that is, stuff that just happened. Which is why the journalistic style, and journalistic practices, are so focused on sources--cultivating them and talking to them. If you want to know what just happened, you talk to someone who was there and ask them. Now that's a stupid way to approach a complex question about social systems, but if you're used to the norms of journalism rather than research, your instinct is to talk to someone in the thick of things and ask them questions, rather than look up a good review article.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:01 PM
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I would be embarrassed, yes, but I think journalistic/blog-posting standards aren't all that. (If anything, this reveals my age: I'm tending to think that far too much 'content' is written by 23-year-olds.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:03 PM
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if you're used to the norms of journalism rather than research, your instinct is to talk to someone in the thick of things and ask them questions

Except they didn't! AFAICT they did not talk to one single person who has worked as a freelancer! This is the part that truly boggles.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:05 PM
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Except they didn't! AFAICT they did not talk to one single person who has worked as a freelancer! This is the part that truly boggles.

You're right about the post in the OP, but it's built around a post from someone else, and that one in turn is drawing on a bunch of sources (the "Teacher Leaders Network"!) in what I take to be a much more journalistic way (in the "asking experts" mold). Or at least that's how I'll rationalize what I said above.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:17 PM
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Ok, no, I take it back; this blog is clearly just self-promoting another bubbly startup, and it's not a value-enhancing proposition to put real effort into it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:19 PM
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If you want to know what just happened, you talk to someone who was there and ask them. Now that's a stupid way to approach a complex question about social systems, but if you're used to the norms of journalism rather than research, your instinct is to talk to someone in the thick of things and ask them questions, rather than look up a good review article.

Both the strengths and the weaknesses of this approach are particularly evident in science journalism, where the standard approach to reporting on an allegedly groundbreaking paper seems to be to call up some scientists (usually one or two who were involved with the research and one in the same field who was not) and print what they say, as opposed to, say, reading the paper.

Now, obviously, a given science journalist can't possibly know enough about every highly specialized scientific subdiscipline to be able to just read any paper that appears and situate it properly in the context of other research, so this approach is pretty necessary if we're going to have science journalism in general-interest media outlets at all. And if the journalist chooses the right scientists to call, the resulting article can even be an informative popularization of some interesting research. But all too often the reporter doesn't call the right scientists, or doesn't ask them the right questions, and the article is either totally wrong or highly misleading about the actual import of the finding.

This sort of thing is why I consider the sort of blogging I do quite distinct from science journalism, at least as it's usually practiced. I certainly am popularizing and explaining (social) scientific findings to a lay audience, but with very different methods based primarily on reading the research rather than talking to the researchers. The disadvantage is that this takes a long time and only works well in cases where I know a lot about the subject already or can put in even more time to read up on a new subject.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:27 PM
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19: I just may know all of the words from the opening cheer (though Bring it On is no Legally Blonde).


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 8:54 PM
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27: And also why you're more reliable than, say, Gina Kolata.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:12 PM
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(I have a sort of a grudge against Gina Kolata.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:14 PM
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Aw, thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:23 PM
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(Though it sounds like that might be faint praise.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:23 PM
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No, no, just an explanation as to why I picked on her on particular.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:34 PM
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What do you have against her specifically?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:37 PM
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I'm sure Kolata's no worse than many others, but when my mother had ovarian cancer, Kolata had a front-page article that incorrectly suggested a significant breakthrough in treatment. It was the usual kind of mediocre science reporting, but I took it personally.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 9:48 PM
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3: Presumably whorepreneurship is useful in discussions of erotic capital ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 11:51 PM
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27 --- also journalists are often reliant on being fed lines by sources & this kinda falls apart when the sources aren't very good at it.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 11:55 PM
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Without questioning the glibly nauseating vacuity of the link, isn't freelance or loosely affiliated professors being chosen individually by students vaguely how 18th century universities worked?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 12-28-12 11:57 PM
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Earlier than 18th, I think, and not all universities, but it did work for a while.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:31 AM
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The link in the OP borders on looking like auto-generated text or at least the kind of text you might find on a cheap marketing site that's been set up to poach on a domain name.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:57 AM
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poach, perch, whatever. I'm not sure what word I wanted there.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:57 AM
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Also, the domain name suggests they got pre-disemvoweled.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:00 AM
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Teofilo: Gina Kolata is bad - no argument there. I reviewed a book of hers on Dolly the sheep and it was pure journalism in the bad sense. But the stuff you do is just about impossible for a working staff journalist nowadays, at least in this country. Everything is written straight off the press releases, unless there is an embargo, and the paper has been issued in advance. Even the quotes and the people to go to for quotes are mostly suggested by the PR machines of whichever university is plugging itself.

This isn't just a problem with science journalism. Remember the gospel of Jesus' wife? It was perfectly clear, within a week, that the whole thing was a forgery made possible by modern technology (essentially, digital editions of real gnostic gospels; very good coptic fonts available for free download). But to establish that, you needed to have read the paper with the eye of a trained scholar in a particular, fairly arcane subfield of biblical studies. I'm a reasonably expert journalist in that field, and I didn't have any immediate contacts, though I found them. They hadn't read the paper at first. It took about a week for their consensus to form. In the meantime, here was a story that everyone wanted to read - ie hits, ie, possibly having the mortgage paid next year - with the imprimatur of Harvard and a couple of names on the press release of people who knew something about the subject and had made fools of themselves. So there was a choice of false, popular story now, or true, dull story in a week's time. In mass market journalism that's no choice at all.

And remember that the people who know enough to tell that a story's bullshit also have other things to do with their time.

I try to keep my own corner of the sewer clean. But there's a lot of shit washed down every day.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 2:38 AM
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But the stuff you do is just about impossible for a working staff journalist nowadays, at least in this country.

Oh, no question, and I'm not suggesting journalists should try to do what I do. It's a totally different endeavor from journalism. I just find it interesting to see the very different approaches to popularizing scholarly research between the world of science journalism and the world of science blogging (which is more or less where I see myself falling, although I'm kind of in my own little niche both thematically and methodologically).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 2:53 AM
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So there was a choice of false, popular story now, or true, dull story in a week's time. In mass market journalism that's no choice at all.

Okay, but do you think things are really hopeless, due to sad features of human psychology, or is this "no choice at all" due to contingent features of the journalism ecosystem? I'd like to think the latter.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:14 AM
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Tellingly, I hadn't known that the Gospel of Jesus' Wife was a fake until reading this thread. The original story about the "discovery" was on the front page of the NYT, IIRC.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 7:35 AM
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And, actually, googling around a bit, it seems that absolutely the best journalism on the Jesus' Wife thing, the good careful journalism explaining the forgery, is being done by Nworb and pretty much no other paid journalist. Good work dude.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:03 AM
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the good careful journalism explaining the forgery, is being done by Nworb and pretty much no other paid journalist. Good work dude.

Agreed and totally pwned by Halford.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:21 AM
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Science journalism is a fucking disgrace. Every time I accidentally read a science article, I have to google for some blogs on it to find out what lies I accidentally believed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:23 AM
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It's not just science journalism, of course. Although maybe science journalism is worse than most subspecies because most reporters aren't knowledgeable enough for their bullshit meters to work.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:33 AM
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Ugh, science journalism. Every article ever written about fundamental physics interviews a subset of the same 10 people, whether they know anything about the topic or not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:34 AM
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Sports journalism is bad, when it is bad, not because the journalists aren't able to tell what is bullshit, but because they (or, rather their employers) have business reasons to tell stories in a certain way.

I find that consumption during the 1998-2009 period burned away nearly all my tolerance for bullshit journalism, and so I can no longer watch any on television, and can read only stories directly brought to my attention (eg by you folks) in any of the major papers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:40 AM
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Science at least gets some [often poor, as per previous comments] coverage in the press. History/archaeology some, but less. Almost all other academic disciplines, none at all. Again, with Nworb as an honourable exception.

I expect we all have our personal bugbears. Like a lot of people with a background in philosophy my own personal pet hate is really bad* undergraduate level philosophy, presented as new and insightful when spouted by a scientist (esp. neuro- or physicist).

* badly informed, often repeating ancient (literally) arguments as if new (because scientist either doesn't know or doesn't care about other disciplines), often dismissive of the existing literature, poorly argued, generally embarrassingly shitty.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:57 AM
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Man, do 53.2 and .3 get it right.

50: Although maybe science journalism is worse than most subspecies because most reporters aren't knowledgeable enough for their bullshit meters to work.

It strikes me that there are any number of ways to measure "worse" here. A lot of education (reform) journalism is so glib and/or mistaken and/or boneheadedly naive or clearly agenda-driven as to be disgusting, and I tend to condemn it all the more for the stakes at hand. Yet I doubt that the problem is that the subject matter is, in itself, too difficult.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:04 AM
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53: ttaM, have you seen the "Inventing on Principle" talk that made the rounds a while back? There's some bad undergraduate level philosophy (and as far as I can tell some sophomoric engineering principles, too) for you—just the thing if you still need an emetic!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:07 AM
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54.3 -- Right. Surely journalists know they're being scammed by education reformers, right? Or are in on the scam, as the case may be. My uninformed guess is that journalists are less likely to know they are being scammed on general science stuff, and almost certainly not in on the scam. Not 'worse' is a moral sense, and quite probably not 'worse' in terms of correspondence to reality. 50 partially retracted.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:13 AM
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do you think things are really hopeless, due to sad features of human psychology, or is this "no choice at all" due to contingent features of the journalism ecosystem? I'd like to think the latter.
||
Wow. You get some truly interesting markup when typing with the keyboard set to Swedish
|>
I think both: there will always be a market for trash, and a huge amount of talk about things where people really have no interest at all in the truth of what they are saying. See Hazlitt on Coffee Houses. So to that extent I blame the veldt. But it's also true that the particular ecosystem of current journalism militates against careful and honest reporting. That's transient. When once we rediscover how to make money from being scrupulous and clever, that kind of thing will reappear. But it won't be free, and it will be priced at what the rather small market will bear. Think of the Economist, or the FT.

The underlying point is that truth has a financial value only when we have to take decisions based on it. Most of what is in the paper, and still more on television news, involves nothing whatsoever that the consumers can affect (when it's not about purchasing decisions). So most of it is just entertainment for stupid ignorant people who don't care, and whose sensibilities to the possible underlying human have been successively scraped away by years of exposure to this stuff.

But I *know* from the graundia's logs that our readership is overwhelmingly composed of people skiving off from work. They don't want to think. They want something to block out the horrible reality of cubicle life.

Cheerful today, aren't I?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:17 AM
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re: 55

I haven't. I'm not generally in need of an emetic, though. I've been in a misanthropic rage all month.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:18 AM
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They don't want to think. They want something to block out the horrible reality of cubicle life.

They might want to think about things other than what's afforded them in their narrow cubes—indeed, part of the reality of cubicle life for some might be the limited opportunity for thought in the first place.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:22 AM
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I wrote a long piece about how fucked the whole business was for a conference a couple of years ago, and delivered it in the presence of one of the worst journalists I know - a woman of great energy who has no idea at all of what it might mean for a story to be true: all she cares about is the kind of decomposed remains of truth that could be defended in a courtroom (like the US cult of "objectivity": it is "true" that opinions differ on the flatness of the earth). That's where the Hazlitt stuff comes from, because his ~1820 essay had the whole Internet thing right down.
The essay came out in a book a couple of months ago, and rereading it I was a little shocked by how right I had been, or perhaps how little I have learned since then.
But I could rant on for hours - if anyone wants the piece write to me as andrew at the worm book dot com without any spaces.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:25 AM
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Three backwards elpoep in a row!
Anyway, neb, I hope you're right about at least some of them. The ones who comment mostly refuse -- with impressive consistency -- such opportunities as they have to think .


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:29 AM
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47,48: thank you


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:30 AM
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54

... Yet I doubt that the problem is that the subject matter is, in itself, too difficult.

Many people are easily intimidated by mathematical BS. See this recent post by Kevin Drum.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:38 AM
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They might want to think about things other than what's afforded them in their narrow cubes

Migrating the discussion slightly, what are people's experiences in cubicle culture? I've never worked in one myself, though I've worked in an office at which I had a desk which was mine.

I haven't known many people who know that environment. The one who reports most about it says that people are really, erm, brain-dead, having turned themselves off. They talk about American Idol at the water cooler. They engage in petty workplace grudges. Their hobbies include paintball or softball leagues on the weekends, but in general it seems that they don't get out much.

That's a pretty grim picture, and with reportage this low (n=1), I can't tell how accurate it is as to the mental whateverness of those who work in a cubicle environment.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:49 AM
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I work in a cubicle type office. It's fine. Most of my colleagues are programmers, ex-academics or librarians. I can't say we have super-intellectual chats all day long, but the people are fairly interesting* and people's hobbies are about as interesting or not interesting as anywhere else. I don't think people are prone to pursuing petty grudges, and while there are a few arseholes, people are generally pretty decent.

I've worked in some shitty ones in the past. I've been a call-centre worker a few times, both as a front-line flunky and in management, and those are shitty workplaces, but it's not the cubicle-farm nature of the environment that makes them shitty.

* not damning with faint praise, I'm sure they'd say the same about me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:53 AM
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What does "cubicle culture" mean?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:58 AM
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66: Proposing: desk/symbolic/computer employment in which the employees are meant to be easily replaced, so they are trained to e nearly equivalent, and to have little autonomy, so they have no privacy nor illusion thereof.

Some right considerable time ago, Microsoft was dinged legally for hiring temps who were effectively employees; they did formally hire some of the positions under dispute, but the rest were moved into cubicles. Previously, they had had offices with doors that were allowed to be closed, although temps were most likely to share offices when a group was crowded.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:03 AM
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it's not the cubicle-farm nature of the environment that makes them shitty

Yeah, I was wondering about that.

Nworb referred to "cubicle life", and it's something one sees mentioned here and there -- we tend to think or pretend we know what's meant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:03 AM
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`Prairie-dog' height cubicles are creepy because of the asymmetric obervation: when sitting down working, one is blinkered, but a standing person can see into several cubicles at once.

Contrariwise, my father was surprised and pleased by a traditional Japanese office in which everyone sat at desks in a completely open-plan office, but (a) everyone, including the top boss on the floor, same open plan, and (b) the social norm was that no-one should interrupt you while you were typing, reading, staring into the middle distance, or indeed sitting with your eyes closed. That was presumed to be thought. Only when you broke into speech or had a phone call would anyone distract you (usually into a lunch or conference room).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:08 AM
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it's not the cubicle-farm nature of the environment that makes them shitty

Exactly. I spent several years working withthis cubicle-type office and didn't meet a lot of brain-dead people.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:09 AM
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68 crossed with 67.

67.2 describes the employment atmosphere and experience of my sole reporter on cubicle life.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:09 AM
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So here is a song to rive away all these gloomy thoughts. Hell, all gloom, and all thoughts. Bonus points for anyone who can identify the players.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:10 AM
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Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Richard Green, Taj Mahal, and David Nichtern?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:12 AM
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70 is precious; I don't think the space shown would be described as a cubicle farm by anyone. `Open-plan' isn't `cubicle farm'. (Or, as we sometimes called them `veal fattening pens'.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:12 AM
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If that's correct, please direct my bonus points to mpg123.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:13 AM
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Nworb, the article is very interesting. Reading it now. One thing that always occurs to me in these contexts: where has all the money gone?

It hasn't vanished into thin air, and yet everyone, everywhere is struggling to get paid a fair price for anything. It happens at my work place all the time. Academics, publishers, TV production companies. No-one ever wants to pay a fair price. And they'll employ heavy political pressure to get away with not paying it. All the while, conservators, photographers, admin staff, IT people, etc still need to do the work and someone has to pay them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:15 AM
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76: Well, in the States....


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:25 AM
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re: 77

Sure. I'm fairly sure that is a big part of the answer. Rich fuckers stole it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:26 AM
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Proposing: desk/symbolic/computer employment in which the employees are meant to be easily replaced, so they are trained to e nearly equivalent, and to have little autonomy, so they have no privacy nor illusion thereof.

Oh, okay. I've only ever worked in cubicles (sometimes tallish, sometimes short like the ones in Blandings's picture) but the rest doesn't particularly describe most of my jobs. I'm extremely fond of my cubicle right now; I got asked if I wanted to move into an office but I said no because I have one of the best views on the whole floor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:30 AM
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76: in the United States, the money, all of it, has gone to the top earners, who have done incredibly well for themselves over the past thirty years while the rest have seen their wages slashed or their earnings remain flat. It's really as simple as that.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:32 AM
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77: sorry, clew. I really almost never click on links here but should have made an exception in this case.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:33 AM
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I think the uniformity is meant by the `farm' part of `cubicle farm', despite the existence of some permaculture-style, intercropped workspaces (is something organized in a spiral?).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:35 AM
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I'm in a prairie dog cubicle office with twelve other women, including our boss. I like shorter cubicles better, but in theory this is supposed to cut down on the noise. I do have lunch away from the breakroom almost every day because it's my chance to sit with a book and have quiet time to myself. I guess I've been there a decade as of a few weeks ago and am one of the newer employees, so we have an incentive not to hold onto petty grudges, though some do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:35 AM
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81: It was all in the URL!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:36 AM
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1970 was some kind of inflection point.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:38 AM
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It was all in the URL!

I don't even know what this means!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:38 AM
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Whoops, that wasn't the right link.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:40 AM
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73: completely nailed. I don't know how he did it. I had this huge download from dimeadozen, I think, which has some lovely tunes on it. From a 1974 festival at the Golden State College in San Rafael


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:46 AM
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Sure. I've read David Harvey and others on this. I'm sure that is a big part of it. The culture shift in the past 10 years or so has been dramatic, though. The hollowing out is so striking, it feels as if there's an entire other economy happening, somewhere over there. Psychologically the change in work culture has been incredibly rapid.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:48 AM
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where has all the money gone?

Not just the rich fuckers -- if that means top executives -- who have stolen it, but as Nworb's essay reminds: middlemen who control advertising, which delivers eyeballs (consumer/reader attention). Google, and these days Amazon as well, for its brilliance at dissemination.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:50 AM
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76: In our business, the money has gone to Google mostly. It came from advertisers (never really readers) and they now spend it where they get better results.

In general, though, one effect of digitisation has been a massive deskilling of all sorts of trades, not just my own. I have one friend who bought a really lovely house in an acre of nice Hertfordshire downland on the strength of being one of the three people in Britain who could operate a colour video camera some time in the late Sixties. Going to celebrate NYE at the home of two others, who are really skilled and were really successful graphic artists/illustrators. Now they make too little most years to pay any tax at all. It's not that photoshop/illustrator/alamy do what they did nearly as well, but they do it well enough to fool most readers. I'm not going to feel sorry for them, because their daughter sold 277,000 copies of her latest novel last year. gaaaaaaaah

And E.L. James' books made FORTY TWO MILLION pounds last year.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:53 AM
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re: 91.2

Yes. We constantly get asked at my place of work why we employ professionals* to do the photographic work when other institutions use volunteer labour or grad students working for below minimum wage. We also get asked all the time why we charge X to photograph some priceless unique manuscript, when another institution charges X/10. It always turns out that they use unpaid labour, or close to unpaid labour, and do it in a way that runs a high risk of fucking up the books. Opening them to 180 degrees under glass, etc. No-one cares.

* i.e. people on 'tech' grades. None of whom are on massive salaries, but definitely not minimum wage.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:58 AM
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ttaM, you know about photography. Remember Brian Har/ris? who did all those wonderful, and wonderfully printed, Independent b/w shots when it started? He hasn't had a news commission for at least ten years. There are other reasons, but mostly it's that no one cares about the difference that he makes.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:00 PM
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They talk about American Idol at the water cooler. They engage in petty workplace grudges. Their hobbies include paintball or softball leagues on the weekends, but in general it seems that they don't get out much.

Judgy much?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:05 PM
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Yes. It's like that everywhere it seems. It's like a massive emptying out of everything. I have friends from any number of professions who tell a similar story. A deskilling of staff, and a widespread reduction in quality.

Not that it was always in every way better. Everyone knows how shoddy many things were in the past, too. It's not as if the car industry in the 60s and 70s, say, was a beacon. But these are professions or areas of production where, typically, quality levels and skill _were_ always high. Less and less now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:10 PM
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And E.L. James' books made FORTY TWO MILLION pounds last year.

Cry, cry, masturbate, cry.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:16 PM
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94: Not particularly. The comment you quote was in the spirit of 57 upthread, as the chain of comments went: there's a specific worry at hand about whether enough people are interested in accurate, detailed, and truthful reporting, and if they're not, because their interests lie utterly elsewhere, well, that would in part explain why the latter is decline.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:16 PM
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I got asked if I wanted to move into an office but I said no because I have one of the best views on the whole floor.

Sitting across from a co-worker with big cans?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:19 PM
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Tipped by DD on twit, I enjoyed this piece on Iceland. Tbh, though, I have no idea if it's all true, and am not so concerned with its truth that I intend to read further on the topic this week. So, I guess I'm as much a part of the problem as anyone else.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:27 PM
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Nworb's essay concludes with the thought that newspapers could attempt to run online communities -- which sound much like the voluntary communities established by some blogs in their comment sections, tailored to groups of like-minded people who keep coming back to discuss things with one another.

I missed something along the line, though, Nworb: how does that help the financial predicament of newspapers? I guess it means that the online paper can show advertisers that it has a core readership, guaranteed. TPM trades on something like that, though it doesn't provide especially in-depth reporting. Other magazines also do, sort of -- the Atlantic? The New Republic? I confess I very rarely read the comments sections in any of those, so I don't know what goes on there, and anyway their reporting isn't the awesomest either. I am not sure how a robust online community helps toward better actual journalism.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 12:57 PM
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I don't know how they help newspapers, except in as much as the core of these would be people happy to pay for the experience, and accustomed to it, in as much as they have come from the paper.

But it may be no more than that the bit of the site where I work is supposed to be interactive/whatever, and I would prefer to think that all this effort was not entirely wasted.

The problem as I see it is that you/we here are the sort of readers that make a site attractive and whom we should be attracting. Why should you go to the ugnadiar when you have unfogged? Search me.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:15 PM
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And nw I am going off to watch a St Trinians film


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:15 PM
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96: in this instance, surely, masturbate, masturbate, cry, masturbate


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:17 PM
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99: That is interesting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:18 PM
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104: On the one point I can check, he's indisputably wrong. He quotes inflation rates and GDP rates, and implies that the inflation rate cancels out the GDP rate. I checked real GDP rates for Iceland, and they are positive.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:23 PM
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Why should you go to the ugnadiar when you have unfogged?

I would certainly go to a local site if we had anything decent. It would be tremendously valuable to me to be able to talk about local issues (threatened library closing, stormwater management, Halloween cancellation/rescheduling, electronics recycling day) with my neighbors.

Unfortunately, the local news sites practice an aggressively anti-social form of comment policing, which is is to say they either do not police their comments sections at all, do not have comments sections, or feature software that is so appallingly designed that it is near-impossible to comment.

I have spent the better part of ten years writing e-mails with detailed recommendations for improvement. I have even attended a focus group at which the participants gave extensive and thoughtful feedback. There has not only been no improvement, there has been significant backsliding.

All of which is to say, I love Unfogged but I'd pay $30/year for a decent local site.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 1:58 PM
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Unfogged doesn' really do original reporting.

TPM has gone to a modified premium model, haven't they? Or whatever "Prime" is supposed to be. I haven't really kept up.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:26 PM
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Unfogged doesn' really do original reporting.

It's snowing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:27 PM
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Blume was asked to comment on the fact that it is snowing, but had not responded by press time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:29 PM
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Baby, it's cold outside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:29 PM
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LATE UPDATE: In response to a request to comment on the fact that it is snowing, Blume said "it's snowing!!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:30 PM
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Witt's comment makes me think of a sensible revenue model (that has no doubt been independently thought of, tried, and abandoned zillions of times before now): a high-quality local/interest-group site whose content is free but where only those who have paid membership fees have the ability to moderate/upvote/downvote/whatever comments. (Or maybe only subscribers can comment at all.) Combines the "price should equal marginal cost should equal zero"/information-should-be-free idea with the need to get revenue somehow, the principle that paying should have some benefits, and the idea that paying will be done less grudgingly when it's about being part of a community rather than a purely consumerist transaction.

Anyone know of sites that have tried this, successfully or not?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:31 PM
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"I hope the snow in Boston doesn't cause my delayed flight to be canceled altogether," a traveler in Dulles airport told our Washington correspondent.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:31 PM
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Speaking of snow, the old lady across the way fell last year. Not because of snow or anything, but since then I've been shoveling her steps and walk because who wants her to tumble again and run up Medicare bills. It takes about 5 minutes but every time I do it, she gives me something. Is there any polite way to make her stop giving me stuff, aside from not shoveling her snow or peeing off her deck?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:38 PM
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a high-quality local/interest-group site whose content is free but where only those who have paid membership fees have the ability to moderate/upvote/downvote/whatever comments. (Or maybe only subscribers can comment at all.)

This is MetaFilter. Matt Haughey (the guy who founded it) has talked at length about the fact that he makes a good living from the site (and brings in enough revenue to have a couple of full-time employees, although the revenue is largely from unobtrusive advertising, not membership fees) but that it's a model that no one is really interested in funding.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:41 PM
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114: Pee on the snow.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:46 PM
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This is MetaFilter.

Is it? Unless I'm missing something, MeFi is a $5 one-time signup cost, not a $10-30 yearly subscription. And as you say, it has a bit of advertising.

Perhaps more importantly, it doesn't need to hire researchers/writers/whatevers to produce original content. Aren't we talking about how to get writers paid, as opposed to how one can create flourishing user-generated-content sites?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:48 PM
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Wait, YOU are talking about how writers will get paid? Everyone knows that Star Trek enthusiasts will just perform free amateur local news reporting that's as good as what a pro would do out of the goodness of their hearts.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:51 PM
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OT: I don't know where to put this, but it's moving and excellent, so I wanted to put it somewhere.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:55 PM
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If you're a member, the ads on MeFi are very, very discreet.

Metafilter is also not local at all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:56 PM
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Right, Halford, because the woes of professional reportage can largely be traced back to people pirating the Wall Street Journal.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:57 PM
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No, the Journal is doing fine, largely because it always understood that giving your content away for free in the hopes of ????? funding was a dead end.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 3:59 PM
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116: People either don't see you pee and blame dogs or they see you pee and call the police.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:00 PM
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No, the Journal is doing fine, largely because it always understood that giving your content away for free in the hopes of ????? funding was a dead end. has a century-old brand name which appeals to wealthy readers.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:02 PM
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Essear! I'm stuck at BWI right now, with no news at all about flights into Boston. Do your sources have any insight about the likelihood of our ever getting there?


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:07 PM
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124 -- unlike, for example, the LA Times. I mean, I'm not saying that charging for net access would necessarily have saved the newspapers (the death of newspaper classifieds did a lot) but giving away content for free for years was pretty clearly a disaster.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:15 PM
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"price should equal marginal cost should equal zero"

Why on earth should price equal marginal cost? This is half-digested econ-101 speak.

One major issue with advertising models is that advertising on the internet pays so badly compared to print, especially for sites with ABC1 demographics.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:20 PM
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114: Take the stuff. It makes her feel like a participant in a system of social relationships rather than a helpless parasite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:27 PM
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Can I still pee on the snow?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:29 PM
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Only if she doesn't have a mountain laurel.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:36 PM
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If you pee first, and then shovel the very slow you peed on, so that it's all mixed together and invisible, I don't see why not.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:36 PM
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It would also be invisible if you're adequately hydrated. Clear and copious!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:40 PM
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The LA Times policy of getting bought by Sam Zell doesn't seem to have worked either. Financial papers seem to have done the best with early paywalls. The NYT early paywall didn't work but the new one seems to be doing quite well.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:46 PM
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Well, that too.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:55 PM
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131, 132: What about the asparagus issue?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:55 PM
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Why on earth should price equal marginal cost? This is half-digested econ-101 speak.

I'm not going to argue this. I was just gesturing towards the idea, which people hold in more sophisticated versions than a half-digested econ-101 one, that, as cultural/information goods are the primary input for (a) the production of *more* such goods and (b) an enlightened citizenry, in addition to being (c) among the most benign of pure consumption goods (in terms of noxious byproducts, &c.), rationing them on *any* grounds is a necessary evil at best and an unnecessary one in many actual cases. (And rationing by price has all the usual pathologies thereof.)

I would hope that the only real dispute here comes at the level of necessary vs. unnecessary evil, but in any event, I intended my formulation in 112 to be putting forward zero-cost-pricing as merely one desideratum among others.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 4:58 PM
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125: As far as I know, my flight is delayed because the plane was 5 hours late leaving its previous destination, where there's no snow at all, and they're still planning to take off half an hour after it gets here. Which I guess means at this time they're not saying that any significant problems on the Boston end could change things.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:06 PM
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It's snowing in Boston but not tons.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:11 PM
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Zero-cost leads to under-provision though.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:12 PM
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139: now you're trolling, right? We all know these arguments. Be a little charitable, please.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:13 PM
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Also inasmuch as there is a finite economy we have to ration the production of any given good.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:15 PM
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139 --- well, no, not really. It seems that we really are looking at under provision at the moment, and that's kinda a problem.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:17 PM
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I don't think *under*provision is the right way to think about what's wrong, not exactly. I don't think we have too few writers writing, even if we merely consider the subset of paid writers writing for "news" organizations. What we have is writers being paid to write about the wrong things. Moreover, production is connected to distribution in a particularly pathological way: the things that are most widely disseminated are the free ones, but these also tend to be the things that are produced in order to maximize advertiser support, and is (often, anyway; generalities, here) bad in all the ways that have been rehashed to death; the good stuff, on the other hand, is often locked behind subscription walls, and has little impact on the public sphere.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:31 PM
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137. You should be boarding now then. Massport's arrivals board shows lots of cancellations by Cape Air from various local fields and a bunch of delays from outside NE.

Looks like getting home from Logan could be an adventure.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:40 PM
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Clew's Wikipedia link in 77 understates the 'rich are taking it all' issue, because it only tracks the top 5 percent and uses CPS income data that is topcoded and not great at tracking certain kinds of investment income. The Wiki chart shows the real income of the top 5 percent growing by about 60 percent from 1979-2007, but CBO data based on tax records shows the real, after-tax income of the top 1 percent growing by something like 275 percent over the same period. And even there I wonder if tax records miss some income for the super-rich.

The 96-99th percentiles (the bottom of the top five percent) aren't really rich by today's standards -- to give a sense, to reach the 96th percentile you need a pre-tax (pre-income and pre-payroll tax) household income that starts at about $140K, while the top 1 percent starts at about $350.

Really wealth rather than income would be the much better measure, but the data suck there. As I understand it wealth inequality is much greater but didn't shift as strikingly over the past three decades because of various bubbles and likely the shift from defined benefit pensions (real wealth, but not measured) to 401-Ks.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 5:48 PM
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Seattle has a bunch of neighborhood-specific news websites that do a good job of local news (crime, crime patterns, business openings and closings and permit applications, street fairs, design charettes, history of local architecture, etc etc etc) and have mildly useful open comment sections. They seem to be funded by local advertising.

Also nice, news bubbles up and down between them and the city paper.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:00 PM
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The NYT early paywall didn't work but the new one seems to be doing quite well

There's a new NYT paywall?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:11 PM
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PGD, thanks for writing 145.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:15 PM
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147:Old was the "select" thingy. New is whatever's been in place for a while now.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:22 PM
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From Ttam's 92*:

It always turns out that they use unpaid labour, or close to unpaid labour,

Do you find that the institutions people are comparing yours to are in the US? Unpaid labor in that and related fields is a huge problem here. I have the impression that it's not as bad in the UK (and at least until recently, Canada), but on the other hand, some of the more prominent "crowdsourcing" efforts are in the UK.

*I'd have responded earlier but it's such a pain to cut and paste and type longer comments on a tablet.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:27 PM
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As I understand it wealth inequality is much greater

Good thing the French Constitutional Court just struck down various parts of Hollande's tax hike, including the part where unrealized gains would count as wealth for taxation purposes! (The linked article's not very informative, but I've forgotten all my French, and neither the decision nor the press release were yet available in English.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:48 PM
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149: Ah.

The NYT would do better for itself, if it needs any help, by making available subscription *packages.* I'd opt out of sports, entertainment, theater, real estate, travel and all the other stuff. I don't need the wedding announcements. I'd subscribe to the straight news plus opinion and certain news-related blogs, at an adjusted price. I feel as though I've written this comment before!

For the Washington Post, all I really read is the Wonkblog. I'll be sad to miss that when they go to their paywall.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 6:55 PM
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Looks like getting home from Logan could be an adventure.

Really? I'm at Logan now waiting for my luggage and debating between taxi and subway. MBTA's website isn't indicating any problems, and I don't see any too-awful traffic info on Googling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 7:50 PM
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Snow!!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:02 PM
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I'm assuming that was the start of a trial, that the experiment was a success, and that essear can now control the weather.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:17 PM
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Or always could control the weather, but kept it to himself in order to protect his loved ones as Spiderman did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:21 PM
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If essear could control the weather, why would he make it snow right when he needed to get home from the airport?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:23 PM
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I'm on a crowded Silver Line bus, reading the CT thread. Probably should have sprung for the taxi. Card catalogs more useful for the library patron than online databases? Digital music not enhancing anyone's enjoyment? Who are these people?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:24 PM
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If essear could control the weather, why would he make it snow right when he needed to get home from the airport?

I'm not sure what his plot is, but I'm damn sure it's dastardly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:30 PM
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Mwahaha.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:33 PM
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I'm watching the premier episode of the original 90210 with my 10-year-old, essear. Gabrielle Carteris's performance stands the test of time.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:45 PM
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Give a little wave to Jennie Garth for me. Actually I really think I have a shot there still.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:47 PM
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When does Dylan show up? I can't believe I don't remember.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 8:51 PM
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The mid-60s, I think.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:01 PM
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I was a fan back when he was called Zimmerman.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:03 PM
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George Zimmerman?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:06 PM
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Essear is VW's ten year old child?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:07 PM
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Newman from Seinfeld plays the chemistry teacher at West Beverly.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:07 PM
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I feel like there has to be money in live-blogging the early years of 90210.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:08 PM
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Can you tell I'm reading the thread backwards?


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:09 PM
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By the year 90210, "living" will be short for "liveblogging."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:13 PM
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Brandon meets Dylan McKay, a mysterious loner, in Episode Two.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 9:22 PM
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Let's not forget Jim Eckhouse. I met a guy who stalked Jim Eckhouse. Eckhouse was buying soup and this guy was like "Eckhouse! I know who you are."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:12 PM
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I met a guy who stalked Jim Eckhouse.

Best opening line ever.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:18 PM
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Embarrassing confession: I never watched 90210.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:29 PM
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I'm guessing that you were in third grade when it initially aired. And truth be told, it's not really worth watching now, except perhaps as a historical document.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:32 PM
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Since the book recommendation thread is dead: I'm in the middle of reading Revolutions that Made the Earth by Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson and it's incredibly interesting and highly readable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:48 PM
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||

I have an unfogged movie recommendation of sorts.

I just watched Ruby Sparks based on reading the Roger Ebert review">review">http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120724/REVIEWS/120729991">review and it seems like the sort of thing people here would like.

I enjoyed it both as a script written by the lead actress, and watching how much she gave herself to do, and as a story in its own right.

It also, for some reason, completely wrecked me emotionally. But I don't think that would be most people's reaction. I'm trying to figure out why it hit such a nerve, and would be interested to talk about it if anyone else has seen it (tomorrow -- I'm not going


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:49 PM
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Sorry, hit post before finishing.

Mostly I just wanted to recommend it as a smart, very well done movie.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 10:51 PM
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||

Ron Paul is hella paleo.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:13 PM
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Man I really did not like that article.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:35 PM
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Impressively, the link in 178 is well formed.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:36 PM
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Also that movie sounds interesting and I'm disappointed to only just be hearing about it now. I suppose keeping up with these things has its advantages.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-12 11:38 PM
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Speaking of movies (as it were) I went to see the Hobbit today. Um, awkward contract bit at the beginning, kept expecting some one to say: now Bilbo, you are an independent contractor, not an employee, ok?

Pretty cartoony. Run, hit things, run away. I dunno, it seemed to take a lot of the humour out of the books. Also it seemed super literal. Like, actual giants made of stone!

Quite boring, really.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 2:52 AM
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177: Thanks for the rec - that looks excellent!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 6:52 AM
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re: 150

Often the US, yes. Sadly our senior management very much see themselves as 'American' in outlook. Which isn't (IMHO) clever, since the comparable institutions (in terms of their collections and socio-cultural connections) are much more likely to be in Europe.* However, even in Germany and other places, graduate student labour is common.

* very few US institutions have any substantial collections of medieval or ancient stuff, for example. So they face very different challenges.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 7:42 AM
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That's a general cultural problem in the UK, though. Looking west towards the US. Which, much as I love you guys, isn't a good way to be looking for lots of things.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 7:49 AM
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I propose: North to Iceland and south to the Lost Isle of Lyonesse.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:32 AM
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188: Too true, it would seem. I was unprepared to be greeted with such a general enthusiasm for Americans and American things when I moved here. I do occasionally hear the reverse, but I was substantially surprised to hear so many positive things. (Personal side note: I remain baffled when people tell me they love my accent. A love for Southern accents I can understand, and it's not as though I do not like American accents, but I have never thought of western American accents as pleasant to listen to in any real way.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:26 AM
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Read: Your comments disappeared because you were banned, over one year ago. Banning lasts forever.

You have been such an utter pain in the ass that I am not going to take the time to read which comments are fine and which comments are not fine.

If you want to be un-banned, you should email me privately and nicely, and you and I should have a conversation. You have to get along with me if you want your comments to stay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:39 AM
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Hahaha. Fuck you.

It's a dictatorial request because I run this goddamn place. If you want to talk to Nick S, email him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:46 AM
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Go ahead and be a spam-bot all you want. I'll come back in a few hours and clean up the mess you made in a few seconds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:51 AM
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I don't give a shit if we're friends or not.

You seem surprised that you keep getting deleted. You seem to want to comment here. So I told you what you would need to do, in order to keep from getting deleted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 10:00 AM
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Impressively, the link in 178 is well formed.

I appreciate you neb, that genuinely made me laugh out out.

I can't take credit for the link working, it appears that the blog software managed to turn my mangled link into two links, one which worked and one which didn't.

The reason 178 ended up so chopped up was that I was posting from my phone and at some point I lost patience.

she reads the book in the process of writing since has to copy it by hand or serves as his stenographer

I don't know that book, but it sounds familiar. There are any number of books and movies about both the creative process itself, and bleed-through between fiction and reality. It's easy to imagine why writers could find themselves exploring those topics.

Thinking about comparisons, I would say that Ruby Sparks has something in common with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (in mood, not in plot), though it's a much smaller movie, both in terms of budget and scale of the drama, and much more explicitly cutting towards mainstream romantic comedies (there's a wonderful line in which one of the characters say, "MPDGs don't exist" without using the phrase "Manic Pixie Dream Girls" but you know exactly what he's talking about.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 10:11 AM
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Hey Parenthetical do you by chance live near a quantity of dry stone walls? I've been watching The Trip and one of the highlights is the stone walls they keep driving past.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 10:51 AM
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196: One of the other highlights is the whole fucking thing, though especially the impressions. That movie meant more to Lee and me than just about any other, though I didn't get her to love Tristram Shandy because of it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 10:56 AM
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195: There are some lovely ones in a few of the outlying villages around here. There's one around a manor that is a bit decrepit and is slowly being rebuilt; I enjoy seeing the progress. But they don't really compare to all the gorgeous dry stone walls of the North (is it that there's too many trees down here? I'm not sure), somehow - that was definitely a highlight of the Lake District for me. (Beyond, you know, spectacular scenery.)

Thorn, we love The Trip too. I'm terrible with impressions, but we both go off into fits of giggles while attempting "She was only 16 years old."


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:06 AM
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Shall I smarmily observe that I am not watching the movie, but rather the six-episode bee bee see series?

I think I shall not. Not smarmily, anyhow.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:06 AM
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However, even in Germany and other places, graduate student labour is common.

Huh. I never would have guessed.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:14 AM
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I haven't seen the movie, nosflow ... I thought it was just the episodes all stuck together?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:14 AM
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I posted 199, or whatever number is attached to the comment about German grad student labour.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:20 AM
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I assumed you would be, nosflow, but I've only seen the movie. I think there was a certain amount of condensing that went on to make the movie from the original source material.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:21 AM
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Paren, I don't exactly know what it was about it, but the whole time we were saying, "Whoa, that's YOU!" or "Now he's you!" interspersed with "Come come, Mr Bond."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 11:23 AM
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In British culture there seems to be a phenomenon called "the work experience kid" which corresponds to our "the intern". In the collective wisdom of pop culture this person is a student or student-aged, unmotivated, devoid of useful skills, and hangs around getting coffee for people or doing work nobody else wants to do.

I'm not clear whether the work experience kid is actually unpaid like most interns are. Or whether this is a longstanding phenomenon or a new US-inspired development.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 2:12 PM
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But they don't really compare to all the gorgeous dry stone walls of the North

I haven't said this have I? As a kid there I was given the chance to place a stone on the one, mortared top course of a wall. I loved it. The waller said: "don't let him do it - it's cyanide in the blood".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 2:44 PM
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much more explicitly cutting towards mainstream romantic comedies

Yeah, Ruby Sparks is one of the few American movies I would be interested in seeing. If he is writing her and she lacks agency, then we have the rage of Caliban looking into a mirror, as a metaphor for the narcissism we all deal with seeing ourselves in others.

There is a long tradition of course in anime of magical/alien girlfriends including the long running series Urusei Yatsura from the 80s. Oshii Mamoru of Ghost in the Shell did a movie spinoff that is supposed to be surrealistic and very good.

Chobits! is written by women. Funny things happen in the show, so you can overlook the obvious.

Our male lead has a gorgeous passive amnesiac desperate-to-please robot "persocom" dropped in his lap, and...he does nothing. Absolutely nothing. He doesn't teach her to cook or take out the trash, he doesn't leave the television on so she can learn customs and language, he is afraid to touch her or even look at her. Raised in isolation on a farm in Hokkaido, the series starts with him tending his cows...and that is much the way he treats her. He cares for her, takes care of her at great expense (electricity for instance) but doesn't know what to do with her or what she is for.

It isn't as if there aren't other examples around, they are ubiquitous. He could "program" her, but he doesn't. A fear of becoming dependent? Maybe.

Is this "feminist?" Dunno. Thinking. If the other, the female other, is something you program (bring flowers, make em laugh, get a blowjob)...I mean this is the objectification I worry about, seeing the other as something to be manipulated toward an end as the meaning of a relationship.

So back to Ruby Sparks. I despise the bullshit of writers saying the characters do what they will, and prefer S King saying he loves to torture hurt and kill his images.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 3:37 PM
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Bob, I think you would find Ruby Sparks interesting.

Is it a feminist movie? I don't know. There's much in it that a viewer who is already familiar with feminist arguments would appreciate, but I don't know that it's trying to make those arguments for an audience who would be unfamiliar with them.

So back to Ruby Sparks. I despise the bullshit of writers saying the characters do what they will, and prefer S King saying he loves to torture hurt and kill his images.

It allows for multiple perspectives on that question. Worth thinking about how writers block affects that -- is a writer who can't write likely to more or less positively disposed towards their characters? The movie doesn't answer that question, but it does raise it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 3:48 PM
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read, I did appreciate you comment about the novel. I'm not necessarily looking for recommendations, but it did get me thinking about different versions of that theme (I thought of Adaptation for example, and how Being John Malkovitch might comment on the relationship between writer and character)

I don't, however, appreciate, being used as an excuse for your fights with the administration here.

I appreciate you wanting to share, but if that's the motivation for you to prolong a comment/deletion series I would just ask that instead you either just stop commenting at the point at which the FPP ask you to or, at least, don't use me as the excuse to continue posting.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 3:53 PM
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184.1: I don't really follow. In what way did Bilbo act like an employee as opposed to just a junior member of the group?

Agree with you on the movie generally, though. The forebody-LOTR-prequel stuff seriously clashed in tone with the material from the actual book.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 3:55 PM
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You're not a lurker, read.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 4:05 PM
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[Deleted]


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 4:12 PM
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NickS? Read's been banned, and we're deleting her comments, and would prefer that she stopped commenting here. Responding to her comments encourages her to continue. If you're doing that as a protest because you don't think she should have been banned, or you think there's some injustice in the situation, you could talk about that either here or by email with me or any other of the front pagers, or all of us. If you're not protesting her ban, though, I would appreciate if you didn't respond to her comments here -- you've got a blog where you could talk to her, or there's always facebook. (And the same, of course, to anyone else who either has responded to her comments or is contemplating it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 4:20 PM
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I realize you were heading in that direction in your last comment, but you were still addressing her, and I wanted to clarify that that was making this more difficult.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 4:23 PM
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209 - Ah yeah, the Hobbit caused this really obnoxious amendment to the Employment Relations Act around contractor/employee status: see here, here, and here.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 6:33 PM
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Oh, yes, I heard a tiny bit about that.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 6:35 PM
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Also, I saw it in 3d -- and there is totes something meaningful about the way that the Ring-sequences look like the 3d does when you don't have glasses on. There's got to be something there.

Also 3d is pretty crappy I think. Also also I kept being yanked out of the film by the way that things kept obviously being bit of the South Island. Like, the braided river towards the end? Is that the Waimak? The Rakaia?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 6:44 PM
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||
Rusty nails taste like syrupy banana bread or something. Luckily my friend purchased enough for us both and will gladly drink the rest of mine. My perception of Moby is blown, alas, as presumably is his of me.
|>


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 7:54 PM
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I think Sifu started it. Maybe your bartender is using too much Drambuie?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:13 PM
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I'm sure she is. I went back to gin and tonic, which is like 7/8 gin. A great deal, but borderline undrinkable. I might have talked my friend into coming to unfogged, though, so that's worth a nasty drink or two.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:20 PM
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218, 219: I have never had a Rusty Nail and wished it had more Drambuie.

Maybe if I just rinsed the glass with it...


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:26 PM
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[deleted]


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:26 PM
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219: gin and tonic, which is like 7/8 gin. A great deal, but borderline undrinkable

Too much tonic.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:27 PM
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218: wait, I did? Like, you started drinking them because I mentioned them?

That's wonderful!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:30 PM
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I know I hadn't heard of them before they were mentioned here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 8:31 PM
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233 and 224 are amazing. I never would have tried one if not for Moby's allegiance here and now my poor friend has had two! And for the snooty coastal types, I think I just got about three shots of Hendricks for $4.50 or whatever.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:07 PM
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Altogether?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:13 PM
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"And for the snooty coastal types, I think I just got about three shots of Hendricks for $4.50 or whatever."


Posted by: Opinionated Dr. Rumack | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:18 PM
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I think I just got about three shots of Hendricks for $4.50 or whatever.


Posted by: Everybody, in chorus | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:18 PM
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Oh goddamnit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:19 PM
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It was probably that heebie-heebie what spoilt it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:23 PM
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That slut!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:25 PM
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Hey!


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 12-30-12 9:38 PM
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Whatevs, it was $13 for two white Russians and two g&ts with outrageously more Hendricks than tonic. I tipped pretty outrageously too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-31-12 12:38 AM
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I take it you're not working tomorrow.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-31-12 12:39 AM
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I


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-31-12 12:40 AM
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Argh, my keyboard problems will be written off as drunkenness when in fact I have a microscopic splitkeyboard on the ipad. I will stop off at work with the girls, but it's my last vacation day!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-31-12 12:43 AM
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