Re: Haley Morris-Cafiero

1

Several of those -- this, this, and this -- don't read to me at all as though they're sneering at her because of her appearance. That last one looks like someone giving her shade because she's standing still in the middle of the sidewalk and has a map out like a frigging tourist.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:50 AM
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That's definitely a component, but I disagree about the second and third. I think that a svelte woman in those situations would not get that look.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:52 AM
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1: technically it's throwing shade.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:53 AM
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She does seem to be setting herself up in awkward situations. She's not just in public--she's bent over futzing with a camera or a map. There's a certain amount of trolling here.

I keep picturing the other people in the pictures saying "No no, I wasn't looking at you! Really! I was just...remembering something awkward that happened to me today...something that didn't involve pale fat people at all."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:53 AM
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I wonder if I'm actually right about that? I think I am.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:54 AM
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I think that a svelte woman in those situations would not get that look.

She might even get offers of help.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:54 AM
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The eating in public seems like it's a conscious move as well. She knows anti-fat shaming comes out strong when big people are seen eating, and she's trying to trigger that prejudice.

(I mean, its still a prejudice, and it is not good. It is silly to shame fat people for eating in public. Still, I think she knows what she is doing.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:58 AM
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4,7: I really don't get your point. People need to eat, people need to fuss with cameras and maps sometimes. So what?


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:59 AM
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Yeah, I don't think the looks are solely about the fat. That's an aspect of it, but there's something about the combination of her weight, her ethnicity, and her clothes that's all working together.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:01 PM
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8 - Because in New York, people glare at slow-moving tourists, even skinny European ones, all the time.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:01 PM
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And presumably there are a non-trivial set of New Yorkers who glare at everybody, especially in busy parts of town. I certainly spent a lot of time glaring at people the last time I walked through Times Square, and I was a tourist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:04 PM
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Should I feel bad for not recognizing who she is, either before or after looking at the photos?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:04 PM
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10: Yes, but it pretty clearly doesn't apply in this case. In the photos where she's messing around with a camera, she's clearly in a tourist trap with a bunch of other tourists, and in the NYC map-fumbling pictures, she's getting stink eye from a woman in front of her, on her legs.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:05 PM
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10: Right, in NY she's setting off 'out of towner' hostility as well as anti-fat prejudice. One of the two pictures that I can place exactly, she's getting a look from a black woman who's heavy herself, although not as much so as the photographer is, and that looks very much to me like 'you're unfortunately close to being in my way' rather than 'you're fat'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:06 PM
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It's not even clear to me that some of these folks are even glaring, much less at her. My "walking down the street" face is pretty set-brows determined. It probably looks like a glare.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:08 PM
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New Yorkers have over a hundred words for glare.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:08 PM
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14: that looks very much to me like 'you're unfortunately close to being in my way'

Oh c'mon, she's in front of her and maybe 4 or 5 feet lateral.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:09 PM
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I'm with those who think she's trolling. In at least some shots the people aren't even looking at her but at sonething out of frame, or at where the camera or tripod is.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:09 PM
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But that's also the one where she's wearing shorts and sneakers and looks conspicuously un-polished.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:10 PM
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19 to 14.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:10 PM
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Seriously, pull over if you need to look at a giant map. She deserves rude looks for that one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:10 PM
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In the last picture, with the "sneering" woman holding (presumably) her daughter's hand, it actually looks to me very much like the mother is preparing to negotiate an obstacle - this is how I see meatpuppetsmy fellow travelers on this big, blue marble when I'm dragging my kid through a crowd, and I bet that my facial aspect would photograph as sneery more often than not.

None of which is to dismiss the overall impact of the work, which I think is strong. I just wish there were fewer edge cases that dilute the impact.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:11 PM
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17: It could be five seconds after she had to dodge around her to pass -- I'm three blocks from there now, and it's a narrow spot where it'd be annoying of her to be stopped looking at a map.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:11 PM
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I agree entirely that she's gaming the situation to get sneers, by fumbling with maps and wearing shorts, etc. It's not strictly her weight, but she's breaking rules which are applied most strictly to overweight people.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:12 PM
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22: Yep, that one seemed the clearest example of 1. not looking at her 2. not glaring/sneering.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:14 PM
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24: she's breaking rules which are applied most strictly to overweight people.

Yeah, I think this is the point people are missing here. It's not a question of whether she's being gauche or inexpert - she clearly is. The point is that someone like her gets no margin of error in social situations.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:16 PM
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It's New York, the rules are applied to everyone. You gotta learn how to walk.

Good response project: show up in Dallas in a hybrid and randomly stop in the middle of blocks and get photos of people flipping them off because they hate hybrids.

(Though there are a few examples in there of what looks like genuinely abnoxious behavior, I'd say about half of them are either people laughing about something unrelated to her, or her being actually rude.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:17 PM
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Can you imagine being her working on this project? Going through all these photos to pick out the ones in which people look the most hostile? Does she wind up hating herself or everybody else? I'm guessing both.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:17 PM
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The bottom line is that, if you dropped a much less marked individual into these situations, but had them duplicating behaviors, you'd be able to take at least some of these same pictures. OTOH, clearly not all of them. But again, this is why I wish it were more tightly selected. I'm OK with a little bit of trolling*, but several of the pics almost certainly don't portray any actual sneering, fat-driven or not.

* first of all, it's not practical to get these shots at all without her standing still in a semi-obtrusive way - if she's wholly unobtrusive and/or walking with the crowd, then you'd have to take 100 shots just to get one in which she's noticed, let alone sneered at. Second of all, if she were a svelte, fashionable person, at least some of those sneers for being obtrusive would turn into smiles of appreciation - she may be drawing attention to herself, but the nature of the attention is at least sometimes in the eye of the beholder


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:19 PM
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If you try taking any kind of 'street' photographs you'll capture those kinds of expression constantly. Even people not sneering or expressing anything. When you shoot any group of people in motion you'll got all kinds of odd facial expressions as people move or they are captured in transition.

Add in someone deliberately placing themself in clumsy or awkward places it's amazing you'd capture anything else.

You can infer the square root of fuck all from the photos, at least in terms of what it is that motivates the facial grotesques you can drum up.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:19 PM
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Would Joe Buck throw her a glance?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:19 PM
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24: And that makes me confused about the whole thing. I mean, yes, fat people do get sneers sometimes, but it's complicated, and she's bringing in a lot of factors there, largely about class.

I feel bad feeling like the fashion police, considering how I dress, but at her size I bet you could dress her and do her hair differently and she'd blend right into the streetscape in NYC so long as she was walking briskly. She might still get the stinkeye occasionally, but not so it'd be easy to collect records of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:20 PM
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you'd have to take 100 shots just to get one in which she's noticed, let alone sneered at

Isn't it likely that she is taking 100s of shots to get these?

Doesn't the camera have to be set on a timer, or am I not understanding this?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:22 PM
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30: I have trouble believing the cop does that sort of thing to anyone marked as higher SES. But looking through them again, that's the only one where I'd say it's 100% clear that's what's going on. Some of the others that include younger women/girls seem pretty likely to be the same, but it's certainly possible to laugh about one thing while looking at another, especially while walking around.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:23 PM
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I don't understand the picture with the cop holding his hat over her head -- is he supposed to have done that spontaneously? I don't see the NYPD being mischievous much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:23 PM
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35 crossed with 34. Really, I'm very surprised to see a cop doing that to anyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:25 PM
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The criticisms above seem to be directed at dismissing the scientific value (that is, we can't infer anything about how overweight people are viewed in general). Isn't the point, as described in the article itself, rather to draw in the viewer to her experience?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:26 PM
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I particularly feel like ttaM and Utpetni may not be giving her enough credit for actually knowing that this does regularly occur to her, in a way it doesn't happen to them.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:26 PM
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Also, they aren't very good photos, just as photos. It's all very well doing a type of concept driven street photography like this, and others do, but the compositional style and colour is straight down the line faux-naif art wank. It was shit when Martin Parr did it, and it still is.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:26 PM
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33: I was actually assuming there was an accomplice.

But anyway, my point is that, for an obtrusively placed, culturally transgressive individual, I bet that it's fairly easy to get shots in which other people appear to have noticed her, some significant portion of which will show sneers. Whereas, if you stood up me or LB or oud (who are physically unremarkable* and know our way around NYC) in the same places, you'd be hard pressed to take a picture in which anyone even seems to have noticed our existence, let alone judged it.

*Laydeez


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:26 PM
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Put me on team trolling. I swear in some of those she's deliberately placing herself in the middle of the sidewalk and looking as vapid as possible so people will wonder if she's mentally handicapped or something. Or in this one, "why is this chick hanging out on the swings?"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:28 PM
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Re 38

Sure. I'm not dismissing the lived experience that people have of disdain or discrimination. I just think (for me) as a piece of art these photos do a poor job of making any kind of consciousness raising point, and aren't any good just in and of themselves.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:30 PM
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41: Yes! "Uh, where's her kid?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:30 PM
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38: Does she usually live in New York? If not, then why isn't she taking these pictures somewhere more like where she lives? If she does live in New York, then she's purposefully being an asshole.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:30 PM
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38: I think it's more that these aren't pictures of it happening to her. I walk around NYC, and I'd totally believe that she gets looks, particularly if she's bumbling around getting in people's way as she seems to be doing. But the photo project seems flawed to me -- as ttaM said, I bet you could get pictures of people looking at me like that (that is, in the same frame with me with those sorts of facial expressions) with no trouble.

And framing it as solely about fat rather than about class and ethnicity troubles me a fair amount too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:30 PM
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Supporting 38, I would note that I spend nearly every Saturday in the Strip District, which is a very crowded area filled with ethnic and produce markets, sidewalk vendors, and tourists, and I know that I've seen people giving the stinkeye to heavy people, especially African-American ones. If I'm spotting it (while being occupied dragging my aforementioned child through the crowd as swiftly as possible*), then it's happening a LOT, and those people are thoroughly aware.

*Pgh is an east coast city in terms of pedestrian speed and aggressiveness**, but the Strip has way too many people who are just out to enjoy the sights and smells of one of America's most distinctive shopping areas, and they just need to get the FUCK out of my way because I'm doing my weekly grocery shopping here.

**not Manhattan aggressive, but probably Philly aggressive - I pass people, but like another car on the highway, not an old lady in a Buick with the turn signal on


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:32 PM
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I certainly am not meaning to imply that she doesn't get looks like this in her daily life. All I'm saying is that getting pictures like this *when she's acting like an asshole* doesn't illustrate anything other than that people glare at you when you're acting like an asshole.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:34 PM
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I know that I've seen people giving the stinkeye to heavy people, especially African-American ones.

In NY, I'd say the reverse -- that any expectation that people are going to be skinnier than the national average is mostly a white thing. I'd be surprised if a black or Latino woman of her build was getting much negative attention to her weight on the street.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:35 PM
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Can you imagine being her working on this project? Going through all these photos to pick out the ones in which people look the most hostile? Does she wind up hating herself or everybody else? I'm guessing both.

For some reason this makes me think of Ralph Steadman traveling with Hunter S Thompson (probably connected because by Steadman's gleefully sneering caricatures of overweight people in Texas, which I can't find online right now).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:37 PM
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Maybe the photos are expressing the point that fat people frequently can't tell if they are getting sneered at for being fat or for some other offense or if they are in fact not the object of the sneer at all. That's got to be frustrating in its own right.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:40 PM
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36: Agreed, it's very surprising, which is why I can't see it as non-problematic. I tried to imagine the same thing with anyone else, and my brain wouldn't let me. It's something a cop would only do to someone with both low status and no political power (which goes with her out-of-towner aspect).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:40 PM
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That's a general point about prejudice that's very much worth remembering -- that it makes you reasonably paranoid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:41 PM
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The cop one is paining me. You idiots, what the hell are you doing?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:43 PM
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51: It's not just low status -- that is, I'd be just as surprised to see a cop doing that to someone who looked very poor. The picture reads either posed, friendly kidding around (I can't really see how it would happen, but it looks like a relaxed cop clowning with an acquaintance), or I don't even know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:44 PM
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33: And, the on other hand these kind of self-photo projects always also seem like a wish-fullfillment fantasy -- the photographer is the center of the universe! Everything is about me!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:44 PM
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Clearly she needs to get someone with a long-range high-speed camera to take the pictures from far away as she walks around.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:48 PM
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48: Honestly, I've taken it as more racist than weightist - basically a latent racism triggered by the heaviness (Ugh, one of THOSE people).

Pittsburgh/Western PA is a fat enough place that I'm not sure fat white people register much. Also, although the city is way above the nationwide average for A-A population, it's whiter than most cities and the region is far whiter than most metros. So a different dynamic.

Actually, it occurs to me that there's probably significant overlap between suburbanites coming to the Strip for some urban flavor and people sneering at the fat black lady waiting for the bus. Also, too, the Strip might be the most integrated setting in the whole region, with not only a lot of blacks & whites together, but also being there for the same reason. In contrast, say, to the extremely popular busway route that groups white professionals with blue and pink-collar blacks (not exclusively, of course, but that's the vibe - I think Ned has commented on that bus before).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:48 PM
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Come to think, I wonder if the photographer was obtrusively visible? If there was someone obvious with a tripod taking a picture of someone being ostentatiously oblivious, I could imagine the cop succumbing to the temptation to essentially give her rabbit ears, which looks like basically what he's doing with the hat. That'd be unprofessional, but I can imagine it. Without an audience to clown for, though, I can't figure out what's going on in that one at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:49 PM
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54: That's why I paired low-status with politically-unconnected - if she noticed and made a stink, who would come to her side? I don't mean a rights org, I just mean of the crowd nearby? I mean, you might find a nice, procedural liberal who disapproves of fat-shaming, but she's not exactly a natural rallying point.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:52 PM
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I was not impressed with her project. I think it is indisputable that overweight people get funny or mean looks. But, this project failed to convince me that was what was going on. Plus, sign me on to all of nattar's comments about street photography.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:54 PM
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The bus route referenced in 57 can be a strange experience indeed, probably for the reasons listed.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:55 PM
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I am certain that you could capture the project's intended message with skinny people asking for help and overweight people asking for help.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:57 PM
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The cop is definitely being a jerk. A huge one, seriously, hope he gets recognized. As for the rest, I'd say it's very likely that the laughing girls in two different pictures in Italy are being jerks, and the woman at the crosswalk. Beyond that, don't know. There are several where it could go either way - the expression could be a glare or a harmless glance (but then, a self-conscious person might want to avoid any kind of notice), they could be looking at Morris-Cafiero or the camera itself. There's even at least one where I honestly can't tell which of the bystanders are supposed to be sneering at her (the one with the guy with the moustache and cowboy hat - could be him, could be the blond guy in the foreground with glasses).

Fat and unfashionable people obviously do get judged and sneered at. I'm just saying, I'm almost surprised she couldn't find even better evidence of it than this.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 12:58 PM
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Damnit, Stormcrow go to the Midnight Cowboy reference before I could.

Maybe the woman with the kid is reacting to the kid saying loudly, as one of mine did when she was about three years old in earshot of an amply-buttocked woman ahead of us on the sidewalk, "That lady has a BIG BOTTOM!"


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:00 PM
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I don't even see fat.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:01 PM
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How big was it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:02 PM
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66: Wrong thread.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:03 PM
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My daughter wasn't lying. It was enormous. Part of me was mortified, part of me thought, "Well, everyone should feel free to wear pink Lycra, but maybe some people should reconsider."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:07 PM
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I'm reminded of one time that I and 2-y.o. Iris were in the grocery store and a little person (?) walked down the aisle, and I saw her watching him, and was poised like a hawk to quash her to say something inappropriate.

I actually don't recall what happened after, except it clearly wasn't mortifyingly inappropriate.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:18 PM
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I wonder if the photographer was obtrusively visible? If there was someone obvious with a tripod taking a picture of someone being ostentatiously oblivious, I could imagine the cop succumbing to the temptation to essentially give her rabbit ears, which looks like basically what he's doing with the hat. That'd be unprofessional, but I can imagine it.

That was what I imagined when I saw that one, yeah.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:18 PM
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A three year old in Hawaii's class asked me if I had a baby in my tummy, on the way into daycare the other day. Her mom said "She's been asking that to everyone. So far, everyone's actually been pregnant, but at some point soon our luck is going to run out."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:22 PM
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"sneering at her clueless tourist behavior" I would say, without reading this thread.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:26 PM
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The series is called "wait watchers". She is standing in the sidewalk to get reactions.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:30 PM
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The thing that bugs me is that it's not that she's a clueless tourist, it's that she's pretending to be a clueless tourist in order to piss people off. So who knows what else she was doing right before the picture was taking to try to get these shots.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:31 PM
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I particularly feel like ttaM and Utpetni may not be giving her enough credit for actually knowing that this does regularly occur to her, in a way it doesn't happen to them.

She should document it happening when she isn't impersonating a clueless tourist then.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:34 PM
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She's not trying to piss people off, exactly. She's trying to break a lot of conventions at once, and record people's reactions.

Part of the outcome may be "people aren't as overtly rude as you'd think. Look how debatable the worst of the worst are."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:35 PM
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74, 75: Mmm. There's something off about this reaction -- this is an art project, not journalism. But the things that make it bad journalism make me think that I might appreciate it more as as art if she'd posed photographs recreating how people treat her, or something.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:36 PM
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Aren't these also just generally crappy as art photos? I don't have a particularly good eye but I feel like a similar project, even if equally "fake," could have been done about a thousand times better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:38 PM
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There's a difference between breaking conventions and actively inconveniencing dozens of people.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:39 PM
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What if she recreated the pictures, but she was covered in mylar, so it was like she was invisible?

Daaaamn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:39 PM
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80: Or did it dressed as Roy Orbison!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:41 PM
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That is, if she were just dressed extremely badly, then I would grok the project (even if we could debate how much is fat prejudice and how much is dresses terribly prejudice). But I think not following the rules of walking is totally different from dressing badly or being fat.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:41 PM
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There's only one where she has the map peeled open, and the very last one she definitely seems to be blocking traffic. But in a number of them, she's sitting on the swings, standing near a line, etc. The photos don't generalize very easily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:41 PM
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The series is called "wait watchers". She is standing in the sidewalk to get reactions.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:44 PM
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The series is called "wait watchers". She is standing in the sidewalk to get reactions.


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:44 PM
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In about half of the pictures, it looks to me like she stopped in front of someone or otherwise blocked traffic (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:44 PM
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I also want to disagree with this:

she would absolutely not get those reactions in Texas (and probably the south)

I can't speak for Texas, having only ever been in the Dallas airport on the way to somewhere else, but fat-mocking absolutely still happens in the South, particularly coming from teenagers or college-aged people. I would be really, really surprised if Texas was any different in this regard.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:46 PM
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she was covered in mylarlemon juice, so it was like she was invisible


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:47 PM
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73, 84, 85: Quit blocking the thread, fatass.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:48 PM
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I don't have a particularly good eye but I feel like a similar project, even if equally "fake," could have been done about a thousand times better.

Yeah! They could have gotten a hotter model, for one thing...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:53 PM
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There's also something that I hesitate to bring up, because its right on the line between self-presentation and bodily structure. But her posture/body language is distinctly weird in at least some of the pictures; the cop picture and one other, she has her feet oddly pointed in toward each other in a way that looks peculiar enough to draw stares in itself.

Obviously, staring at people who are physically unusual is rude in itself, but I'm curious as to whether that's her natural stance or part of the hamming it up she's doing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:54 PM
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The ham in itself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:56 PM
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74
The thing that bugs me is that it's not that she's a clueless tourist, it's that she's pretending to be a clueless tourist in order to piss people off. So who knows what else she was doing right before the picture was taking to try to get these shots.

Well, OK, she could have been doing anything. She could have been doing jumping jacks or singing obnoxiously right before the picture. She could have asked the cops to pose with her. For that matter, they could all be actors.

Realistically, though, she probably wouldn't just lie about that, and is it really that hard to believe that some people actually would glare rudely at fat people?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:56 PM
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It's not hard at all to believe that she gets rude glares -- I'd expect her, looking as she does in the pictures, to get at least some around here. I'm nitpicking the art project itself, not the point she's trying to make with it, which I think is very probably valid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 1:58 PM
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but fat-mocking absolutely still happens in the South, particularly coming from teenagers or college-aged people. I would be really, really surprised if Texas was any different in this regard.

It depends on the context, no? In a context where most of the people are young and thin, then absolutely. At the grocery store, in a town where half the people are shaped like her? I just don't think it registers as looking like something to comment on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:03 PM
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Based on the photo in her about page, I think she generally hams up the awkward/unattractive angle a lot, and intentionally.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:04 PM
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My assumption is that she wants people to get into this rather unattractive "I would rather nitpick about this project and how she is doing it wrong than talk about actual fat-shaming, because that just illustrates that jesus, yes, people are like that, aren't they?" or else (and I think this is less likely) the process of being a fat young woman who gets treated badly in multiple small but constant ways produces some self-consciousness and awkwardness in public, especially because fat women are not supposed to be photographed except to produce the famous 'headless fatties' images that decorate all the obesity-panic article.

Honestly, I am a bit surprised at the whole "well, I guess maybe people treat her badly, but these pictures don't prove it and she is just making her case weaker" business. How precisely is one to snap perfectly neutral pictures of people treating you badly? Just introducing the camera queers things, so to speak.

I had assumed that the point of the pictures was to show the mean, petty glares, even if they're provoked, and to get us to imagine what it's like to be on the receiving end of them day in and day out.

Also, I am pleased and impressed by how willing to transgress she is. Everyone loves "transgression" when it means, like, hot chicks in corsets at unexpected times and locations, but very few people are down with actual transgression that actually makes people uncomfortable.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:07 PM
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she was covered in lemon juice, so it was like she was invisible

Oh sure, and then when i pee on her to make her appear, I look like the bad guy.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:07 PM
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71: That kid's fœtdar is strong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:09 PM
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I don't think it's sufficiently well-composed to tell whether people's reactions are even to her in about half the shots. It's hard to tell what people are looking at in photos sometimes, moreso on a crowded busy street. (See the one with the sandwich sign, e.g.) We could probably follow JRoth around the Strip with a camera and prove that he gives the stinkeye to everyone.

I agree that someone might not get the same reactions in Texas, though I suspect someone obviously bigger-than-the-norm would.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:10 PM
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JRoth says that asafœtidar expert.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:11 PM
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I agree that someone might not get the same reactions in Texas, though I suspect someone obviously bigger-than-the-norm would.

This is true. There's no moral superiority in Texas, just a bigger average.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:12 PM
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Yes, okay, but just because it's a good idea for a project doesn't mean it's brilliantly executed. And it doesn't show the mean, petty glares nearly as well as it could, nor are its complications particularly fascinating, nor is the series a set of brilliantly arresting images, unfortunately.

How precisely is one to snap perfectly neutral pictures of people treating you badly?

They don't have to be "perfectly neutral," to my mind, but they should be more compelling. And one is to do that by taking more pictures total, setting them up more cunningly, and having a more discerning eye.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:13 PM
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Being sneered at is sometimes nothing to sneer at. I once got sneered at by Sandra Bernhard in Greenwich Village, and that made me feel pretty darn good, let me tell you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:13 PM
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I think an issue here is that the project is both polemical and doesn't seem to have a particularly interesting or surprising polemic. OK, people sneer (or at least can be assumed to sneer on the inside) at fat people in public, making it suck to be fat. Doesn't everyone know this already and get bombarded with the message all the time? This is not surprising stuff. And this particular attempt at documentation doesn't really seem to pick up anything very interesting or memorable about that phenomenon or how it happens (which it could do as art, even if equally "fake").

*At this point my blog persona seems kind of self-refuting on this subject, but whatever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:14 PM
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103 to 97, sorry.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:14 PM
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The execution of the project seems to undermine the ostensible purpose. I am not questioning the lived experience of people who experience prejudice, but if your point is to illustrate that experience and this is what you put out to illustrate it, people aren't entirely unreasonable in saying, "Wait, when you say you get glared at all the time, this is what you mean? You're imagining things."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:15 PM
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How precisely is one to snap perfectly neutral pictures of people treating you badly? Just introducing the camera queers things, so to speak.

Honestly, if you were doing it as journalism rather than art, I think you'd want video. In a still, you really can't tell if or how people are looking at her (other than the bizarre cop picture). As art, I think I'd be more affected by posed pictures that weren't purporting to be candid reportage of unstaged reactions.

I hear what you're saying about: this rather unattractive "I would rather nitpick about this project and how she is doing it wrong than talk about actual fat-shaming, because that just illustrates that jesus, yes, people are like that, aren't they?"

But still, people do sometimes make good points badly, and I think this may be one of those times.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:16 PM
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Perhaps the great genius of her project is to help people imagine would it would be like to look at a different, better project on the same theme.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:19 PM
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97.2: At least for me, my point isn't that they all need to perfectly capture undeniable instances of people fat-sneering; it's that a surprising number of the images are so ambiguous that I don't think they belong at all. I mean, at some point, not enough pictures show what you intend for the collection to mean anything at all. If it were 20 pictures of nobody looking even approximately at her, and one picture of a guy sneering, would that be a successful project on any level?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:19 PM
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If you look at many of the photos that are not in the article (click through to her site) it's pretty obvious that people are sneering at her because she's fat, not because she's in their way, etc.

Because I am an unpleasant person, I venture to suggest that some of this "her art project is done incorrectly and besides, people would totally glare at a fashion model if she were in New York wearing shorts" stuff is about denying the ways that we are complicit in this sort of thing.

Also, honestly, I love her physicality. Perhaps I am just a sucker for puffy, pallid people, but she's this big, soft, lowering presence - it's so amazing that she's out there in the world being this very visible non-standard body. She makes everyone else look kind of interchangeable.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:20 PM
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I once got sneered at by Sandra Bernhard in Greenwich Village

Sorry, Jesus, but that's just the way her face looks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:21 PM
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No way, man. That sneer was meant for me. I could see it in her eyes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:22 PM
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I don't think you're unpleasant, but one of the offenders in her photographs is wearing mirrored sunglasses and not looking at her. I'm going with 'cool concept, not well executed.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:23 PM
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111: Yeah, I finally realized that there were (9) additional pics not in the article linked in the OP, and several of those are more dispositive/don't feature her blocking a crowded sidewalk.

Maybe the bad curator is Danny Olda.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:25 PM
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114: Yeah, that was a big WTF.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:26 PM
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We could probably follow JRoth around the Strip with a camera and prove that he gives the stinkeye to everyone.

I do wonder this about myself - I know that, if I take a picture with an affectless face, I look like a serial killer*. Generally I think I look IRL like an animated, even cheerful person, but when I'm TCB on a shopping trip, I suspect that I look... not friendly.

OTOH, no one ever tells me to smile, so I must be doing OK. I hear that happens to some people all the time.

*not really kidding - I used to do that for IDs, since smiling for an ID seemed weird, and the pics looked extremely creepy


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:29 PM
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I do not see it as trasngressive, original, or uncomfortable.

No, wait. I find the pictures uncomfortable because she is hamming up the weight issue in a forced way.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:29 PM
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So, on her site, the thumbnails are in a four by five grid, with the cop in the upper left and the lower right missing. If we call the cop A1 and the missing picture E4, which ones look like unambiguous glares for being fat to anyone else? I'd say C4, the woman in the background is definitely looking at her, and definitely looks negative, but I still wouldn't call that clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:30 PM
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She makes everyone else look kind of interchangeable.

That's part of the fantasy I allude to in 55.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:31 PM
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D1, the girl is definitely craning to look at her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:31 PM
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119: I was just going to say that I bet you could pick out 8 of her 19 and have a fairly compelling set, but then I thought, "Boy, that seems like a lot of work."

But if we crowdsource it....

PS - Apple doesn't recognize "crowdsource" as a word. Quelle surprise.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:32 PM
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C1, I don't see anyone looking at her at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:32 PM
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119: are any of the people in any of the photos looking at the people in the other photos?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:36 PM
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Being sneered at is sometimes nothing to sneer at. I once got sneered at by Sandra Bernhard in Greenwich Village, and that made me feel pretty darn good, let me tell you.

"George Carlin came to see me once
He said Michael outta sight
Richie Pryor said he liked me
Even though I was white
I hung out with Don Dimucci
Took lessons from Earl Klugh
Joni Mitchell ignored me
Hey she'd ignore you
Shelly Berman sat in the front row once
With a face like wood"


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:36 PM
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Rather than "unambiguous," I'm going to score more generously, partly because I don't think the set needs to be perfect to be compelling; it mostly needs to drop the "you're so vain" shots.

A1, A2, A3, A4*, B3, B4*, C2, C3, C4, D1, D3*, E1

So 12 of 19, 1/4 of which are marginal IMO. One of my HS teachers used to say, "Even John Updike [terrible example IMO] needs an editor."

*maybe? In A4 I'm not even sure who it's supposed to be sneering, but the guy at the center of the pic seems to be giving her a weird look. B4, on the swing, is ambiguous (but might be less so if you could see the adult's face, which gets us back to craft). D3 I don't really see a sneer, but it's plausibly a decent example with the rest of the group.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:41 PM
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No, wait. I find the pictures uncomfortable because she is hamming up the weight issue in a forced way.

See, I find these transgressive and uncomfortable because I live my life as a fat, gender non-conforming person generally read as female, someone who isn't one of those "such a lovely face and a large but hourglassy figure" fat women who get some positive attention to compensate for the negative. I know precisely how my body, my image is either a downer or risible.

Peep, as far as this being some kind of photographer's narcissism: isn't that just as true of any kind of self portrait? We don't generally complain about how Rembrandt just wanted the world to revolve around himself, etc. But more importantly than that, I'd argue that the narcissism line of reasoning is dehistoricizing and depoliticizing - for a fat, working class woman to take up space in the center of the image, for her to control how the image is set - that's transgressive. For a fat working class woman to say "look at me and pay attention to how you look at me", that's transgressive too. For an ugly woman to say that - well....speaking as an ugly woman, I know that one pretty well. These photos are disruptive precisely because we're only supposed to take street photos of people who are 'worth' photographing or else who are horrible examples - and we all already know who is which. We're always supposed to take photos of people in this economy of images for consumption on the web, or consume those pictures so we know how to appear and how not to appear and what to buy to do so, and we're not supposed to admit that there's anything unpleasant about this process - that is, morally unpleasant, anything that doesn't reflect well on us as observers and consumers.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:41 PM
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Keep talking about her and maybe she'll show up here in comments, like the husband of that photographer who made the babies cry so she could photograph crying babies.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:42 PM
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I generally agree that the project isn't super well-executed, but one thing that stands out to me is that with some of the photos, even if I can't tell whether a passerby is actually sneering at her, I can imagine that were they doing so, they would be doing so with disgust, and that's where fat prejudice often distinguishes itself.

To be more concrete, when I looked at the swing photo, my first thought was that the adult and kid would probably look askance at any adult sitting by herself on a playground looking a little out of it. But I think the emotion behind the look is likely to have some disgust or pity in it that wouldn't be there with a physically different person. (I'm not claiming that I can read disgust on their faces, just saying I wouldn't be surprised.)

Which is not to say that any other adult would get a look driven by positive emotion, e.g., a lone man might seem creepy.

With the tourist photos, it's the difference between telling the story as "this stupid tourist was in my way" and "this tub of lard was in my way."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:42 PM
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Incidentally, that was in another thread about photographs, women, and body issues.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:43 PM
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124: In C1 the guy on the far right appears to be looking at someone off-camera; in B2 the guy at the right edge of the picture is loooking at the woman taking a pic of her BF; in A4 the woman to the left of HM-C appears to be looking at someone/something over HM-C's left shoulder; in C2 there's a kid looking right at the camera.

Maybe others, but the pics aren't composed to give us that info. Again, see 55.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:46 PM
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129: I think this is a good point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:46 PM
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128: that dude was around blogs a lot, though. He used to comment at the poor man regularly (and, I seem to recall, offered us some of those hilariously unflattering McCain shots before they got made public).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:46 PM
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Peep, as far as this being some kind of photographer's narcissism: isn't that just as true of any kind of self portrait?

Yes, of course! That was what I said.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:46 PM
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Going against the flow of traffic in a busy crosswalk, especially since they put in barriers to force people to cross at intersections, is a major offense. Of course people have to look at her to go around her. If she went to Wall St. and punched a banker in the balls I bet there would be pictures of lots of people looking at her too.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:49 PM
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128: It does seem like only a matter of time.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:49 PM
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134 was peep.

I started by thinking about the self-hate required to do this project. Then I changed my mind.

Maybe I'm wrong again. Maybe this process allows her to detach herself.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:51 PM
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133: True. But maybe she'll turn up in comments like the overweening mother of the kid with the violin.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:51 PM
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I started by thinking about the self-hate required to do this project. Then I changed my mind.

Or maybe you assume that the only response to being fat - being someone whose physicality I assume that you would hate - would be to hate yourself or to disassociate yourself from your body. This has not generally been the path taken by cultural movements that work on any form of body politics.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:55 PM
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137: Pwned by Frowner, but I was going to say that this seems the opposite of self-hate.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:58 PM
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I'd like it more if she actually punched some people instead of being rude in ways that her audience might not realize are rude.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 2:58 PM
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I'd definitely like any art project more if it involved punching Wall St. bankers.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:00 PM
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139: Well, she chose an art project that involved documenting people being disgusted by her appearance. I tried to imagine myself doing that and thought I would wind up hating everyone, but not quite have the strength not to share their hate for me.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:04 PM
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I don't know why she chose this topic, but as front page poster performance art, I'd say my choice to post it is going swimmingly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:07 PM
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||
Please tell me that I'm not the only person here who, against better judgment, got angered into commenting on some idiot's gun-freak facebook thread.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:10 PM
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If you already know that some people are disgusted by your appearance (while they pretended not to be, or tried to discourage you from calling them out), it might actually be pretty fulfilling to produce some public evidence of the fact. I mean, it's not as though the girl is looking at these photos and saying "huh, I never realized that I had a non-normative body".

And honestly, beauty norms are pretty fragile - I suppose that's why people freak out so much when they're challenged. Put up enough pictures of puffy pallid people while declaring that they're beautiful and you'll change people's opinions on beauty. I say this advisedly, having had my opinions on beauty changed both positively (lots of time looking at queer POC fashion tumblrs) and negatively (circumstances led me to regular viewing of a terrible, fascist science fiction program populated by muscular white men with generic 'handsome' features; I now notice men like this in public, a thing I never did before).


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:11 PM
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re: 78 and others

Yeah. They are shitty photos, aesthetically. And shitty in a very broad contemporary tradition of faux-naif shitty photos taken by conceptual artists. It's boring. It's a total cliché. If you look at the photos that feature in many of the big contemporary photo prizes, they all look the same.

It'd be far more transgressive or interesting if she didn't use that style, or used really obviously posed photos, or made the photos really beautifully composed, or whatever. Anything but the look that has actually been chosen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:11 PM
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Jammies - who absolutely can't stand political arguing - made some snarky status update about gun control, and got nearly a week of his diametrically opposed friends arguing on his thread. I thought he was going to lose his mind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:12 PM
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I dunno. I was pretty damn skinny when I lived in NYC, and I never wear shorts, and I feel like I got looks like that all the time, even when I wasn't a bumbling lost noob anymore. Maybe it's b/c I was brown, who knows, but I have to assume everyone in these photos is just being caught in a grumpy moment. In the city the streets are part of your living space, and it's just not reasonable to expect people to be smiley at you out there. Almost all the body language and expression in these pictures indicates to me that there is another photographer or helper or someone, and that this is irretrievably screwing with the 'experiment.' The African American lady looking at her feet looks like someone who *was* behind her, and moved to the side to avoid her, and seems to be looking at the shoes, which we can't completely see. In otherwords, it just doesn't seem like a fair set up to these random strangers who were probably grumpily trying to make it through their day. I definitely have a grumpy, mean look on my face a lot when I'm walking around a city in a hurry--and years of men catcalling me and telling me to 'cheer up darlin' or or getting angry, 'what are *you* looking at?' when I wasn't particularly thinking about them even if my eyes were pointed in their direction has only set me further in my ways. I'm a smiley person in general, but I really despise the notion that I owe anyone on the street a kind expression, and that my allowing my internal ponderous state of mind to live on my face is somehow oppressing anyone else. Commutes are impossible to tolerate with that sort of expectation.

Now that I'm on the officially overweight side, what strikes me is that people seem to be less careful about excusing themselves past me at theaters and on buses. It's like I'm entitled to slightly less personal space, or they think the 'padding' means I won't mind. It doesn't seem like deliberate contempt, just shift in body spacing priorities.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:13 PM
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143: She didn't need the art project to tell her that some people are disgusted by her. Hiding in shame or accepting that as a reasonable reaction would be self-hating.

On preview, pwned by Frowner, again. I hate myself.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:14 PM
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I have no idea what faux-naif art wank means.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:14 PM
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Naif seems to refer to a very specific stylized painting that I think of as being...folk art. But not in the most recent meaning.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:16 PM
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Faux-naif art wank must be awful indeed. What a terrible person she is!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:16 PM
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(circumstances led me to regular viewing of a terrible, fascist science fiction program populated by muscular white men with generic 'handsome' features;

What's the show (and what were the circumstances)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:17 PM
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These photos are disruptive precisely because we're only supposed to take street photos of people who are 'worth' photographing or else who are horrible examples - and we all already know who is which.

Is this really true of street photography? I don't think of it being the case for e.g. William Klein or big chunks of Garry Winograd's work.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:30 PM
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re: 155

Or Cartier-Bresson, or lots of others. Lots of street photography has a very light touch which isn't disrespectful to the people in the photographs.

re: 151

Well, I mean a deliberate lack of composition. Poor colour. Odd or awkward cropping. There's a very deliberate style that apes the photos taken by ordinary people as family snaps. Particularly the photos taken by people before the widespread use of phones or digital cameras which produced good colour and were easy to use. Except in this case it's deliberately adopted by art school graduates as if producing crappy photos somehow makes them more authentic. More emotive.

You have to try quite hard to take photos as shitty as a lot of that style, it's a pose. You have to deliberately bugger about with them to get them to look that way some of the time. Which is fine in itself. I'm not against a bit of deliberate imperfection. But everyone does it in exactly the same way. To the point where it has become a cliché. It's lazy. Some of the photos are near identical to Martin Parr shots from 20 or even 30 years ago, and that style has become a really prevalent style in a certain kind of conceptual photography. When it was new it was at least a reaction to and undercutting of a certain kind of beautifully composed black and white street photography. But now, it's just ... meh.

FWIW, in the photo where she's bent over the camera, and in the one where she's taking a shot in the street and someone is looking at her from behind that's a $5000 - $10,000 Leica she has in her hands. Not a $5 dollar disposable from a drug store.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:42 PM
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I think Haley M-C is doing a lot more sneering at the subjects of her photos than they are doing sneering at her. Most of these looks don't appear to be sneers at all. This entire project strikes me as some kind of misbegotten assault on the great urban freedom to observe strangers freely.

This is a good culture war post because one group of observers will think it's obvious that the photographer is a jerk, and the other group will think that the subjects are being jerks. Then they can fight.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:44 PM
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So, faux-naif because it apes a certain kind of vernacular or folk photography. Ordinary family snaps from years ago. Faux, because the person doing is not taking ordinary family snaps, and often has to go to some length to fake that aesthetic. Art-wank because it comes out of a particular style of photography adopted by lazy 'art' photographers doing documentary or 'street' or reportage type work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:44 PM
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159

What's the show (and what were the circumstances)?

Shame prevents me from revealing too much, but it might be a show with awful racial politics starring the guy from MacGyver and a bunch of forgettable thick-necked white dudes in a series of tinned adventures...the title of the show might have the words "Star" and "Gate" in it. It's the sort of thing you might watch if you had, for example, an alternate internet social circle that was really into it and liked to talk about it until you kind of broke down one time when you were bored and not feeling very good.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:46 PM
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A related project.
(Kevin Connolly, born without legs, has a similar project documenting people's reactions to him, although he's the photographer. He put out a book several years back. I also had a friend without legs, and wow, watching people react to him, and the incredibly *stupid* things people were say were mouth-droupingly amazing.)


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:46 PM
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Rory's reaction to the pictures: "The ones with the teenagers might be sneering. But the rest of them... That's just what adults' faces look like."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:48 PM
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159: I would be revealing myself as a worse person than you if I admitted to having watched a number of seasons of the same show without all that much social pressure to do so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:54 PM
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Walking my bike on the sidewalk in Harvard sq just now, another natural habitat of Homo sapiens assholeus, and 5/9 people gave me looks that, had I been shooting continuous pictures, would merit inclusion in her photoset. So not unique to fatness. I mean, I'm a little overweight, but I think it was mostly about the bike.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:54 PM
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I'm only 40 comments or so into this thread, but I thought the point of this is not necessarily to say, "See, look! Look at what fat people have to deal with!!" but to show what it feels like to be a fat person, and to notice/feel the glares of people as commentaries on your body. Whether they are or not, whether they're really about class or not--when you're fat, you live in a world in which you have been told, by someone, or someones, repeatedly, that you should die or hide and eat nothing until you can be looked at.

A student in NYC told me, in front of a class, that he thought as someone who expects people to look at her for 75 minutes at a time, I should, you know, put some effort into, you know, how I look. Take care of myself. You know.

Maybe he meant that I looked tired or that I really needed new clothes or I should stop doing that twitchy hand-thing. But as someone who spent years as a child hiding from other children because they'd start screaming FATSO FATSO FATSO at me, I feel perhaps overconfident that he meant I should be thinner.

It's not the individual shade-throwing that matters. It's the lifetime of shade, living in shade, taking shade for granted because you don't know what it would be like for anyone to have any other thoughts about you other than MUST LOSE WEIGHT.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:54 PM
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162: It's a good thing we haven't admitted anything, then. It would be rather embarrassing, forever alter our status on Unfogged, etc etc.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:57 PM
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158: Do you have some links to what you consider good photography? Is any "street photography" good? I think you're right about these but I'm having trouble articulating what I don't like about them.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:59 PM
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OK, so it's set then: anyone who's ever watched Stargate: SG1 is banned from Unfogged.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 3:59 PM
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But I think the emotion behind the look is likely to have some disgust or pity in it that wouldn't be there with a physically different person.

The assumption that "the look is likely to have some disgust or pity in it" would seem to take as a given that it's normal (typical? common?) to feel disgust or pity for a fat person. Again, as Rory put it, "Isn't it kind of prejudiced to assume that the looks are about her weight?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:00 PM
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168: That's precisely what makes this art and not journalism. It isn't an undercover ABC special; it's about you looking in the photograph to figure out who is mocking the fat person. In looking at the photo, you re-enact and compassionate their disgust. Or not, if you are innocent.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:09 PM
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On that, I think that AWB is right that lived experience tells us that it is fairly common for people to feel disgust or pity for fat women. I was prepared to be interested by the project on that basis, and then got thrown into nitpicking mode (which I have a hard time ever leaving) only by the specific pictures.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:10 PM
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164.2 is horrible. I hope you bitched him out but good.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:11 PM
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169: I can see that. But that's also why I don't think it's working artistically.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:17 PM
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I think it's completely fair to start from the premise that heavy people get the stinkeye more than most, and that that's a big part of the experience of heavy people. But that clearly doesn't mean that literally any set of pictures of a heavy person in public communicate that.

Again, in the spirit of constructive criticism: start your exhibit with the clearest, strongest examples of this actually happening. Then, as you move into edge cases, the viewer, having empathetically absorbed the feeling of being sneered at in that way, will have the same feeling as the subject: "That person is sneering at my weight." If you do this effectively enough, maybe you can even use some of the pictures that don't show anyone even looking at the subject (I'm sorry, but the woman at the bus stop is looking down the street waiting for a bus), because they'll illustrate the paranoia/neurosis, after having made clear that it's based in reality.

But just compiling a bunch of pictures, maybe half of which really make your point? Poor craft and/or art (and I don't even care about ttaM's issues, legit though they may be).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:18 PM
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re: 166

I guess the classic examples are Gary Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Klein, someone more confrontational might be Bruce Gilden.

Cartier-Bresson: http://reelfoto.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/henri-cartier-bresson-looking-back.html

Gilden: http://www.brucegilden.com/portfolio/facing-new-york/

Klein: http://www.photoforager.com/archives/william-klein

Just grabbing a quick example of someone doing colour stuff at the moment:

http://nickturpin.com/portfolio/street-photography/

Not all amazing, but some of Turpin's colour stuff has a lightness of touch and wit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:18 PM
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re: 169

Yeah, I'm reacting to it as art. I don't doubt for one minute that heavier or overweight people, especially women, are the subject of bad looks, or scorn, or discrimination. So it's not that I'm reacting to it negatively because of the claim that she's making about her life experience. But, as art, I don't think it's very good. Lazy, even.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:20 PM
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171: I'm old enough that I was very cool and withering in my response.

Whether it's good art or not is not really in my wheelhouse, but I do think it doesn't matter what the people are "really" thinking.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:28 PM
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174: Wow, that Turpin stuff is really really good. Not sure the style is directly transferable to MC-H's goals, but it shows just how readily a good photographer can make strong images out of found conditions.

The problem with so much contemporary art that has a point/goal/concept is that craft is treated as nearly suspect, and it's quite wearying to view a lot of it without getting the positive feedback that "good art"* provides regardless of content.

Those pictures, after hours of looking at the MC-H stuff, were like a cool drink of water. And not due to the absence of a consciously awkward heavy woman, but just due to, you know, beauty.

* in the sense of well-crafted


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:30 PM
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I do think it doesn't matter what the people are "really" thinking.

Does it matter if they're even looking at her at all?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:30 PM
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I do think it doesn't matter what the people are "really" thinking.

This is hairsplitting, but I think it matters what it looks like they're thinking, if you see what I mean. Staged pictures would work fine for me, but pictures like the one with the kids in the blue vests, who look to me like "Hey, that lady dropped something" rather than any particular commentary on her, put me out of sympathy with the project.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:36 PM
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Not all amazing, but some of Turpin's colour stuff has a lightness of touch and wit.

174: Wow, that Turpin stuff is really really good. Not sure the style is directly transferable to MC-H's goals, but it shows just how readily a good photographer can make strong images out of found conditions.

I agree. I don't look at much photography, but I was immediately struck by how well composed and energetic those were.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:44 PM
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164 is much more effective than all these ambiguous and context-free photographs.

Just tell your story! Don't misrepresent something else as your story.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:45 PM
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159: Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:51 PM
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Watching Battlestar Galactica made me totally judgmental of everyone who wasn't some sort of horrific human-robot hybrid. Gross!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 4:57 PM
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That's just what adults' faces look like.

For my money, this is the most interesting comment on this thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:02 PM
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184.2 yes, muchly.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:12 PM
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Yep.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:14 PM
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But how did you know? Unless... You're one of them too.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:21 PM
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187: Duh.

This is what gives me my super-pwning powers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:23 PM
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||
How many people would have wound up dead if this had happened in the US?

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/02/this-guys-car-got-stuck-at-125mph-for-an-hour/273140/
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:24 PM
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174: Thanks. Yes, the differences between the classics plus Turpin vs. H.M-C are clear.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:36 PM
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Perhaps I am just a sucker for puffy, pallid people, but she's this big, soft, lowering presence - it's so amazing that she's out there in the world being this very visible non-standard body.

You must be easily amazed. Doughy white girls are everywhere.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:36 PM
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189: Whoa.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:39 PM
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How many people would have wound up dead if this had happened in the US?

Coincidentally, somebody recently sent me this article which says that if your car starts accelerating suddenly you should try to put it in neutral.

I suspect they tried that, sometime during the hour-long process, but I was glad to see that advice because I immediately knew that, even though it seems like an obvious solution, I would never have the presence of mind to think of that in an emergency, without seeing the suggestion beforehand.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:43 PM
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189: I don't get those stories. How does a car malfunction in such a way that the throttle, transmission and ignition switch fail simultaneously? Also, don't believe the comments if you happen to read them. Oregon drivers suck, and if the cops actually ticketed people who drove slowly in the fast lane, the state would achieve an astronomical budget surplus in very little time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:46 PM
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if the cops actually ticketed people who drove slowly in the fast lane

If the state would authorize us to fire warning shots at those people I'd do it every day.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:49 PM
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That's the kind of police force we need.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:51 PM
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gswift for Commissioner Of All The Police!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 5:57 PM
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I saw a short documentary thing years ago about an organ transplant run from, iirc, Luton Airport to a central London hospital. It was time sensitive, and a really urgent case, so they had a police pursuit driver taking it in a chase car. With motorcycle outriders, and other cops in advance of him closing roads. I think they may even have switched some lights for him.

That was insane. He was driving through central London at 100mph up one-way streets the wrong way, taking the racing line round roundabouts (so going the wrong way round some of them). It was like the Grand Theft Auto or something, only he was doing it for real.

IIRC he averaged 90mph.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:15 PM
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198: The classic in this genre being, of course, C'était un rendez-vous.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:25 PM
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199: ah yes, the craziest fucking thing ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:29 PM
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Oh, I was pwnd by 199. Though the actual speed there is a matter of debate.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:29 PM
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I'm now wondering what the fastest anyone here has been on a surface street/freeway. I assume Gswift has everyone beat. I don't think I've ever exceeded 100mph on a surface street or 120 freeway, and I wasn't driving for the former.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:36 PM
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Yeah, I read a debunking of it that took the route and timings and worked out that apart from a few sections where the driver really was pushing it, the speeds were much less insane than the editing, low camera position, and engine noise would suggest.

The organ transplant guy was going really fast, faster maybe, and it was during the day so the traffic was heavier. But he did have outriders and assistance on parts of the route so it's not comparable.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:36 PM
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Rally racer Alex Roy did a cross-country (New York to Santa Monica) drive in 31 hours, 4 minutes.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:41 PM
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202: I saw an indicated 150 (didn't *quite* manage to hit the 155-MPH limiter) on the autobahn. This wasn't quite as fast, but still.

203: There was a mashup of the video and a Google Map that traced the route, but unfortunately the embedded video's been taken down.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:41 PM
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Do rural two-lane roads count as surface streets?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:43 PM
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Oh wait, here's a blurry shot going a bit faster.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:43 PM
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Anyhow, 120 freeway, 135 rural etc.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:44 PM
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Oh wait at least 125 freeway.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:46 PM
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And in the US, I think the fastest I've gone was an indicated 120 on the freeway. That was on a motorcycle, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:46 PM
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209 cont'd: and did I get a massive ticket that trip? Shit yeah I did.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:49 PM
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Yeah my only time on the Autobahn I was driving my nervous girlfriend in a 1998 Punto. Sad face emoticon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:50 PM
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125/135 is reasonably impressive.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:51 PM
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I've got a 2012 police package Impala. It'll definitely push past 130 late at night on I-80.


Posted by: gwsift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:52 PM
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I used to have a reverse commute across the Richmond/San Rafael bridge, which has really nice sightlines if you'd like to get a little speeding in. I'd hit 120 fairly regularly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:54 PM
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212: I highly recommend BMW European Delivery. It's absurdly fun. (Plus, you're kind of obligated to see how fast your brand-new car will go.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:55 PM
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215: I think the stupidest bit of speeding I've ever done was going 100 on a bright-red motorcycle on the Bay Bridge. I'm still kind of taken aback I got lucky enough that there weren't any cops out that day.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 6:56 PM
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Stupidest (as in, I was a fucking shithead for doing it) bit of speeding I've done is when I took Fell at 80 all the way across town. Closest call (legally) I ever had was when I took the Treasure Island exit off the bay bridge at 40 (speed limit 15; I had figured out that I could squeal my tires just perfectly through the whole turn) and there were two CHP troopers with somebody pulled over right there. Haha, hi fellas! Those sure are some dirty looks you're shooting me!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:00 PM
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The 125 was on a trip to Vegas; we made it from SF in some absurdly short amount of time, but I got pegged right as I came over the last hill. The cop was super nice, and wrote me up as going 95 so I wouldn't get the hit for more than 25 mph over the speed limit (I was probably still going 110 or so, easily).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:01 PM
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100 (mph, not kph) a couple times on different highways/two lane roads in Canada- up there, what's the difference?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:03 PM
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I took Fell at 80 all the way across town

Oh man, I totally get the impetus, though. Fell always makes me feel like I'm in a game of San Francisco Rush.

Plain stupidest for me was getting tagged on 280. I passed a CHP officer pulling someone over around the 92 junction and figured I'd passed the one cop on that stretch of road, so I sped up a bit. Didn't reckon with the guy who'd been trailing me for over a mile...


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:03 PM
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I saw a short documentary thing years ago about an organ transplant run from, iirc, Luton Airport to a central London hospital. It was time sensitive, and a really urgent case, so they had a police pursuit driver taking it in a chase car. With motorcycle outriders, and other cops in advance of him closing roads. I think they may even have switched some lights for him.

Ooh, I'd like to see that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:05 PM
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221: I got tagged on 280 the first week I had my GTI. Happens to every programmer with a black european sports car at least once, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:07 PM
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I've been in a car going 100 (on the 505 north of Davis) but haven't driven faster than about 95. I got close to 95 in west Texas a few days ago because I was curious how fast one of the cars that passed me was going. Answer: faster than I really wanted to drive with a car full of stuff.

I've never driven particularly quickly on city streets. I have found that if you imitate some of the driving tactics from the rendevous driver while playing Burnout Paradise, you can win a lot of races easily (against the computer, anyway). Not surprisingly, crashing less makes up for going slower in some parts of the race routes.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:07 PM
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Unless its a school zone or something motorcycles get a pass. Victimless crime!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:09 PM
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I've been in a car going 130ish over the Bay Bridge in the middle of the night. I (in the front passenger seat) was tripping balls, however, at the time, so I either did or didn't really fully appreciate the experience, depending on how you look at it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:10 PM
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I think I've topped out around 110 going through rural Nebraska; on my last cross-country drive, I got tagged going in the upper 90s in Arizona, which the cop helpfully (no sarcasm intended) knocked down to 85 so I didn't have to deal with a court appearance.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:10 PM
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225: The guy who pulled me over was pissed that I'd seen the other cop and hadn't slowed down at all. I also don't think he appreciated it that when he asked me if I knew why he'd pulled me over, I responded with "Yeah, I was speeding."


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:11 PM
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I've never been pulled over for any reason while driving. A couple of times I've been in the car when we got pulled over because one of the car's lights was out.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:12 PM
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Yeah my worst Bay Bridge/ general urban driving stories are definitely not Internet safe. No Eskimos were molested, don't worry.

I did get two 100mph+ tickets in a single month, I guess that can be revealed. At the time I was worried that this was sufficiently stupid (and it was pretty stupid) to have my bar card stripped.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:13 PM
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Isn't there a George Carlin routine where he says, "In your eyes, officer," when asked, "Where's the fire?"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:13 PM
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Here's the analysis of C'etait un rendezvous done by a physics prof and his students. The speed varies wildly, of course, but at one point the car is pushing 140 mph.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:15 PM
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My eskimo driving stories will remain unrelated here, yeah. Ugh. Fucking dumbass, younger Sifu. Sure is fun driving fast cars in California, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:15 PM
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I'm surprised that most males in this country make it to their 30s. On my first trip to the Bay Area, during school, one of my traveling companions figured that 120 was the right speed for going over the Siskiyous. At night, while it was snowing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:23 PM
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I have never owned a car that didn't get uncomfortably wobbly over 100-105.

It's amazing how much easier/more pleasant it is to speed west of the Rockies than on the east coast. Wide open spaces.

But having had a few close calls with extreme speeders when changing lanes -- where the fuck did you come from kind of thing -- I am not so hot on it any more. All in fun till someone gets killed.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:29 PM
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I've done 125, but it was km/h not miles/h. I learned my lesson vicariously when a friend of my sister hit a cow at maybe 150 km/h. The horns came through that passenger side. The driver walked with a few scratches, but my sister's best friend was riding shotgun and died on the scene.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:30 PM
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The Siskiyous are beautiful when it's light out. If it's dark and snowing you might as well get that part of the drive over with, I guess.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:32 PM
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I like to imagine that I was careful/skilled, but you know, I was also lucky, I assume.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:33 PM
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-that
+the


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:35 PM
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Racing a friend in high school on I-44 in Missouri I did 165 mph. When I think back on that I want to punch my 17-year-old self.


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 7:49 PM
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You bunch of pussies, I'm copping to doing stuff in a govt vehicle. Let's hear the good stuff.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:06 PM
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Geez I thought my freeway exit story was pretty good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:12 PM
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Yeah, but you were chasing bad guys under color of law, innit? No fair comparing to otherwise law abiding citizens. Or were you just fucking around, lawman?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:16 PM
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130 MPH on some winding road in Vermont (I think it might have been 22A) about 10 years ago in my then fairly new Civic Si. Stupidest thing about it is that I took a pic of the speedometer as it hit 130 with the shitty camera on my Treo phone which necessitated me putting my hand through the steering wheel in order to get it in focus.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:17 PM
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Driving out West is awesome, even though no one in this state can drive.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:26 PM
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I once pulled into the oncoming lane to pass someone somewhere between Crescent City and Eureka and, while still in the oncoming lane, passed right by a policeman giving a ticket to someone who'd been pulled over going the opposite direction. It was a legal place to pass, though, and I couldn't have been going more than 70 or 75. I'm not really an adventurous driver.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:33 PM
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Yeah, but you were chasing bad guys under color of law, innit? No fair comparing to otherwise law abiding citizens. Or were you just fucking around, lawman?

Totally the second one.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:37 PM
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Happens to every programmer with a black european sports car at least once, right?

This makes me suspect I am not actually a programmer. I have never owned a European sports car, however, so it isn't definitive.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:42 PM
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even though no one in this state can drive.

WORD. FIRE WARNING SHOTS AT THEM ALL. I might have a few drinks in me.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:45 PM
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I have driven too fast. Not like you maniacs though. Too fast in town when I was a lad. Too fast on long straight flat stretches in the imperial valley in CA.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:45 PM
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The fastest I've ever gone myself is probably about 90, maybe 95, in sparsely populated rural areas. Not often, though. The fastest I've experienced as a passenger was 112, on a trip out to camp at Conchas Lake when I was in high school. The roads were so empty that my friend decided to speed-test his car, and that's where it topped out. He would also weave in and out of the oncoming lane for no apparent reason. Also, this was at night. Another one of those "boy, in retrospect we sure were lucky" stories.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:49 PM
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234.1 is too right though


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:49 PM
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I can't tell if this is a boy conversation or if Lee is right that I'm a loser and that's why my answer is 73 or so.

She's out at a college basketball game with a woman I know from the monthly potluck I go to with the girls. I took the girls to a neighborhood potluck tonight and burned some of the popcorn I was making because I used the stock pot and even medium was too hot for it. So when the fellow basketball-watching lesbian showed up, Lee was home alone with multiple scented candles burning to overcome the smell of burning and the lights on low since I'd already left with the girls. Apparently there were a few moments of awkward conversation to make it clear that the other woman really does know Lee has a partner and Lee really does know she looked like she was trying to create a romantic atmosphere.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:54 PM
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I can't tell if this is a boy conversation or if Lee is right that I'm a loser and that's why my answer is 73 or so.

I'm shocked by the numbers in this thread as well. (though my highest is more like 80) It must be that I've never driven anywhere west of St. Louis.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 8:59 PM
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For the record, her answer would probably just be 85 or something, or at least in the recent past. I don't want to make it sound like I'm cramping her style all that much. And I know I've gotten as high as 77 while passing on the highway, but I wouldn't stay there and I don't think I'd enjoy going much higher.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:04 PM
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Oily gravel on a motorcycle, or loose dirt downhill on a bike. No, the real terror isn't sudden death with no control, but hoping that you can just manage to avoid becoming paraplegic, fuck don't look down, the only way out is to make this turn.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:14 PM
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it's hardly even worth owning a fast car on the east coast.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:16 PM
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112 on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike. In a non-turbo Volvo 240. Took a while. Very whobbly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:23 PM
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Standard procedure in any car I'm ever in that gets passed by someone going over 90 is for everyone to exclaim in outrage that anyone could be such a reckless asshole.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:27 PM
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Also for the record I mainly stay under 80 now. Certainly if somebody else is in the car.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:27 PM
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253: I think it's more of a "people who were socialized to be idiots" conversation. That mostly map onto boys, but it isn't quite perfect.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:30 PM
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The thing with speed, do you know the road. Driving fast where you know to coast and brake before the sharp curve. OK great, fast, but trains go fast, so what.

I think the real measure is terror and the kineasthetic sense of speed-- being lower and close to the ground with no protection is the way to go. I've never broken my collarbone, though, so empty talk.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:37 PM
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Anyhow, on a US freeway, in a modern car in good condition, 80 and 60 are not terribly different in terms of safety, I don't think. I mean, shit, look at the autobahn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:38 PM
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You don't need to be an idiot to go above 80 on the freeway, though!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:40 PM
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Hi.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:41 PM
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I knew a kid in high school in Pennsylvania who made a big deal out of driving people around in his dad's Boxster. Even he didn't try to speed around over 80 mph as far as I can recall. It was all about demonstrating how fast it could accelerate and how tight the handling on turns was.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:43 PM
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In my younger and stupider days I got a bike up to about 18O on an empty piece of freeway, so that's probably the fastest. That wasn't nearly as dangerous as some of the high speed cornering on roads I knew well.

FWIW I was convince the only life I was risking was my own, or I wouldn't have done it. I'm slightly less stupid now, at least.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:46 PM
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267 the fastest [i have been] I meant.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:47 PM
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I don't think I've ever gone over 75.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:48 PM
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With all my cars it's felt abusive to drive above 85, so that's about my limit. I do remember a number of times barely keeping control on turns and hills at much slower velocities, barely killing the fishtail as it started.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:49 PM
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I can't tell if this is a boy conversation or if Lee is right that I'm a loser and that's why my answer is 73 or so.

I'm pretty much with you, but that doesn't mean it isn't a boy conversation.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:56 PM
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Not a loser, opening up to someone else is much more frightening than driving fast. Compassion is the hardest stunt.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 9:58 PM
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The hairy thing about modern bikes isn't the top speed (they're all limited below 200, and most well below that) but the acceleration. In my ages decrepitness now I have a touring bike that is pokey by fast bike standards, but still has a 0 to 60 a little under 4s. You have to work really hard make a car do that.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:03 PM
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For a while I owned an 83 Mercedes 300CD (yes, for biodiesel; no, not in CA). Our other car was a 2001 Prius. I had recurring dreams about picking the Prius up, hoisting it over my shoulder like a bike, and carrying it around obstacles. I did not drive the Prius on the highway -- but still, some of the time I drove the Prius, and some of the time I drove the Mercedes. I think this is how I ended up smoothly humming along in the Mercedes on a country road near a Midwestern college town, figuring I was going about 50, looked at the speedometer and saw that I had cleared 100. It was a very stable car.

I miss that car sometimes. It probably saved my ex, his wife, and their infant son from death when a speeding truck hit them from behind on the highway. The parents were badly injured, but the baby got away with only a few bruises, I believe.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:05 PM
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I try to go no faster than 70-75 (only if conditions are ok for it) in general. There's a huge drop in fuel efficiency for my car as you go above 70. It doesn't really wobble above 80 (maybe above 90), but I don't like how it handles faster than that.

It used to be on some freeways that the fast lane had everyone going at least 80 and if you didn't go that fast the lane would get backed up behind you with a bunch of crazy tailgaters and lane-weavers, but all other lanes were going slower than 65. In those cases, I'd usually just go with the fast lane traffic at 80 because for whatever reason the lanes going 65 or below would have a lot of unexplained slowing and speeding and that's tiring and frustrating to deal with. And because I lack patience. I haven't seen that situation as much lately.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:17 PM
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On some of the roads in the east that I've now been on the speed limit is apparently 55 but it seems like maybe 1 out of 20 cars is going below 60 and the other 19 are fighting with each other at 65+ to pass that 1 slow car on a two lane highway. I haven't quite been the slow car, but in a 55 zone I like to stay under 65.

Years of not getting pulled over have led me to believe that staying within 5-7 mph of the speed limit is a generally safe bet. Except when the highway goes through small towns where the police spend all day catching people who failed to slow down at the city limits. In those cases I try to keep right about at the speed limit.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:24 PM
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Battle Mountain, Nevada, judged "the armpit of America" by the Washington Post in 2001, sits alongside a sharp curve in the I-80 just west of a twenty-mile stretch straight as a ruler, so a young, dumb kid driving westbound, as I was in 2002, is liable to nod off and drift from the left lane into the median strip at the point where the curve starts. I was probably doing 80 mph, which is not much by the standards of this thread, but certainly did the job.

The surprising crunchy noises woke me up. I jerked the steering wheel hard to the right, which got me back onto the asphalt and straight into a skid. Thank the Virgin there were no other cars on that immediate stretch of road. From then forward I continued to spin the steering wheel around, but it no longer had any connection to the car's behavior.

It was like trying to play a car-driving arcade game as a very young child, when I hadn't yet realized that you have to put jn quarters to gain control of the car; I'd just mash buttons and spin the steering wheel around until the demo car crashed.

The highway whipping back and forth through the windshield was exactly like the climax of a game or dream or movie: it was clear that this particular experience was coming to an end, and it was simply amazing to think that the end of my life was coming by way of this stupid word "skid" (turn into the skid? turn against the skid?), just like they'd taught me in driver's ed all those years ago. That was it. I hadn't done any of the things I'd intended to do in life.

The car spun around once or twice and eventually drifted onto the right shoulder, going backwards, and plowed through maybe 500 yards of dirt. I couldn't see anything through the cloud of dust I was kicking up, and something shattered the passenger window so the dust shot into the cabin and I had to shut my eyes. Foot pressed on the brake like an idiot. Finally bumped to a gentle stop (the post of a mileage sign), opened the door stepped into the Nevada sunshine, barely able to and walk. Cars pulled over to ask if I was ok, paramedics came, cop came, super nice cop, super lenient citation ("failure to maintain lane") ... he went back to check the tire marks and returned with a stack of CDs and a teddy bear that had flown out when the window shattered. "Are these your CDs and teddy bear, sir?" Oh yes: super, super nice cops in the armpit of America.

I had come to a stop right outside an elementary school and all the kids came running out to the back fence to ask, "you ok, mister?" Turned out the school had put in a huge dirt slope along the highway because of cases like mine. Without it I might have gone careening straight through the playground, a thought the horror of which will never leave me. Stayed the night at the Super 8. As a vegetarian, the only thing I could do for dinner was to get PB&J supplies in the local supermarket. Everyone in the supermarket already knew me as the college kid who had wrecked his car. "Get some sleep," they told me. I got some sleep.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:26 PM
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No faster than 85. Not today, anyway.

When we first moved to the East, I had to look around a bit for a place to take my little 2002 up over 100 every now and then. I-68 was new, and is well enough built that there aren't any safety concerns.

My favorite road for driving fast, though, is US 89, between Choteau and Browning.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:37 PM
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Not that this is in the nature of continued confession of automotive sins, mind you, but I've heard it said that if you do tend to travel excessively fast in a vehicle that is capable of it, one tried and true method of avoiding those incovenient tickets is just to accelerate out of them.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:46 PM
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276: my strategy is to always be the second fastest car for whatever local region of road I'm in. Has worked well for many years, but who knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:50 PM
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I prefer to drive in the fast lane because one of the ways I get my aggression (that is a strong word. Drivey-competeyness?) out now that I'm all responsible is to foil unnecessary lane changes. Mostly this isn't easy because who am I to say if somebody needs to change lanes. But nobody actually needs to be in the leftmost lane (usually) so I can feel like my (safely!) blocking them out is actually improving traffic speeds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:54 PM
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That's a much better game: favourite road for rapid travel. I'd have to say Highway 1 just north of San Francisco. Not a fast road in any absolute sense, but a lot of fun to travel rapidly.

I guess I have a soft spot for the ocean views though. There are a bunch of roads in or near Cherokee national forest that are better drives.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:54 PM
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Accident-wise, hm. I went straight off the road once in the fog shortly after learning to drive, but I stopped on the wet grass before hitting anything so no farm no foul. Hit a couple deers on the highway in the Oakland hills, which was a bummer, but hurt neither humans nor machines. Otherwise things have mostly stayed where they were supposed to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:57 PM
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The hills above Malibu are pretty sweet for fast cornering late at night. Although US 1 north of SF is indeed nice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 10:59 PM
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I got a Neon stuck in six inches of mud in the back yard once. Then I had to explain to my wife why I was driving the Neon in our muddy back yard. I don't think I actually had a particularly good reason.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:07 PM
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Funniest accident I ever saw was at a mountain party south of the Lancaster. Dude had driven his new BMW 7-series there for some unaccountable reason and was worried about getting it stuck on a lip on the way back down; after a bit (not much) of thinking he decided the best option was to gun it, and took off from the lip of this hill like the fucking Dukes of Hazzard, tearing much of the front bumper off in the process. Yee-haw!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:14 PM
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280: I sort of do that one too, but I don't like just following someone - and I actually hate it when someone does that to me, especially at night where I don't want lights in my mirrors all the time - so I always let the faster cars go out of sight fairly quickly.

Lots of driving I've done in the past few years has been on sparsely-used roads, too. I believe I drove over 25 miles on 97 south of Stonehenge back in April before seeing another car going my direction.

281: I don't like blocking people partly for the same reason I don't like following close for long distances, so I usually end up getting cut off a lot. But when I was younger there were a few times where I saw people doing a lot of lane-changing who were barely going faster than I was and when they tried to pass me on the right I felt it was my social duty to speed up and leave them stranded behind some slow-moving truck in the far right lane. That's why you pass on the left, folks.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:16 PM
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But, as art, I don't think it's very good. Lazy, even.

Yeah, if her art would get up off the damn couch and do a few crunches, it might be worth looking at.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:19 PM
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287.last: I'm still young and dumb enough to feel like it's my social duty not to let people pass on the right when there's a queue of a half dozen or so vehicles in the fast lane moving past a slow trunk. (Most of the non-urban highways here are two lanes.) Certainly passive aggressive, but I don't like it when other drivers decide to remove my safe following distance just to be able to pass a trunk a few seconds faster.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:32 PM
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Best road in the US I've been on is Nevada 266/California 168, which goes through the absolute middle of nowhere (empty Nevada through to where K-Sky went to college). Not quite as iconic or hairpinny as the various Malibu Hills routes but plenty curvy, spectacular scenery, and totally and completely empty. I've had dreams about that road.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-15-13 11:53 PM
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I totally approve of sneering at people who block other people from passing, and assume social duties to do anything other than let people who want to go faster overtake and do so.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:05 AM
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Triple digits on I-40 in New Mexico. Pretty sure it was headed east out of Albuquerque.

My dad had a car he used to take out to an airstrip and get up to 120.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:40 AM
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I have a small car, with only a medium sized engine. So I don't think the top speed is that high. I've never reached it. I have reached the indicated official top speed in it, but there was a ton of room left on the rev counter before it hit red, so I could have done another 10 or 15 mph I suspect.

I'm not generally a fast driver. Staid, more like. I was never a boy racer type when younger. But because I drive the same commute repeatedly (at least 300 or 400 times in the past 3 years) I know the road really well. As in, literally the location of every pothole, bump, piece of loose road surface, place where the corner has poor visibility, etc. So I have no compunction about flooring it when the roads are quiet. I've _averaged_ around 90+ for the section from the Oxford ring road to the the M25 fairly regularly. On that road, though, that'd make me a fairly mid-paced driver. The whole time you'd be constantly getting passed by people doing well over 100.

I've never had a speeding ticket it in 22 years of driving.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:48 AM
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282, 284: Highway 1 from north of Fort Bragg inland to Leggett is pretty epic. As is any two-lane road north out of Florence; I have very fond memories of the drive from there to Ravenna.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 2:10 AM
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This speeding discussion is completely foreign to me, but then, I've never owned a car.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 2:32 AM
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293 It's quite often unsafe to go much below 85 on British motorways unless you stay in the nearside lane with the trucks (which is a different kind of unsafe). Because you'd disrupt the rest of the traffic which is flooring it regardless. And you don't want some cunt in an X5 nine inches from your arse.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 4:05 AM
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Unsurprisingly, I'm with those who've never hit 80. Cars terrify me. It reminds me slightly of how my brothers were always super excited to turn my parents' hi-fi system up to full blast, when we were home alone, and I didn't get that, either.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:43 AM
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Oh, car stuff reminds me that I saw a BMW with vanity license plate CIALIS the other day. I assume I'm to assume that this means the guy loves his car enough that it arouses him, potentially for hours on end? The state was wrong for me to assume the owner to be someone who worked for Eli Lilly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:48 AM
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It's quite often unsafe to go much below 85 on British motorways

KPH or MPH? I can't tell whether or not to be impressed by that.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:59 AM
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MPH. Not always the case of course. If the road is empty you can drive legally; if the road is full enough to cause tailbacks you have no choice but to drive legally. It's the sour spot in the middle...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 6:35 AM
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Also I get viscerally angry at people driving dangerously for given conditions. Not necessarily speeding on its own, but going wildly faster than traffic and weaving around. I just picture too much death and destruction.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 6:37 AM
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I broke 110 once on I-57. Very straight stretch of road, nothing but cornfields interrupted occasionally by soybeans for miles. I did know I was going that fast (or that my little civic si was capable of it) until I saw the flashing lights in the rearview. Cop flew right past, miraculously, as I pulled off to the right.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 6:50 AM
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didn't know


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 6:51 AM
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AFAIK, the fastest I've done is just over 100 in my old Saturn, across Nevada on my way back from CA with BOGF. Due to lack of cash, we were unable to return through limitless WY, so that was my consolation.

However, back then speed limits back east were still 55, and I would frequently cross PA going 85 on 80. With speed limits at 65, I have no problem going 75-80 on a sustained basis.

I've driven the Autobahn a few times, but usually with my FIL trailing (as we caravan to and from Austria), and never in a good car. I may have gotten a Mercedes A-class up around 100, but I really don't recall. I do love how strictly Germans adhere to correct passing lane usage.

The best driving feat I've ever witnessed was actually AB (who's an adequate driver but has never owned her own car) driving us all across the Nebraska Sand Hills in our Passat wagon. Mid-morning, empty 2-laner, probably 80 MPH or so, gusty cross-winds, and one of the tires blows out. She couldn't figure out what happened, but still got us to stop quickly and safely in a situation that could easily have been terrifying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:13 AM
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302: I did the same thing on a similar road somewhere between Chicago and Iowa. "Convoy" was on the radio (well, on my carefully curated tape of "truck-driving songs") and I realized I was blowing past a state trooper at about 100mph in a rented Ford Focus just as C. W. McCall sang, "and they called in reinforcements from the Illinoise national guard." I almost peed myself, but the cop did nothing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:17 AM
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My grandmother sometimes says "Your grandfather was known for being such a safe, gentle driver. Everybody wanted to ride with him. Students wanted to ride with him. Even if there was nowhere to go, people wanted to ride with him."

This story makes zero sense. Nobody thinks about how other people drive in that detail. I always think it means "I loved your grandfather, and the way he drived symbolized a lot of what I loved about him. And the story wouldn't have much weight if that was the entire story, so I need to import other characters whose opinion is independent of mine, so that I have a chorus of agreement."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:17 AM
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I have never gotten a ticket, nor been pulled over, nor gotten in an accident. The closest accident was March 1999 I was supposed to fly to Berkeley to visit potential grad school. There was a snow storm in Boston, canceled my flight, so I called and asked what's the closest airport I can fly from. JFK was it, so I drove down in the snow. On the mass pike someone cut me off in traffic and I started fish tailing in the middle lane surrounded by other cars, but recovered it. When I got to the Whitestone bridge, where it hasn't snowed at all and my car was still covered, the toll taker was like, "Where the fuck did you come from?"
I've never understood "turn into the skid," that could mean two opposite things. I think of aligning my wheels with the direction of motion.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:21 AM
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Also IME students have a marked preference for riding with people who drive like Jehu. It's more fun.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:21 AM
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302 is great. Its like the line about the unique feeling of being shot at and missed.

One time I was driving back from Baltimore to Pgh with a buddy. I was trying to get back in time for class, so I was speeding (80 in a 55? Maybe more?) through western MD when we passed a cop who'd pulled someone else over, but the cop looked at me and pointed, telling me to pull over. I didn't know what to do, so I pulled over, but it was around a bend, and it was an off ramp, so I just rolled up the ramp and took local roads until we crossed the state line. Where I got back on the interstate and promptly got nailed by a PA trooper for speeding. Obviously I was determined to get a ticket.

Oh, and I just remembered the only ticket I got in my 5500 mile trip across the US with BOGF: 4 hours from home, outside Columbus. So frustrating. I was just eager to get home after a month on the road, and I didn't think about the fact that it was Labor Day weekend and so cops would be out in force.

It's at least possible that (Aug '96) was the last ticket I ever got. Certainly I haven't gotten one in 15 years, and have only been pulled over once in that time, for turning left when the arrow was red (but the other lights were green). City cop pulled me over, saw I was a harmless white guy with his wife, and let me go.

Oh wait, and I got pulled over for not having my headlights on in the rain. It was a rental car, and I wasn't used to it - I think I'd turned on the dashboard lights but they were separate from the headlights? Anyway, a formal warning but nothing else.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:22 AM
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308 => 306


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:23 AM
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306: Praising people's driving is always a big thing in books from, say, the 20s. (Lord Peter, of course, is a very good driver.) I've always assumed it was because it was relatively newish and rarish, and more or less akin to saying, "Oh, yes, heebie is an excellent chopper pilot. I always feel safe with her."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:26 AM
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287 et seq.: oh, if somebody behind me wants to go faster than me I move over and let 'em if I have room. Let them get the ticket. Besides, if they are going fast enough then I can speed up to be a bit slower than them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:27 AM
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311: True. I doubt they had a car before the mid-40s, but maybe it was still a thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:29 AM
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311. Bear in mind that at that date people weren't tested and many taught themselves. There were some unimaginably bad drivers around, many of them so drunk they were seeing double, so being a notably good one was probably worth more points than it is now.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:30 AM
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If I'm not mistaken, "turn into the skid" is rear wheel drive advice, and with FWD you're just supposed to steer in the direction you want to go.

I've been in 2 accidents. One was in my dad's TT, when I was about 30. AB & I were taking it into NYC, and on the way to 80 I was behind a car that put on its right turn signal. I swung past it as it... turned left, right into my fender. Low speed, expensive damage. So pissed. It probably wouldn't have happened if I wasn't all hopped up on the fast car, but it also was the sort of thing that could have happened on any given day.

The other one was more egregious. I was racing down to Baltimore (Loyola) to see my HS GF at Xmas break (we were going to drive back to NJ together), and I was generally in an anxious hurry, despite wet, foggy conditions. 4 lane road entering the city, I'm in the right lane zipping along, when I see the car up ahead isn't going as fast as I am. Start to slow down, realize that car is PARKED, pump the brakes (which were shitty, unfortunately), nowhere to go in the left lane, the car was skidding anyway, smash. Totaled both cars. Wasn't hurt in the least. Oh, and where my car came to a stop? Exactly where I would have parked to go to my GF's dorm. In the fog I hadn't recognized where I was. GF even knew the woman whose car I totaled.

Two days later she dumped me, for unrelated reasons. That was one bad trip.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:34 AM
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I have another driving story related to that breakup. The following spring break, I went to Baltimore again, in hopes of, if not patching things up, at least keeping something alive*. Well, the visit left no illusions. I drove back in a black funk, not even playing the radio. On I-95 through Philly, I passed a police van on the right, and he pulled me over. I wasn't going especially fast (indeed, much slower than my norm); he was mostly incredulous that I'd do something so flagrantly dumb, but I think my aspect was so pathetic he just let me go.

*We'd been together 3.5 years, most of it post-HS; I truly thought wed be getting married. Yes, I was kind of dumb.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:39 AM
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Stupidest thing I ever did driving was GF tried to have sex with me while I was driving on highway. Eventually pulled that shit over.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:40 AM
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Last one: on a different drive down to Baltimore, a cop pulled me over on a state highway (as in shopping malls and stoplights), presumably for speeding. He looks at my license, and says, "It says here you should be wearing corrective lenses." "Contacts, officer." "I'm trying to help you out, here. Now, were you wearing a seatbelt?" "Should I have been, officer?"*

He let me off with the no-points seatbelt ticket.

In fact, in all my years of stupid youthful driving, the only speeding ticket I ever got was for 37 in a 25, on an empty country road at 6 am, on my way to freaking work. WTF, officer?

* [because of course I had been]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:43 AM
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317: On the GWB?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:43 AM
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684 near White Plains. So not some low traffic road in the boonies.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 7:46 AM
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318: Wait, you had been wearing your seatbelt and got a seatbelt ticket?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:17 AM
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Driving back from seeing Devo (at the Ritz I think, though it might have been Irving Plaza) around 2 am and I was doing about 110 in a Toyota Celica when my friend saw the cop. I didn't even know it could go that fast as I'd gotten accustomed to my 72 Dodge Dart rattling like crazy when you got it much past 60 but it just made a low hum. I hit the brakes and he clocked me at around 90. I was just grateful he didn't catch that I'd been drinking. A lot. It might have been because I'd sweated out all those beers in the pit (praise Bob for "Uncontrollable Urge").


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:18 AM
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I got a speeding ticket in the pre-internet age in North Carolina, maybe stalled paying it (or maybe paid it, I'm not sure), and then lost it. Over 10 years later, I couldn't renew my Maryland license because the Florida computer showed an unpaid NC ticket. I called NC, but they didn't have any record of it and wouldn't take my money.

I was finally able to get someone in some archive in Raleigh to find something that would allow someone to take some money, by Visa. But there wasn't a NC computer record to correct. They ended up sending a fax to Maryland. God alone knows what Florida thinks now.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:22 AM
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I am mostly as one with trapnel here. If gas prices go up not enough to end automobile use but enough to make everyone voluntarily cap out at 55 regardless of speed limit, I will laugh and laugh.

I've been pulled over once, for going maybe 78 (cruise-controlled) in a 70 zone. Let off with a warning. I always speculated if it was because someone black was in the passenger seat - it was in rural Texas, possibly I-37 - but he might not have been visible from where the cop was.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:24 AM
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Anyhow, on a US freeway, in a modern car in good condition, 80 and 60 are not terribly different in terms of safety, I don't think.
I'd be shocked if this were true regarding likelihood of causing an accident, if not crash survivability.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:27 AM
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320: aircraft don't count.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:28 AM
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Got an automatic ticket in Holland a few years ago. Near Beemster. You are supposed to pay them by bank transfer, but US banks (and especially my credit union) apparently aren't wired up right to do this. The couldn't take a wire or a credit card payment. Or a check. I ended up getting a Dutch friend to pay it, and sending a wire to him. The delay, though raised the fine, which I did not find out until I was changing planes in Amsterdam (en route to Kuwait) and they wouldn't let me through the airport without paying the penalty and additional accrued penalties. I had to pay cash this time.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:30 AM
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This seems somehow relevant (not the ad at the start).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:30 AM
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325: iirc, serious injury goes up exponentially with speed


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:32 AM
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The speed limit is 75 on the interstate and 70 on two lane country roads. I don't mind if people want to drive 55, or can't go faster than 45 -- so long as they get out of the fucking way.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:33 AM
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321: Yeah, because the alternative was a speeding ticket that would cost more and put points on my license.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:35 AM
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329: Right -- it goes with the kinetic energy.

It will surprise no one that I don't recall ever having been in a car going particularly fast -- it seems likely that someone's hit 90 sometime, passing or something, but nothing more than that. Me driving, mid-80s somewhere, probably. Never been pulled over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:37 AM
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329: that function only holds in certain conditions, but upon relatively shallow searching the research doesn't appear to be on my side.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:39 AM
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329: Right -- it goes with the kinetic energy.

That would be quadratic, not exponential.

</pedant>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:40 AM
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This is simultaneously my most successful threadjack ever and the one in which I have the least interest/stuff to contribute.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:42 AM
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I have been pretty alarmed, though, by the speeds the downloaded phone app 'ski tracks' says I'm going on skis. Yesterday, I went 58.2 mph on a particularly open stretch, and over 40 several times. I was probably going well into the thirties when I took the fall that convinced me to get a helmet several years ago.

Or maybe the whole deriving speeds from GPS thing is too inaccurate to be believed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:45 AM
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333 continued: it does seem likely that the best predictors of accidents (attentiveness, mental state and so on) aren't captured in stats, so I wouldn't be surprised if my statement held with the amendment "if you're calm and paying attention and not going much faster than traffic".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:45 AM
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334, right but it's not just the KE getting you into trouble, it's reaction times and tech limitations also. Exponential is plausible, although obviously there are many factors.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:48 AM
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All the websites that come up on Googling that say "exponential" seem to mean "power law". One even has a plot it calls exponential that shows a fit that says y = (x/71)^4.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:49 AM
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339: yeah everywhere I have looked at has a power law.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:50 AM
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337: there is a bathtub curve for accident occurrence centred around the mean speed, but from a safety point of view the effect is asymmetric.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:50 AM
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(I also wonder why this same app is so much better on an iPhone than a droid. I get about 20% of the information displayed that my friend with an iphone gets. Surely the same data is collected.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:52 AM
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On a little googling, I agree with 339/340. Of course we are probably finding the same sources.


Posted by: Dee Lurking | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:54 AM
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Generally, on an interestate going 80 vs. 60, if you leave an extra two highway stripes of space between you and the car in front of you necessary reaction times will be the same assuming that braking time increases as a linear function of speed (it's probably sub-linear, right?), at least for things in front of you in your own lane.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:55 AM
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341: I just kind of threw that in there; I suspect that attentiveness and mental state are far more important predictors than relative speed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:57 AM
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312: Me too. There's a difference between closing up a gap so someone doesn't cut you off from the right and not letting someone pass who's behind you.* I move to the right to let faster traffic pass and stay out of the leftmost lane when the right lane(s) is clear or I figure the right lane is fast enough for me. The weavers I was talking about are people who mostly use the right 2 or 3 lanes on four-lane freeways to pass when the left lane is going fine.

*And I don't really do the former much. I have a pretty good idea when someone will cut me off and I just leave a little extra space and get ready to take my foot off the gas.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:59 AM
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I could say that my point of view is born out by my nearly SP-clean driving record but that would be whatever that statistical fallacy is called.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 8:59 AM
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Also I should spell "borne" correctly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:02 AM
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If I understand 334 correctly, it's wrong. Reaction time is constant, so at higher speeds your distance needs to increase.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:12 AM
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Sorry, 344.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:13 AM
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349: that's what I meant; at the higher speed given that increase in distance the same reaction time will be equally sufficient.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:16 AM
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Wait, I think I did misunderstand 344. These days, on highways I mostly adjust my speed so I stay in empty pockets between clusters of cars for as long as possible, so I don't have to pay as much attention.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:18 AM
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God I am phrasing things terribly today. Even I don't know what the fuck I actually meant.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:19 AM
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352: I think maybe you did too but also I think maybe what I said was not what I actually calculated; I thnk I calculated how much extra space you would need to compensate for three seconds of inattention at 80 vs. 3 seconds of inattention at 60.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:23 AM
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I've gotten boatloads of warnings for various things in Texas, but I haven't gotten an actual ticket since I was an undergraduate.

I get warnings all the goddamn time, though. Probably once a month. I think it's a combination of privilege - white woman in her 30s gets out of jail free card - and fishing - being pulled over for quasi-bullshit in the first place, before seeing that they landed someone white with upper-middle class trappings. It's generally for things like rolling through a stop sign, or sometimes for speeding (under circumstances where there's no fucking way I was speeding. Like narrow lanes with potholes, in town, where traffic is going the speed limit. It's just implausible that I'd drift up.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:26 AM
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I said "Wait". 354 is what I pretty much what I do on the rare occasions when I check my distance. Watch them pass a landmark and start counting.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:26 AM
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I usually act terribly embarrassed and apologetic that I was caught doing something so very out of character! (While agreeing that I committed the offense. No denial.) How embarrassing! I'm really sorry, officer! Then they write me a warning, or sometimes they don't even bother with that.

Oh, expired inspection stickers - that's another thing I've gotten pulled over for a few times, and gotten warnings.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:29 AM
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My grandfather didn't get a ticket in his life until he was in his 70s, then he got two in one week.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:35 AM
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I've never gotten out of a ticket. Not even the Saturday morning when I was speeding on an empty road to get to my SAT location.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:36 AM
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I wonder why they don't keep track of warnings. You'd think when they run my license, it ought to come up "has a thousand warnings" and that ought to add up to a single ticket. But no.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:39 AM
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Getting pulled over regularly for bullshit reasons (à la 355) would make me livid.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:41 AM
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Within the past few years I decided to adopt safer driving habits, like always using my turn signals, not because I'm an unsafe driver but because someday I will be and I won't realize this then.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:42 AM
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IMO if you weren't using your turn signals before you were already an unsafe driver.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:44 AM
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Lessee. One ticket was the one mentioned above (95 on the way in to vegas). One ticket was the other one mentioned above (on 280). I think I've gotten one other ticket but I don't remember the circumstances at all. I had an at-fault accident last year that was, in actuality totally not my fucking fault. (Pulling out of a tight parking space on a narrow (one-way) street a dude who was speeding and not looking where he was going hit my rear quarter panel; apparently my legal obligation was to notice that the dude turning onto the street a block away was going to speed at me -- after I had already started to leave the spot -- and then wedge my way back into the spot in time for him to not obliviously run into me? Ugh.) Never gotten a warning.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:45 AM
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Yeah oh man use your turn signals always everybody, pleeeeease. It's not for the benefit of people that you can see, in general.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:46 AM
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I used them when there were cars nearby that could be affected by my turns or changes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:47 AM
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It's not for the benefit of people that you can see, in general.
But I have a good sense of where the cars are around me. Adopting best practices is for the time when my awareness fails.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:50 AM
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I mostly get mad at people who don't use turn signals when I'm on my bike, and for all I know there are zero cyclists where you are. But I can definitely say from that -- and from highway driving -- that my ass has been saved before by people who couldn't see me (and thus didn't know their turn/merge would affect me) putting on their turn signals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:50 AM
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367: I understand where you're coming from, but if there were cars you didn't see you wouldn't know you didn't see them unless something bad happened. I am extremely rarely surprised by a car on the road that I wasn't aware of, but that doesn't mean there weren't cars I wasn't aware of that I never became aware of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:52 AM
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Anyhow, now we're all on the same turn signal-using page so hooray for everybody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:53 AM
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Getting pulled over regularly for bullshit reasons (à la 355) would make me livid.

I never have the presence of mind to be mad in the moment - I always assume it was legitimate and I go into my apology routine. It's only the accumulation of sketchy situations which has started to be annoying.

But also, I'm not really annoyed on my own behalf, but I am mad on behalf of the people who they're trying to catch.

I've only been driving the shiny modern minivan for a month, but I am predicting that the whole phenomenon evaporates entirely now that I'm not driving the beat up 1994 Volvo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 9:53 AM
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Damn drug dealers and their beat-up old Volvos. Thriftiness, safety and meth: that's all they care about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:03 AM
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Once I got pulled over in my wife #1's Chevy Nova for a broken taillight. Now If it were my own car I would probably have remained silent and taken my ticket but since it wasn't and my father-in-law was a police captain for the marine bureau in the adjoining county I pulled out his card from my wallet and asked the officer if that would make any difference. It did.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:09 AM
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Wouldn't a broken taillight usually be a fixit ticket anyway?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:12 AM
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372: I know, it didn't really seem like it sent a sketchy message to me, either. It is quite a bit dented up, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:16 AM
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Fun thread derail.

re: profiling, that's something I really don't miss about rhe south.

Also when I was a kid riding fairly extreme bikes we used to get that a lot. Ine memorable day I was pulled over half a dozen times in and hour, pure harassment but it was sort of a game and everyone expected it. They'd go over every electrical function, measure seat and bar heights, baffles etc. looking for a citation. i was only there for the bikes but some of the guys were dodgy, so fair enough I guess.

If that was happening to me regularly now I'd be pissed about it.


To the earlier discussion, I have broken 300 kph but never 400. Purely for the science if it, if you build these things you have to find out how well they go.

All a long time ago now.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:23 AM
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Re 367 it must have been more like 3 hours, really,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:24 AM
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Soccer mom's gone bad. You can see why they'd be concerned.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:26 AM
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The speed limit is 75 on the interstate and 70 on two lane country roads.

Two lane country roads that are nowhere near any human habitations, I hope.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:26 AM
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375 it sounds like pretty straight forward socio economic profiling then.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:29 AM
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376: 300 kph? Sure you don't mean 200? (If you do mean 300/400... where'd you get the Veyron?)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:29 AM
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Until they caught a whiff of my high society mannerisms. Then it's just eccentric.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:30 AM
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Soup!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:34 AM
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379 -- Habitations would be at the ends of driveways, yes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:36 AM
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381: I assume it was on a bike, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:37 AM
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374 Sure, but I just didn't need the hassle.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:37 AM
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385: The only bikes doing more than 300 kph are either insanely expensive racebikes or purpose-built for the Bonneville salt flats. Either way, not something you'd be riding on the street.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:43 AM
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387: I'm not saying it's a good idea, but it seems to happen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 10:48 AM
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388. IIRC from the days when I shared houses with people who read a lot of bike porn, things like that can do about 225 kph on factory settings, so 300 seems ahievable.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:17 AM
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381: 300 kph. You don't need a Veyron to do this, a bunch of supercars will do over 200 mph, and a smaller number would hit about 250 given the space. More to the point, so will a bunch of motorcycles (the lower number) though many wil require a bit of tweaking. The fastest I've been on one of my own builds was about 240 kph at least by the dial.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:34 AM
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388, 389: Unless that guy dumped a shit-ton of money into motor work, the key phrase in that article is "nearing 300 km/h". That bike'll do ~175 MPH stock, but going from there to close to 200 is a *big* jump.

There are a couple of bikes on the market that will do a (speed-limited) 300 kph, so with one of those and some basic mods I'd believe close to 200 MPH. But nobody's getting to ~400 kph on anything resembling a production motorcycle.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:35 AM
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390: Yeah, like I said, I'd believe 300 kph; both the Hayabusa and the ZX-14 will do that stock. But even MotoGP bikes are topping out around 400 kph, and they're pushing ~250 HP at a much lower weight than anything on the street is.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:39 AM
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387: that used to be true, but these days a lot of cheap superbikes are capable of it, especially if you defeat the limiter and tweak it a bit. When we were doing it though, we were rebuilding for 1/4 mile purposes or just general nuttiness. I've seen turbos and nitrous added, but even with just a a big bore and and fairly simple tech you can put out a lot of power for a little while. If you get 175 ponies in something that weighs less than 600lb it will move. These days the fast 4 cylinders are sitting about there, stock, I expect they are a lot harder to work with/on than when I was up on these things. Truth be told, I never was very good at that stuff, just hanging about.

385: right.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:46 AM
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Josh, I don't think we're disagreeing, maybe I wasn't clear. I've been over 300 a few times, never near 400 (and certainly not on a bike), I put that as an upper bound because it's possible with road legal vehicles, but I probably could have said that more clearly. That's also why I added (the lower number) for bikes in my follow up.

It would be really hard to hit 400 on a bike, mostly because the aerodynamics are bad.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:50 AM
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but even with just a a big bore

Aw, you're not that bad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:51 AM
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395: I kind of am though, apologies. Especially as this isn't really my porch anymore, if ever it were.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:53 AM
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It would be really hard to hit 400 on a bike, mostly because the aerodynamics are bad.

Lots of people on YouTube who claim to have come close, naturellement.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:56 AM
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I-684 south from CT for about 10 miles was often a good place to hit 100 and hold 90+. Middle of the day and dry. Good roadbed. South of the Saw Mill merges the road was usually good for more high speed driving.

I-395 in DC over the Potomac. At night on the HOV bridge when the traffic was light. Easily hit 100+. There were never any DC cops. The key to me was getting it back down to near legal by the time I reached the shore (where it became VA).

Latest "ticket" was a warning for going 78 in a 55 zone approaching the Ft McHenry tunnel. I really have no idea how I got out of that one.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:57 AM
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393/394: Ah, yeah, we really aren't disagreeing. And yeah, the manufacturers have done amazing things the past few years.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:07 PM
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396: Especially as this isn't really my porch anymore, if ever it were.

Soup! I haven't been reading here much lately for various reasons, so I'm just seeing that you're back around. Sir, it's great to see you; as far as I'm concerned, there's a rocking chair reserved for you on this porch.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:21 PM
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I keep thinking I want to learn to ride a motorcycle. And then I remember that, particularly given my sense of grace and balance, they kind of terrify me.

In re: turn signals. There was a period in Rory's childhood, before she grasped sarcasm, where she was under the impression that certain cars really were so expensive that their owners couldn't afford to get turn signals installed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:26 PM
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Backing up more than a bit -- My wilder grandfather boasted that he drove coast to coast without touching his brakes once. (Probably the early 30s, since that only makes sense if he was talking about North America.) This didn't mean the equivalent of a police convoy through Belgium, n.b., but always naturally-decelerating to stops and merges. Can you *imagine* doing that now? When people accelerate to stoplights on city streets and then slam their brakes? But it was a triumph of being an early driver and engineer.

My first car was a gift from those grandparents, a late-80s Mazda 323. Wonderful car, a little racing teapot. I went over 100 for most of Wyoming one night meeting a lover near Devils' Tower; I remember there was a motorcycle hanging behind me presumably using my lights. Mmm, I don't think I'd do that now. Well. Maybe. Long-distance relationships disturb the balance of one's mind.

Thorn, I find myself doing 77 in heavy traffic in the goddamn fog because Californians do. In good visibility, I can believe most of them are commuters used to the road (though I don't think their following distances are big enough), but in tules they're just habitual and dumb.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 12:45 PM
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My wilder grandfather boasted that he drove coast to coast without touching his brakes once.

Inconceivable!

Ancient memories, I recall that there was a stretch of a road going into Amherst, Mass from central Mass -- I guess it was Route 9 off of 202 -- that was almost entirely downhill once you left 202. I drove that route into the Pioneer Valley many, many times, and sometimes I'd be driving a vehicle with hardly any gas, or other times a VW bus with not a lot of power, so it was a game of skill to negotiate the length through judicious application of the gas pedal and clever gear manipulation, minimal braking. Fun. Huh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 1:15 PM
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Ha- these are either girly or hippie vaunts: how far or fast can you go in a seriously *underpowered* vehicle?

The first three things I was let drive had manual chokes, and the Renault had a crank-starter, though at sea-level we hardly ever needed it. I believe I could (just) lift the engine end of that car off the ground. Maybe it was only the storage end.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 2:00 PM
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Harking back to this:
"I also had a friend without legs, and wow, watching people react to him, and the incredibly *stupid* things people were say were mouth-droupingly amazing."

This is what Douglas Adams called a Wigan, after the story that BBC scriptwriters always tried to slip the word Wigan into the news read by a famously toupeed newsreader - when you meet someone with no legs, he said, you find yourself inexorably drawn to use phrases like "swept off her feet", "on my last legs", "getting itchy feet", "footing the cost", etc.

It's no wonder men with no legs are so short-tempered.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 2:33 PM
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While riding the bike in Alabama it was a very rare week indeed without at least one stretch of over 100mph. No helicopters either, so one could out-run a police car if it were spotted far enough back so they couldn't read the licence plate.

Now I'm being good. I haven't done anything totally reckless in about four days.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 2:49 PM
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405.last Now now, we don't stand that sort of thing around here.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 3:29 PM
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407: As God is my witness, that was completely unintentional.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 4:35 PM
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409

405, Murray Walker's footprints are all over that.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:03 PM
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410

If you make jokes like that, one of them will kick your ass.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:09 PM
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411

If you even have an ass..


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 5:22 PM
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412

I can't drive. so most of my young life was spent convincing guys to drive for me! unsafely. so unsafely. let's drink and do up a bunch of dope and then drive in the rain across the bay bridge to the city at the absolute top speed this motorcycle will go! yes, al is there to help convince you this is a good idea. because we need more dope/some meth because we're pretty low and it's still early/tacos al pastor. such a good idea. for further information rtfa.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-16-13 11:49 PM
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Even when all parties are sober and you're in the Midwest the motorcycle will go as fast as it can go. I don't remember a lot of convincing being required after "Hold on!".

(The late-night food was Jack in the Box curly fries, and I met the guy decades later -- at the Ferry Plaza, go figure -- and he wasn't nearly as attractive as I remember, and I doubt I was either. That I cannot tell, quoth he, but 'twas a famous victory.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 12:06 AM
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414

So I know this thread is dead, but I want to say that in retrospect I wish I'd stayed shut of it, rather than a drive by clump of posts. Rereading it now sounds like empty boasting to me, embarrassingly. In fact, this hit a nerve with me and I guess I felt some need to work through it in a half assed way. Things I did in reaction to a difficult time in my adolescence are probably best left there, at any rate.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 1:41 PM
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Huh. As the last person of several to enjoy a bit o' bikey reminiscence in this thread, I ... agree that blustering about one's youth is silly, but don't see much harm in it.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:08 PM
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416

From a former blog participant's Facebook feed and somewhat relevant to the OP and thread, Dear cranky-ass family giving my kid the eyeball because he was jigging about and got in your way: it's DISNEYLAND. Chill the fuck out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:20 PM
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417

414, 415: yeah, I dunno, I think shamefaced bragging was sort of called for in context.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:34 PM
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418

||

This is entirely too squamous for my taste: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabuticaba

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:37 PM
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419

415: sure, but 1) I came in all late, havent been here for ages, and to myself now read as all 1up-ing about it, and 2) any way you look at it doing say 315kph [*] on public roads is dangerously stupid, even when done quite carefully, you are still talking about a kid looking for adrenaline jags who doesn't actually care much about the outcome if it all goes south.

[*] I don't actually have much faith in the accuracy of the guages we were using.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:40 PM
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420

419: none of the related stories lacked for stupidity (well, except for the people who have never gone over eighty MPH, but I don't really understand them). You answered the question as asked. Anyhow the obvious solution is to stick around and continue to boast about childish feloniousness; then it'll all run pleasingly together.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:42 PM
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417: Yeah. I don't find myself remembering the days I turned down a piece of cake 'cause it might contribute to a heart attack sixty years later and like that. Crazy stuff is better than boring stuff, if you survive, great, if not, then you won't be regretting whatever it was.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 4:50 PM
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422

Ok. I'll stop with the novel gazing now.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:10 PM
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423

Errr, navel.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:11 PM
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424

But won't someone think of the children? The impressionable just-learning-to-drive-year-olds who read Unfogged.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:13 PM
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425

424: do you think they want recommendations for fast bikes?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:19 PM
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426

424: Apo's son?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:21 PM
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424: Right. I think of them often. For example, my daughter, yelling in my ear from the back of the bike as we top 100: "Faster, daddy, faster!"


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:21 PM
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is dangerously stupid, even when done quite carefully, you are still talking about a kid looking for adrenaline jags who doesn't actually care much about the outcome if it all goes south.

That's a hell of a lot of adolescent males at one time or another, me included. It's why we rule as adults.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:24 PM
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429

A DUCATI 1199 IS NOT A GOOD STARTER BIKE


Posted by: OPINIONATED BIKER THINKING OF THE CHILDREN | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:28 PM
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430

Years ago a of a friend, like an idiot, ignored everyone and bought a Ducati 999 as his first bike. He didn't die but he got himself a good non permanent injury and wrecked the hell out of the bike.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:34 PM
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430: that is crazy. Of course, depending on the model your friend of friend had, the 1199 has 40-50 more hp and about 30lb lighter. So that verges towards the insane...,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:42 PM
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432

My niece, who's 3, keeps urging my sister to drive faster.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-17-13 5:56 PM
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