Re: Being a woman can make you frowny-faced.

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So I'd fall into traps where I'd outline the n behaviors that you can't ever do,

I think we had a conversation here about "dealbreakers". The above is why I didn't believe you should have dealbreakers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:20 PM
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I sometimes get CPAish

Your body is a Green Zone, heebie.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:22 PM
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therapy is the best

no shit.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:26 PM
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Thirdly,

Therapy is the best. During my separation, my mother's (and sister's) therapist offered to talk to me on the phone. I ended up flying to Philly to spend three days in intense scrutiny of my emotional life, which involved breaking myself down into various traumatized subselves whom I then had to govern empathetically. I named my shame subself "Stuart," which my therapist said was the third time she had heard that.

I emerged from it a changed and eminently remarriageable man.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:26 PM
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Finding a decent therapist is really hard, though. I had to drop one guy after I had been going for six months and he couldn't remember my boyfriend's name (dude, at least glance over the notes in your file before I sit down).


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:31 PM
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I quit seeing my analyst when I discovered she was an analytical philosopher.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:34 PM
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I named my shame subself "Stuart," which my therapist said was the third time she had heard that.

Boggle.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:35 PM
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Finding a decent therapist is really hard, though.

This is totally true. It's a little like getting on the right medication; you can sort of tell whether or not they're helping, and trust yourself, but time adds up to make it a slow process. Recommendations are helpful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:37 PM
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Because of Stuart Little? Your shame-self is a small mouse who drives around in a toy car? That's nothing to be ashamed of.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:38 PM
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therapy is the best

I don't know what it is about my upbringing, but the thought of seeing a therapist couldn't be more foreign to me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:40 PM
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His shame-self is the Young Pretender, Megan, and he endlessly re-fights the Battle of Culloden inside Wrongshore's soul.

Also, Wrongshore doesn't normally tell people his shame-self's name because he fears that people will think the name "Bonnie" is a little gay.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:42 PM
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but the thought of seeing a therapist couldn't be more foreign to me.

Well, it does carry a stigma. I was really embarrassed at first, and saw it as a sign that I couldn't hack it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:42 PM
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Somehow I feel like I've turned this into an infomercial for therapy. Are you worried about the cost? We've slashed our prices and will throw in free gifts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:49 PM
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The beauty paradigm turns you into an accountant??!!??

(Sorry.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:51 PM
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My now ex-shrink is a total wackjob. Seriously. Even by the standards of the kind of psychological defectives who choose a lifetime to talking to people even more fucked up than they are, she was a doozy. My relationship with her devolved into a kind of unspoken compromise where I'd pretend that there was some kind of point to our sessions and she'd pretend she was giving me some assistance other than just writing prescriptions for drugs. It worked great, especially the sessions where she'd lose interest in my repeating the same old crap and she'd start free associating about her past. She had the greatest stories about her time working at an inpatient facility that included a fair number of people who'd been involuntarily committed.

Someday I should probably see a proper shrink, but since I've ditched the meds the urgency is gone. Ditching meds was a damn good thing for me, though the withdrawal symptoms were rough. If you quit paxil be sure to taper slowly - the withdrawal symptoms are fucking bizarre.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:51 PM
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Here's what brought this on.

Nice. One more proof that people will do anything to be on the teevee.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:52 PM
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I found therapy both alien and one of the best reasons to stay in or go back to college.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:53 PM
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Everything Heebie says is true. Although, while I've been in therapy, I can't say it was responsible for my overcoming the urge to engage in the behaviors in question. I just happened to get older along the way. Competition between women became something I fled like the plague. And feeling the need to censor behavior ("outline the n behaviors that you can't ever do, because they'll trigger X reaction") rather than attending to the underlying emotions became, clearly, a soul killer.

Frankly, this is a bit disengenous: the pressure to do those things is still there, and has to be fought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:55 PM
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I don't know what it is about my upbringing, but the thought of seeing a therapist couldn't be more foreign to me

This would have been me, but I've been seeing one for some years now, and I've really taken to it. Nothing earth-shattering, but the process of taking stock is very valuable.

Whether the need is an artifact of our modern lives and the breakdown of communal institutions that performed the same function, also the loss of clearer and more defined roles that the experience of those around us would be relevant to, or whether the need was always there, just heretofore unaddressed, I don't know.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:56 PM
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Well, it does carry a stigma

It did in the atmosphere I grew up in, but it doesn't among my friends—in fact, among them it's pretty commonplace. It's more like it just doesn't compute. It might be partly a Catholic thing, confession taking something like the place of therapy, but then again, it's been ages since I went to confession, and when I did as a kid it was just a routine to get through. Maybe I'm just repressed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 5:57 PM
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Being a woman can make you frowny-faced.

Smile, Heebie!

the thought of seeing a therapist couldn't be more foreign to me

Same here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:01 PM
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The beauty paradigm turns you into an accountant??!!??

Ok, so what does it stand for as Heebie's using it, huh?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:02 PM
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In college I saw a guy who mostly told stories about growing up in some star-studded neighborhood in Hollywood. The stories always had some kind of bearing on the issues being discussed, though, which made them entertaining and helpful.

My mother is convinced that once you feel good again you don't need drugs or therapy. It's hard to explain to her that without maintenance I'll go back to being just as miserable as before. Why mess with (relative) success?


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:02 PM
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I'm now 30.

With all due respect, you're getting up there aren't you?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:06 PM
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Then again, my father was a psychiatrist (and, accordingly, there were lots of psychiatrist family friends) so maybe I just have some particular issues around that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:06 PM
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You saw Dr. Katz, Amber?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:06 PM
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I guess that was set in NYC. Whatever. I wish someone would revive Squigglevision.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:07 PM
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Yayyyy squiggles.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:08 PM
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Remember his son Ben? And the receptionist? I loved that show.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:09 PM
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I used to have some of the episodes on my computer, but I must have deleted them some time ago. Foolish me!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:10 PM
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With all due respect, you're getting up there aren't you?

Whatever. I'd fuck me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:10 PM
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Jeez, that video. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I have never wished to be better looking than I am. There's all this research about how beautiful people have it easy, people help them when they need help and forgive them when they fuck up, they get more attention at work and in school, everyone likes them better, etc. But holy fucking God, it must mess you up like crazy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:11 PM
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Uh, JP, I'm hoping I'm missing the joke or something, because otherwise, uh, fuck off.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:11 PM
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So here's my question to the 'tariat about therapy: how do you keep yourself from just managing your therapist?

Sometimes I think about seeing someone, but my previous experiences with it (in adolescence) left me exceedingly distrustful of the process. Too, it seemed like even then, it was easiest to take the path of least resistance and tell the therapist what they wanted to hear, regardless of how I actually felt. For instance, I was a really angry, (sub-clinically) paranoid person back then, and any time I got close to bringing up those issues, the therapist would give me all kinds of signals that they didn't want to hear it, and that there could be negative consequences for me if I talked about it. It took me a long time, a lot of hassles and missed opportunities, and a lot of work in the radical scene to get to some kind of stable place with my emotions.

So everyone here is at least as smart as I am, and probably smarter than 99% of therapists -- how do you work around the deficiencies in the model?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:14 PM
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||

I can't explain why this picture makes me think of W-lfs-n, but it does.

|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:14 PM
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No one is answering my question in 22.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:17 PM
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I wish someone would revive Squigglevision.

I presume you've watched every episode of "Home Movies".


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:18 PM
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32 sounds mean, and I don't mean it to. I've had quite a few friends who thought of themselves as generally attractive to other people, and, for some of them, it becomes all they talk about, and in a way that sounds like bragging but reveals all kinds of self-loathing. Why did she get that great teaching job? Tits. Why did the boss like her report so much? Sexy hair. Why do his students write such glowing evaluations? They all want to fuck him. At least, for the rest of us, we can't downplay our successes by saying it's all about how hot we are. I don't think I'd be able to live with that paranoia.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:18 PM
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I'd answer except I'm not sure.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:18 PM
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34: This is a really good question. One of my best friends jokes about how I "graduated" from therapy (the therapist pronounced me no longer in need) and she's like working toward a therapy Ph.D. or something. I "joke" that I pretty much cheated my way through. It's easy enought to figure out how to steer a therapist away from things you don't really want to address.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:19 PM
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34: Honestly, it sounds like you were correctly picking up on the fact that you had a crappy therapist.

When I'm there, I'll often say something like, "Well, my brain knows X, but I don't really get it on the emotional level yet." This helps me avoid gaming the system, but it doesn't sound like it necessarily would have helped in your case.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:20 PM
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36: I gathered that yes, it was turning Heebie into an accountant, because with green-visored attention she tracks the productive woman-hours lost to prettifying efforts.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:20 PM
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Therapy for everyone!!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:20 PM
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Why do you think you didn't want to address those things, Di?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:21 PM
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No one is answering my question in 22.

I didn't understand your question.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:21 PM
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OMG, watching the clip? I'm sympathetic to Stephanie until she says "that's not a Louis Vuitton purse. That's not even half a Louis Vuitton purse."

Sympathy: out the window!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:21 PM
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I had a bad, easily manipulated therapist, and I found that watching myself manipulate her, acting out various roles for her, was good therapy in itself. I felt a lot better afterward, anyway. She recommended that I continue treatment with someone more experienced, and I probably should, but I'm about to lose my health insurance again, along with therapy benefits.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:22 PM
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The question is "what does CPA stand for?".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:22 PM
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42: in that case I don't understand Cala's comment.

Life is hard.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:23 PM
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Crazy Pussy Authority


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:23 PM
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48: Communist Party of America


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:23 PM
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I have a friend in NYC who started going to straight-up psychoanalysis with a student analyst. When she graduated to professional status he couldn't afford her, but he was so interestingly fucked-up that she gave him the train-wreck discount. He goes thrice weekly.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:25 PM
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The thing is, the only way to make therapy effective is to be accountable to yourself. Playing along for the sake of playing along either means: 1) your therapist is not very good at detecting your scary issues, and is steering you towards something way off, or 2) you are not comfortable with opening the scary bag of worms yet. Which is fine. I'm just saying, as long as you've got a competent therapist, progress is ultimately self-regulated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:26 PM
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Finding a decent therapist is really hard, though.

After I'd decided to file for divorce, I picked a therapist from my plan. After 40 minutes providing a little background on why I was there, about the year and two marriage counselors I'd gone through to get there, and how I needed help coping and adjusting to my (anticipated new life), the therapist nodded and gave me a speech about his opposition to divorce and all the reasons it was good to make a marriage work.

I did not go back.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:26 PM
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42 is right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:27 PM
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Wow, what a fantastically ill-advised thing for him to have done.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:27 PM
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44: Because I very much dislike crying and I decided to limit the amount of crying I was prepared to do in that given space of time.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:28 PM
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I see. And what do you think the significance of crying is for you?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:28 PM
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Wow, what a fantastically ill-advised thing for him to have done.

Ugh. And how.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:30 PM
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I like crying. I don't do it very often. Another reason I liked therapy.

And Titanic, but that's a different thread.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:30 PM
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Tell me more about the significance of crying is for you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:30 PM
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41: Well, there's crappy and crappy. The first therapist I saw, when I was 12 or so, was really cold and frankly kinda manipulative. He made me feel like a laboratory test animal. The second therapist, whom I saw at a couple of different intervals until I was 15 or 16, was nice, but I never felt like I could trust her, and she seemed very judgmental. Also, I felt like there was a class issue around her value judgments where me and my mid-middle-class family came up short. All that made it really easy to just say the right words.

If anything, I think it would be almost worse now. I've spent so much time talking to people about my emotions that it's very easy to massage my actual feelings to fit the conversation. I feel like I'm pretty honest about what problems I have, and yet the more I analyze, the further I seem from breaking through into some different way of thinking. Finally, from what I've read and seen, so much of what other people find helpful seems to come down to hackneyed, rote-NLP catechisms, a la Stuart Smalley, the next Senator from the Great State of Minnesota. And that just sounds like a drag.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:31 PM
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34: Easy. Why waste your money if you're just going to bullshit the therapist? Pick someone you actually trust, and then be honest. You're *paying them money* to help you; if you lie about shit, that's just stupid.

(That said, it is my uninformed opinion that people whose parents were shrinks or who saw shrinks in childhood are often very suspicious of shrinkage.)

I'm also willing to believe that therapy-as-rite-of-passage is indeed a very American thing, but wtf; we're mostly Americans, and our culture fucks us up. One of the biggest and best things about good therapy is learning how not to be so fucking self-involved.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:31 PM
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61 made me laugh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:34 PM
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I've never been to a therapist, but by dint of whatever, I am much, much saner than I was in my twenties, especially my early twenties, and I often think with appalled wonder about how fucking much energy I poured into all my shitty, unproductive, miserable thought patterns. It was really, really exhausting making myself that unhappy.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:35 PM
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I see. And what do you think the significance of crying is for you?

Tell me more about the significance of crying is for you.

I am not sending you guys money.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:35 PM
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and our culture fucks us up.

Right. A lot of the stuff I had to work out was internalized misogyny.

One of the biggest and best things about good therapy is learning how not to be so fucking self-involved.

True, but being totally self-absorbed is often a miserable, stuck place to be. It comes with the territory that your scope gets broader as you get happier.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:36 PM
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(And I'm not all that sane now.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:36 PM
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66: I dunno. I don't think my therapist would have passed the Turing Test, either.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:36 PM
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Before we were married, my ex-wife and I went to the therapist offered by my health insurance. I started in describing the horrible gaze into the abyss I had taken on an Ecstasy adventure, spurred by a realization of the catastrophically unbridgeable gulf between ex and me, and she said, "Oh, you shouldn't do that!" (meaning Drugs).

You do have to find a good one. During the separation, our couples counselor was very smart, but my ex's self-presentation as a fragile little thing proved too seductive for his wiles, and he pretty much just beat on me. (A self-serving account? Sure. But still.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:36 PM
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(That said, it is my uninformed opinion that people whose parents were shrinks or who saw shrinks in childhood are often very suspicious of shrinkage.)

This is universally true, I think, of shrinks' kids I have known.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:37 PM
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I wonder how many times I have made Eliza jokes in my entire life, so far. Opportunities arise surprisingly often.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:37 PM
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Pick someone you actually trust, and then be honest.

A horrible catch-22 if you are seeking therapy for trust issues...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:37 PM
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As a shrink's kid, I don't know if I was very suspicious of therapy per se--when it came time, I didn't hesitate. However, all along, I've had an reflexive aversion to "tell me how you feel" and other performances of self-hood that made me very receptive to Foucault and probably not eager to turn to therapy until I was really in the shit.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:41 PM
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Therapy became much more productive after they could take off the restraints and droolcups but the meds just pissed me the fuckoff. I could say that starting out under involuntary committment ruined the whole tone, but since I actually had my first sessions around age nine...wait, those were involuntary too.

Whatever, Just too suspicious, hostile, and anti-social for therapy ever to be anything but counter-productive. Maybe ten years total.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:42 PM
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73: For me, that was the fun part. I totally have trust issues with people in my Real Life, but the therapist isn't a member of my real life! She's just this person, and I don't have to win her love at all! I spent the first few weeks just trying to figure out how to talk, for the first time in my life, to someone whose opinion of me I didn't give a shit about. I didn't care if she thought I was smart or cool or anything. That was awesome.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:42 PM
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A horrible catch-22 if you are seeking therapy for trust issues...

Ha, yes, I bet it is. But part of learning to be honest/check in with yourself is learning to control the pacing, right? Learning to stop, check in with yourself, and stop and wait if the conversation is moving too fast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:42 PM
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Do men in therapy ever have to work on their internalized misogyny? It doesn't seem like it, from reports I've heard, yet it seems like it would do most men a world of good. (Including me, of course.)

Most of the time I feel like it makes more sense to sublimate whatever therapy-worthy issues I might have and do more volunteer work. But then I wind up lying around reading more than I wind up volunteering, so we're right back at point A.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:43 PM
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Wait. Minneapolitan, I thought you were a woman.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:45 PM
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I spent the first few weeks just trying to figure out how to talk, for the first time in my life, to someone whose opinion of me I didn't give a shit about.

Honestly, I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to feel that I didn't give a shit about someone's opinion of me. I do recognize this is not a healthy thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:47 PM
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It comes with the territory that your scope gets broader as you get happier.

Socialization. The therapist serves the hive, not you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:47 PM
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It's more like it just doesn't compute. . . . Maybe I'm just repressed.

Or may you're just emotionally healthy. Legend has it that some walk among us.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:48 PM
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73: Tell me more about Eliza Jokes in your entire life, so far.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:48 PM
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79: Yeah, you and James B. Shearer both. Very flattering though. I guess I patriarchically assume that my usual bellicosity genders my commenting as male.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:50 PM
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Could it be because he's sometimes called "Minnie"?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:50 PM
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85: And that's almost always Wolfie, and you can't trust what he writes.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:51 PM
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80: To be honest, I was probably doing it wrong. I felt absolutely no relationship with my therapist at all, and, for me, that was really freeing. All the people I know who've done therapy for a long time with a good therapist talk about having a relationship, like the therapist is a person in your life the way your mom or your co-worker is. It might have been the fact that she was videotaping the sessions and didn't say much, but I really wasn't thinking of her as someone with whom I had a relationship. She was like a stranger who videotaped me and told me how "strong" I am. And yet! I got a lot out of it.

In a conversation with my mother, in which she admitted that she was jealous that someone else heard my private thoughts and that I was clearly hiding things from her, I tried to explain that I need my mom to love me, and that need is expressed as a refusal to talk. Because I don't love my therapist and don't need her love, I can say anything to her. My mother, of course, burst into tears.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:52 PM
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It might have been the fact that she was videotaping the sessions

WHAT???


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:54 PM
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Do men in therapy ever have to work on their internalized misogyny?

Yup.

I want to say that I Don't Want to Talk About It addresses that explicitly, but my memory's a little fuzzy. I recommend that and Real Boys on men in therapy, men and therapy, and men and emotional expression.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:55 PM
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I had another friend who had the damndest time letting her therapist. Her therapist, who had been laid out with some health problems and not really at her full powers, just laid this horrible guilt/fear trip on her about how she wasn't ready to leave, and recapitulated with great accuracy the same behaviors that my friend had complained about in her relationship with her mother.

I was very proud of her when she walked away.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:56 PM
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Ine of the shrinks that diagnosed me as borderline recommended strong pot instead of the usual antipsychs and tranks. Figured somehow I needed the psychoactive effects. I don't know, never really asked.

It is true that pot & psychedelics relax me, and tranks and downers make me nervous and hostile.
Or used to, of course.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:57 PM
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88: Yeah, I think she was in training. This is school-provided health care. The day before my first session, I had a gynecological exam performed with a student observer leaning over the nurse's shoulder. Oh, graduate school!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:57 PM
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Videotaping sessions is pretty common. My mom used to do it when she was working towards certification in one school or another. It never occurred to me to watch the tapes; I was too quickly bored to realize that there could be some interesting stuff there.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:57 PM
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Damn misogynistic HTML.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:57 PM
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90: I had another friend who had the damndest time letting her therapist.

Oh man, you can't just leave us hanging like that!

89: Yup.
Good. That was probably one of the most helpful parts of getting involved with radical politics for me.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:58 PM
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Videotaping sessions is pretty common.

How on earth can you speak freely and develop trust if you're being video-taped from the get-go? I mean, I don't have any great training alternatives, but still.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 6:59 PM
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She was like a stranger who videotaped me and told me how "strong" I am. And yet! I got a lot out of it.

You do often mention how super wrong she got you and your needs, though (with the missing-the-point praise for how strong you were, etc.). Just think if she had actually been actively on the ball!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:02 PM
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I felt absolutely no relationship with my therapist at all, and, for me, that was really freeing.

This seems like it would be really useful.

Because I don't love my therapist and don't need her love, I can say anything to her. My mother, of course, burst into tears.

I totally get this, and it's one of those things that make me sad. It would be kind of neat to feel like there was someone who would love me no matter what I said. And I get your mom's reaction, too. I really hope Rory will grow up feeling she can say anything to me without fearing that it would diminish my love even a smidge.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:04 PM
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97: I have certainly considered doing it again, though it would have to be through school, and probably limited to eight sessions with a trainee. They save the certified therapist for people who are truly on the edge.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:05 PM
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heebie, I know the videotaping sounds horrible. I absolutely refused the first therapist who wanted to do it, but eventually said yes to the next one. Partly because I liked and trusted him and partly because I had been in therapy long enough that I was OK with trusting him, if that makes sense. Also, I was so goddamned depressed (undiagnosed & unmedicated) at that point that I didn't really care what he did as long as I felt better. (Resist the low-hanging fruit, my friends.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:06 PM
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99: If you need us to, we can vouch for you.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:07 PM
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oh wow... this is quite the great thread. especially for me today, being tired as i am and knowing that for me tired = depressed.


Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:07 PM
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I've skipped along, or ahead, over the last several dozen comments, thinking about Minneapolitan's questions.

The type of therapist matters a great deal, but of course one can't tell that in advance. The first one I saw, in my mid-20s, empathized and even cried along with me at one point. She gave me the greatest advice I've ever gotten: to ask myself, "Is what you're doing (considering doing) going to achieve the end you desire?"

Oh.

The second therapist, years later, did not give feedback: she was a listener. So I babbled and blubbered, mostly. It became a burden -- there she had the box of tissues next to the chair when I came in. I eventually began to avoid her. Yet she had many more qualifications (as psychiatrist) than the first had.

The only advice is to shop around, have a single initial session (I did this one other time, didn't like the woman, didn't contact her again), move on if unsuitable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:08 PM
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I'm going to take a cue from 102 and recognize that being grumpy and unproductive = depressed, and leave the house for a bit, which I haven't today. But this has been fun!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:09 PM
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Just backtracking to the video for a moment: even making allowances for how depraved the concept of this show is, and for how shitty it is that they were able to find people willing to put up with this kind of abuse to be on television... still, Jesus fuck, that's a truly cruel twist of the knife the show hostess gives Girl Number Five. "You have a really nice... face..." Yeah, whatever the fuck ever; she doesn't even have the excuse of being pitted against the woman in Mortal Vanity Kombat, it's just gratuitous.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:11 PM
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98: For me, a lot of trust issues stem from the experience of feeling that the more intimate I am with someone, the more I've created a particular self for that relationship. That isn't in itself bad, I don't think, but paired with a (pretty goddamn well-founded) fear that their love is absolutely conditional on my continued performance of the role I'm performing, that self can feel increasingly constricting and false, even if it was created out of a genuine facet of my self.

I do, in long-term friendships and relationships, occasionally act out by experimenting with that role to make it feel less constricting. It has, in a few cases, worked out fine in the long run after initial resistance, but in most, it ends in disaster.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:12 PM
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Finding a good therapist is really hard. I've been relatively lucky.

When I moved here, I interviewed a couple of recommended therapists and started seeing one of them. It is a sign of enormous progress that I was able to decide after a few months that I didn't think that she was the right one; that I started interviewing other therapists; and that I quit even after she tried to talk me out of it -- not in some horrible way, more, "your desire to quit points out some issues we should work on."

And now I have an excellent therapist.

I'm still crazy as a loon, of course.

"Sir, why do you deprecate yourself and your progress? Are you afraid of people's reaction if you're proud of something you've accomplished?"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:15 PM
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102: I'm not sure being crazy enough to finish a triathlon is something a therapist can help with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:19 PM
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I went to a really mediocre therapist for a decent long time, which allowed me to realize that while I am fucked up, I am insightful about the fucked up-ness. Which was helpful.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:21 PM
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I felt absolutely no relationship with my therapist at all

The relationship I had with the one who taught me how to do my own therapy was great. I was hiring a pro, who had seen it all, to listen to my stories and point out what I wasn't hearing 'cause I was too close to them. She would toss a thought or two at me each session and I'd chase them for a week before bringing them back all chewed up. 'Twas great and I learned a great deal.

There are bad ones and bad fits between people too, tho'. The first one I went to scared the shit out of me by calling me a day after the first session to pressure me into a twice-a-week schedule. I refused because of the cost, and I then called back the next day to cancel out completely.

He called again and I spent the next week waiting for the Sheriff's deputies to show up. That would have been fatal for at least one deputy and me, I was totally freaked out by then. I almost gave up the idea entirely but I'm very glad I kept looking.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:22 PM
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106: This is really interesting.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:26 PM
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And that's almost always Wolfie, and you can't trust what he writes.

Uh, I'm a girl, minnie.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:26 PM
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This thread making me sad. I miss my therapist. (She died at the beginning of the summer.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:27 PM
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not in some horrible way, more, "your desire to quit points out some issues we should work on."

So, just in an insidious way.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:28 PM
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And now I'm a sad buzzkill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:31 PM
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Sorry, heebie; that's sad.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:35 PM
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The other therapist I didn't stick with? Second marriage counselor. She thought a productive exercise was to alternate weeks in which one of us was required to initiate sex and the other was not allowed to refuse.

Yeah, I opted out of that exercise.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:35 PM
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110: The relationship I had with the one who taught me how to do my own therapy was great.

Oh, this sounds ideal. There are terms for this in the varieties of therapy out there. Wish I knew the names for them. What you describe might be behavioral something-or-other. As opposed to, say, psychoanalysis.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:36 PM
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I know someone who spoke very favorable of bio-feedback approaches. His first session, the therapist hooked him up to these assorted monitors and then excused herself for a minute to return a few calls. The longer he waited, the more he saw the blood pressure rise, the pulse accelerate and so on. He was there fore rage issues.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:45 PM
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Sorry, heebie; that's sad.

The thread came back to life!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:47 PM
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115: Dont take that from her, Heebie. She works for you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:48 PM
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heebie, you should tell us some of your happier stories about your therapist.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:48 PM
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I've had an reflexive aversion to "tell me how you feel"

Oh, me too. My therapist who I totally had transference issues with--I loffed her--was funny about it, because by the time I found her I'd shopped around for a while, so I told her up front I hate that shit. So every once in a while she'd say, "okay, this is that touchy-feely crap that you hate, I'm sorry, but it's my job to ask..." and I'd laugh, and that made it a lot easier.

I miss her. Periodically I wonder if it would be totally inappropriate to just drop her a line and say hi.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:49 PM
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119: yeah, biofeedback is way neat. Amazingly how much difference it makes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:50 PM
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OK, I just have to crawl out of the woodwork and ask this question. I am revealing my racism/ignorance/irrelevance, but whatever.

Are any of the therapees Irish-American? Was Freud off his rocker when he said his line about the Irish being un-analyzable? On one level it's just silly; on another it has the ring of truth to my Irish-American ears. There's part of me that would never willingly show a weakness to a stranger.

Crawling back in now...


Posted by: The Virginian | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:51 PM
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123.2: She might actually appreciate it. I felt no connection with my second therapist (saw her for a couple of years), and she questioned my wish to end therapy, so it was to my great surprise and slight guilt that she actually sent me a couple of cards after the fact. Realization! The woman listened to and watched me cry and confess every week! Of course she was affected!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:55 PM
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Are any of the therapees Irish-American?

Not me!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:57 PM
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I'm a solid 50% Irish-American. But, as noted above, also had issues with showing weakness to a stranger beyond what was absolutely necessary to resolving the most acute issues. So...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:57 PM
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As you can see from 127, the Irish are also prone to denial.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:58 PM
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123, 126: The therapist I stuck with used to tell me all the time how much he genuinely liked me. I never believed him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 7:59 PM
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129: Heebie McGeebie!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:00 PM
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I quit seeing my analyst when I discovered she was an analytical philosopher.

Hm, I know an analyst who fits that description.

Was Freud off his rocker when he said his line about the Irish being un-analyzable?

Ha! I've never been in therapy (only confession), but I'm quite sure I could do with some. I have a lot of issues and I don't drink much, which I think is a bad combination for Irish people.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:02 PM
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ERIN GO BRAUGH!

...excuse me, I don't know what came over me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:04 PM
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I've always wondered if therapists think of patients the way I think of my students. I love them during the semester and care about their problems, but after the semester, I only still care about a very small handful.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:05 PM
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Replying to 34. Gamign the session can be easy. Sometimes a year or so in group therapy helps. It is harder to game the group and people can say things that take me unawares.

I do wonder how long I should continue with therapy. I've been going since I was 5 (not continuously and not the same therapist, but most of my life). The latest round has been for the past 8 years. I'm beginning to feel like I should think about Lourdes.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:05 PM
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Hm, I know an analyst who fits that description.

Lear doesn't count.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:06 PM
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133: Probably just a shamrock caught in your throat.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:07 PM
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I'll plead to having Irish heritage. Also a bit of problem with the drink.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:09 PM
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This whole therapy thing is really quite a strange concept to me. Because of my upbringing in a therapy-free land (just the one non-prescription medication available for emotional issues to all those over 15) , I think it wasn't until I was in grad school that I began to realize that therapy was not just a staple of old Woody Allen jokes, but something people paid for and routinely attended and so on. So if I ever went to therapy (got therapy? attended? what?) I'm sure I'd waste some time and money at the beginning being paralytically unsure of how to talk to the therapist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:10 PM
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136 made me laugh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:10 PM
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Lear doesn't count.

The person I had in mind fit the description in all respects originally mentioned, viz, an analyst, an analytical philosopher, and a woman.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:12 PM
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134: Yeah, that's what I figured with the second therapist.

Funny, I haven't thought about this in years, but in retrospect I can totally (totally!) see what was going on with me at the time, but couldn't see it then, and the therapist didn't manage to help me clarify it. Probably it was impossible to tease out at the time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:12 PM
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I had a pretty decent cognitive therapist in my last year and a half as an undergraduate. Then, in my last year of graduate school, I was having all kinds of problems with anxiety and panic attacks (gee, I wonder why?). The first person I tried wanted nothing more than to diagnose me with either a drinking problem or an eating disorder. File under "When you have a hammer". The second person was clearly afraid of me--she actually sat as far from me as possible in the room. When I told her about two minutes into the session that I was feeling better that week, she said "Great!" and got me out immediately. I still have no idea what that was about.

Those two sessions were so awful for me that I didn't try a third one.

I also went to a dissertation support group at the time whose approach was "strength-based". I found it infuriating to feel helpless and to get no response except to be told that I was wrong, and maybe I just needed better time-management skills...


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:14 PM
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I forgot about the woman part, because I don't see gender.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:15 PM
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I suggested to Rory once that she could talk to a therapist about the divorce and coping etc. Nothing I have said before or since has elicited such a terrified and distraught reaction.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:16 PM
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I forgot about the woman part

When the time comes, ask nicely and they'll remind you where it is.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:17 PM
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Talking to a person whose opinion you don't care about is not entirely unlike commenting on a blog.

Also, any attempt at videotaping a session would have me walking out immediately. I don't understand why it's so goddamn hard to grasp the fact that making a permanent record of something is fundamentally different from simply experiencing the moment as a participant. That videotape could potentially end up anywhere - there is an entire genre of porn dedicated to (mostly boyfriends) posting sex tapes on the web. Digital media last forever (or five years, whichever is least convenient), so that videotape has the potential to be seen by literally billions of people. Does the shrink have a level of security sufficient to guarantee that the most humiliating revelations won't end up on some compilation video on the 2040 AD version of Youtube, set to crap synthpop?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:18 PM
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Why do these philosophers keep licking my anus?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:19 PM
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149: Oh, sure. One of the things I liked about my shrink was that she was patient with me while I spent the first few sessions basically talking about how weird I thought it was that I was in therapy. All very meta.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:19 PM
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139: paralytically unsure of how to talk to the therapist

I think that's par for the course. For what it's worth, I come from an environment in which therapy or god forbid, antidepressants, were unheard of, so I hear you. I was appalled for some time to consider it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:20 PM
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149: 149: Oh, sure. ... All very meta.

Woah.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:20 PM
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Commenting to your own comment about discussing therapy while in therapy is doubly meta.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:21 PM
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143.3: Well, I guess maybe you should have just sucked it up.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:21 PM
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All very meta.

Quite.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:21 PM
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I wouldn't mind being videotaped in therapy. I mean, who gives a shit? No one who's going to watch it is someone I know.

In short, if someone wants to videotape therapy, I'm a perfect patient. I'm also okay with students observing my crotch exams or being called in to peer at my gums because I've developed some weird gray gum problem from taking too many years of antibiotics. Or, you know, whatever.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:24 PM
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Knowing one was being videotaped might change the way one acts, and being videotaped without being told would be unethical on the part of the videotaper.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:26 PM
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Woah.

Now. I have a serious question, now. I have seen this spelling of this word many times, in many places, and nobody ever says a word. Is it perhaps a deliberate mispelling which has become one of those things, one of the internet traditions, yet one of which I am unaware?

Or is everyone just being polite?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:29 PM
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Talking to a person whose opinion you don't care about is not entirely unlike commenting on a blog.

Fine, I'll write a check.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:29 PM
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157: Everyone's being polite.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:30 PM
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My first therapist was really into EMDR, which was frustrating for a long time, because I didn't think it was working for my particular issues, but didn't really trust my judgement of what was right for me, either. So there were a lot of long, fairly weird sessions where I tried to free-associate on some subject and repeatedly answer "So what does that make you think of?"


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:30 PM
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160: My therapist liked EMDR too. But she always asked if I wanted to do it. It actually helped me be less traumatized about having failed my stupid comps.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:31 PM
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Yeah, I think it's probably pretty good for handling known sources of trauma, but not so handy when you're only speculating that there was a trauma and don't have any idea what it would have been. ("A divorce" is too large and broad to count)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:33 PM
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157: I believe that's the Keanu Reeves spelling. Normal people spell it the other way.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:34 PM
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157: I spell it that way because I'm a feminist, and "Whoa" is a variant of "Ho."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:34 PM
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160: "Beer! Beer! Beer! Not being here!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:34 PM
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162: Agreed.
164: Nonsense.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:35 PM
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I wouldn't mind being videotaped in therapy. I mean, who gives a shit? No one who's going to watch it is someone I know.

Think again, sister.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:37 PM
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||

Did I really just watch an ad that ended with the announcer saying, in warm and avuncular tones, "the result is a superior nutsack"? Yes I did.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:37 PM
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167: Meh.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:38 PM
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118: I dunno if it's called anything special and she didn't seem to be of any particular school of therapy. I'd call it "Effective Eclectic" if I had to call it anything What I learned was to ask myself the same sort of questions she asked, and then answer them, let those sit around for a bit, and look at the answers again to see if they were BS or bits of the puzzle. It's good that I'm not terribly complicated down under all the layers of armor.

I've done the chess-playing bit with a shrink too, back when I was a kid. There was no way I was going to let him in my head. Eventually we actually did play chess, he probably thought I might loosen up. He must have suffered during those sessions. Fifty years later I was ready to learn some stuff.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:40 PM
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We will accept both 163 and 164, since they're consistent.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:40 PM
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168: Did I really just watch an ad that ended with the announcer saying, in warm and avuncular tones, "the result is a superior nutsack"?

Was it for this company?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:40 PM
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170: From what I've read about child therapists, he probably didn't suffer; if he was any good, he would have figured that just giving you some space to play chess with someone you didn't have to impress was good enough.

One thing that always helps me choose therapists pretty quick is telling them I have an open marriage, and that I don't want a shrink who thinks that's a "problem."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:41 PM
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166.2: Stop oppressing me.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:44 PM
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172: you know, it wasn't, even.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:45 PM
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I only got to comment 16 before I felt compelled to say:

The talking cure never did shit for me, and my experience with mental health professionals improved dramatically when I found people who would simply give me the right pills and walk away.

Some of you may be more like me than Heebie.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:45 PM
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170: Thanks, Biohazard.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:45 PM
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174: Good job -- teach people how to treat you!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:46 PM
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176: They both helped me. Different issues.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:48 PM
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Are any of the therapees Irish-American? Was Freud off his rocker when he said his line about the Irish being un-analyzable? On one level it's just silly; on another it has the ring of truth to my Irish-American ears. There's part of me that would never willingly show a weakness to a stranger.

I'm an Irish-American therapee with sort of chronic low-grade depression. Among my friends I don't feel stigmatized, but when I told my mother I was in therapy she started to cry.


Posted by: Eamon de Valera | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:49 PM
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Now on Parsimon 18, again, me and mine are completely different. For me, the solution was not to think about underlying emotional issues. I've over thought everything enough. I just needed to stop doing things that didn't work.

A lot of people are like me, which is why things like cognitive behavioral therapy are effective.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 8:53 PM
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I just needed to stop doing things that didn't work.

Don't we all! Identifying the simple and common emotional triggers helped me greatly with that; I can now mostly recognize that I'm about to do things that aren't going to work before they don't.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:04 PM
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when I told my mother I was in therapy she started to cry.

If your mother was living in Ireland, the obvious joke would be that she goes on to sob, "That's even further away than America!"


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:08 PM
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181: Rob, I was actually conflating topics 1 and 2 in Heebie's post. I meant that as a woman, in relationships, I might tend to focus on acceptable or approved behaviors to the exclusion of consideration of underlying emotions. And that's something I mostly don't do any more.

That's wordy, I see. The point is that I wasn't talking about therapeutic issues in general. On the contrary, in therapy, were I to do it again, my interest would be in behavioral questions.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:13 PM
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176 seconded. I get a special feeling when I walk into a psychiatrist's office twelve beers hung over and claim to be a teetotaler: she doesn't refer me to AA and I don't make any unreasonable claims on her abilities. Neither would do any good, and I walk out with the dope. Win-win.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:35 PM
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Coalition Provisional Authority.

My God, what a double play!

I've never been, which I think is pretty typical of my age. It'd probably do me some good, but I guess I haven't felt ill enough.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:38 PM
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Timely thread for me. I recently found out my insurance has better mental health coverage than I'd thought, and I want to start therapy soon, like by the end of the month. Never done it before although I'm a prime candidate, at least as fucked up as most people I know. Any recommendations on how one goes about finding a good therapist? I've just been browsing the internet, hoping somebody's website stands out, but that seems like maybe not the best method. I'm in New York, so there've got to be loads of good shrinks available to me, right?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:38 PM
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Heebie: Jerry Bremer or Mariano Rivera?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:44 PM
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185: not all therapists are like that, you drunk motherfucker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:46 PM
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187: ATM, Bave.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 9:47 PM
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It took years of observing really good friends having really good experiences in therapy for me to even consider it. Even then, it was hellish. I'm not kidding when I say it would have been easier to defend plastic surgery to myself.

I'm methodical, so I shopped around. Grilled them on the phone, then set up six different trial sessions. The ones I was running circles around were obvious Nos. The one who told me, conversationally, that if I were depressed there was nothing to do but work through it -- "well, you could commit suicide," she added offhandedly. "But you would never do that" [this after having known me for all of 20 minutes]-- she went on the instant blacklist. Others seemed too quick to reach for the meds. One referred, obnoxiously, to my parents as Mom and Dad, drawing charts with little X and Y symbols to keep track of my (uncomplicated) family tree. Bzzzzzt.

I interview for a living, so I did fairly assertive, consumer-ish interviews with them all on the phone. Not sure how I managed to do that given how dreadful I felt at the time. The astonishing thing is that it worked, basically: I ended up with a late-60s woman who had plenty of her own life experience and wisdom, maybe not as smart as me in every way but not somebody I was always outthinking. And a Jungian, not a field I had previously known anything about but more likely to be productive for me given my college-fostered hatred of Freud.

Lesson: shop around. Trust your instincts, no matter how terrible you're feeling. And don't pick somebody you're going to feel contemptuous of. You can't let even a sliver of vulnerability show if you're always parenting the therapist.


Posted by: Not tonight | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:03 PM
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Are any of the therapees Irish-American?

I had this in mind (re: the Freud quote*) when I first commented on this thread, but the Irish side of my family mostly emigrated during the famine, so even given some exceptional sense of ethnic identity, I can't imagine that Irishness (outside of Catholicism) figures into it for me.

*AFAIK, it was Thomas Cahill who reported the "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever" quote, for which there's apparently no evidence; Freud is otherwise (earlier) said to have made a distinction between the Irish and the non-Irish concerning psychoanalysis.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 10:15 PM
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Back to the video in the post, I admit that I did chuckle at "I'm from Riverside, bitch."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-15-08 11:38 PM
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Like Gonerill I'm not really from a place where therapy forms part of the mainstream experience.

I can't ever see myself wanting to do it, either. I can see how it might be quite nice to talk to someone about myself without worrying about being insanely egotistical.

But other than that, all of the times I've been profoundly unhappy/depressed or whatever, and there have been a few, they have clearly been situational.

I know why I felt like crap: because I had no money, lived in a shitty place, had problems with my girlfriend, living a long way from people I care about, was struggling to cope with multiple incommensurable pressures and demands, etc. Unless the therapist could find me several thousand quid, or an extra 50 hours in the week, there wasn't much they could have done.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:48 AM
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194: likewise. The only person I've ever met who has ever been in therapy went into it after killing a whole lot of people, and I think he was a bit of an outlier.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:47 AM
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When I was about 20 I had a minor breakdown. I was sent to an old fashioned drugs and exercises type psychiatrist, who I thought was a complete waste of time, and eventually I was sitting in his consulting room and he fell asleep and started snoring. I just left and never went back. But as a result of doing so I felt great, and totally back in control of my life. Later I wondered if he'd done it on purpose, but I don't think he was bright enough.

Also, any attempt at videotaping a session would have me walking out immediately.

The doctor I saw this morning was videotaping her surgery. She asked me if I minded, and I said no, so she started the camera and asked me how she could help, and I said, staring straight at the lense, "I've got this sore spot in my butt crack I'd like you to look at."* She nearly choked.

[*No, I don't waste doctors' time with a sore arse. There was other stuff.]


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:32 AM
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I'm in New York, so there've got to be loads of good shrinks available to me, right?

The two things that have helped me find great therapists, (and it wasn't instantaneous): 1) word of mouth from people who speak highly of their therapists, or recommendations from highly recommended therapists, and 2) Trust your ability to assess a therapist. When it works, it feels like it's working.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 4:49 AM
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There are a lot of people here that academiclesbian absolutely wouldn't date.

The thing is, the only way to make therapy effective is to be accountable to yourself.

So true. Fooling the therapist is only worthwhile if you've pleaded insanity on some crime and you're undergoing court-ordered assessment; otherwise it's utterly pointless. You're basically cheating yourself out of your own money and time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 5:10 AM
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194: likewise. The only person I've ever met who has ever been in therapy went into it after killing a whole lot of people, and I think he was a bit of an outlier.

But did it amke him fel better?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 5:23 AM
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199: he's still doing it, so jury's still out, (metaphorical jury only - no legal proceedings involved) but he seems to be getting better.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 6:28 AM
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he's still doing it

Therapy or killing people?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 6:35 AM
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I spent the first few weeks just trying to figure out how to talk, for the first time in my life, to someone whose opinion of me I didn't give a shit about. I didn't care if she thought I was smart or cool or anything. That was awesome.

That sounds like a very auspicious state of mind for someone in therapy. I wish I could duplicate that , but I found that my usual obsessive need for others to hold me in high regard persisted in therapy, and it was pretty difficult for me to get into territory that is shameful or reflects poorly on me. I sort of got around it by convincing myself that the therapist would think better of me the more I was a "good patient" who opened up and tried in good faith to address the uncomfortable issues.

I'm not really from a place where therapy forms part of the mainstream experience.

Good God, is this true of me. In the first session, I had to apologize to the therapist in advance for my belief, inculcated by spending my formative years among salt-of-the-earth country folk, that the whole enterprise of therapy was a ridiculous self-indulgence for anyone who wasn't obviously insane.

the sessions where she'd lose interest in my repeating the same old crap and she'd start free associating about her past

I used to see a guy who always found a way to make anything I said into a springboard for telling a story about himself. Hated him. My current therapist is the polar opposite: never says a word about herself (the few biographical details about her that I know, I learned from someone else), and usually responds to my statements with an open question or with silence, effectively bidding me to say more. On the rare occasions that she makes an affirmative statement, she is invariably incredibly perceptive.

She is non-judgemental almost to a fault; I occasionally encourage her to be a little more Dr. Phil and give me the kick in the ass I think I deserve. But she refuses, telling me that I need to learn to have compassion for that insecure, shame-filled boy that hides behind the facade he has built.



Posted by: eKcth uRpercht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 6:52 AM
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194:

Patient: "I'm depressed because I'm broke and have no one to talk to.

Therapist: "For $100 / hr. you can talk to me."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:15 AM
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The great moments in therapy come from learning how to listen to the weird logic of your emotions and how they dragoon your entire thought process into following them. The tune is so familiar to you that you're desensitized; it's incredibly helpful to have someone new to it there to listen and just poke you into perspective at key moments.

I think there were some mixed metaphors in there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:30 AM
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196- That's great, OFE.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:31 AM
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Any recommendations on how one goes about finding a good therapist?

Talk to friends about their therapists. If that therapist doesn't sound right for you or you don't want to see the same therapist as your friend, ask your friend to get referrals from her therapist, hopefully with a sentence or two about why the therapist recommends that person.

Then call a few of the referrals and ask them what their approach is and when they use jargon that you don't know, ask them to explain more. Tell them what prompted you to get therapy and ask them how they'd approach it. You'll get only a very general answer, because the therapist needs to get to know you first.

Set up appointments with the ones who interested you. (Your insurance should cover it because it's just a regular session from their point of view.)

A lot of picking a therapist is about chemistry. It can be exhausting to repeat your story to 3 or 4 therapists, but it's worth it to find the right one for you.

This is good advice:

Lesson: shop around. Trust your instincts, no matter how terrible you're feeling. And don't pick somebody you're going to feel contemptuous of. You can't let even a sliver of vulnerability show if you're always parenting the therapist.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:38 AM
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great moments in therapy come from learning how to listen to the weird logic of your emotions and how they dragoon your entire thought process into following them

Or, if you're a real beginner, the moment when you acknowledge that you have emotions that influence your thoughts, and that your thought process is not the cooly rational, Spock-like algorithm you aspire to / imagine it to be. And the moment when you recognize that this is forgiveable--normal and expected, even.


Posted by: eKcth uRpercht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:40 AM
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Re 199-201:

"he's still doing it"

"Therapy or killing people?"

I hope it's therapy since "he's getting better."


Posted by: babble | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:45 AM
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I hope it's therapy since "he's getting better."

Technique improves with practice.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:49 AM
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I suggested to Rory once that she could talk to a therapist about the divorce and coping etc. Nothing I have said before or since has elicited such a terrified and distraught reaction.

Because you were suggesting that she was crazy.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:50 AM
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Thanks for the advice, all. Especially 209.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:13 AM
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I found that my usual obsessive need for others to hold me in high regard persisted in therapy, and it was pretty difficult for me to get into territory that is shameful or reflects poorly on me.

I was explaining to my therapist, whose approach is cognitive/behavioral, that I can't ever keep a journal because I invariably go back and tear out all the pages, repeating the process every few days. He said, "That's exactly like the first few months of classical analysis. People have trouble believing how stupid most of their thoughts are."

I just graduated, btw. People who were at the last meetup probably noticed how sane I am.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:16 AM
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Delurking to respond to the Virginian. I'm half Irish on my father's side, and he certainly doesn't believe in therapy, although he's been dragged to it a couple of times (family therapy when I was a kid). Same idea that only truly crazy or horribly-damaged people go.

Thing is, a lot of people in my father's family, and almost everybody in my mother's family *are* crazy and/or horribly-damaged.

In my adult life (23 years so far), I've been to some form of therapy for parts of 14 years. I've enjoyed it, even when it was really grueling and heart-breaking, because I could see what a difference it was making in my quality of life. I recovered from trauma-onset PTSD after suffering for 22 years. I'm happy and well-adjusted. My marriage is happy. I have great friends. But I've also had to make peace with knowing that my parents and siblings don't love me (they hate themselves and that takes all their energy), and that I can't do anything about that. I can't fix them or help them feel better, because they refuse to stare into the abyss, and do the work. We're estranged after the shitty way they treated me all my life. And doing that freed up a ton of my emotional and creative energy that I'm now using more productively.

YMMV, of course.


Posted by: Laima | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:18 AM
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Because you were suggesting that she was crazy.

I was going to defensively tell you that I dispelled that stigma by telling her that both her father and I had spent time talking to a therapist and found it helpful. But I suppose that really wasn't the best way to assure her that therapy isn't just for crazy people.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:31 AM
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People who were at the last meetup probably noticed how sane I am.

The difficulty is that most people never really noticed that you were quite insane prior to your work in therapy.

We walk around thinking that our mental health issues are visible to the world. Most people simply don't pay attention to other people for any sustained period of time.

Moreover, most of your issues are just not that unique. We think "everyone else has it together. I am the only one!"

When, in reality, most people are batshit crazy underneath the thin veneer of sanity.

Slightly related: This is one of the things I love about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Let it all hang out!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:32 AM
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I was going to defensively tell you that I dispelled that stigma by telling her that both her father and I had spent time talking to a therapist and found it helpful. But I suppose that really wasn't the best way to assure her that therapy isn't just for crazy people.

Despite Rory's brillance and all-around wonderfulness, she isnt going to readily understand that a therapist isnt just for people who have something wrong with them.

I think the best way to explain it is that they are like a coach. Most kids understand that you need a coach or a teacher. A therapist can be simplistically viewed the same.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:36 AM
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When, in reality, most people are batshit crazy underneath the thin veneer of sanity.

Slightly related: This is one of the things I love about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Let it all hang out!

Two true things. To cross thread a bit, realising this is one of the joys of getting old. Not caring about it to the point of becoming dysfunctional is another.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:37 AM
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(That said, it is my uninformed opinion that people whose parents were shrinks or who saw shrinks in childhood are often very suspicious of shrinkage.)

This is universally true, I think, of shrinks' kids I have known.

I met a psychiatric resident whose father is a psychiatrist. (The miracle of google!) I met her, because I was thinking about joining her group, so I don't really know her.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:38 AM
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I deny that Heebie ever needed therapy. She's always been perfect. Her failure to realize that was a big disappointment to all of us.

Not the first time she disappointed us, of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:39 AM
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Most people simply don't pay attention to other people for any sustained period of time.

So, so true. And so liberating to realize.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:41 AM
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My only experience with therapy did not go well. Friends dragged me to it because it was pretty obvious I was depressed, but it took two months to go from the initial review in order to get matched up with a therapist, who was about the worst therapist type for me (young, feeeeeelings.) But changing would have meant another two months, so after a couple sessions of playing at being in therapy, I quit.

It felt a bit like a snake oil treatment, to be honest. Oh, that therapist didn't work? Keep trying until you find someone new! We're sure this works! This one is fortified with mystical herbs. Plus, how bad could it be if they were expecting me to be okay with three months of being dicked around with waiting for an opening? In the meantime, I managed to get myself together mostly by being religious about diet and exercise.

Of course, it's all falling apart again, and I can't go back because it won't work, I can't manage to set up a phone call even when my g.p. recommends it. She thinks my marriage is in trouble.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:47 AM
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That sucks, Teddy. There are alot of bad ones out there, and they certainly don't help. Finding a good one does help, but finding a good one seems to be as much a matter of luck as anything else. I wish you luck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:55 AM
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I am very resistant to therapy, mostly because I wouldn't expect a therapist to be very sympathetic to my attitude, goals, and lifestyle. There are a number of very obvious things I should be doing differently, but they're things I want to keep doing. I committed to some long-shot options a few decades ago, and no miracles occurred, but I'm inclined to keep plugging away just as a matter of honor. It's not as though I could start all over again.

At the same time, my least problematic sibling got that way through AA plus therapy. I've known other cases when therapy made people happy but annoying or boring, but my brother's case was entirely positive.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:57 AM
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209: Therapy. As far as I am aware he hasn't killed anyone in, oh, getting on for six months now.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:00 AM
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I only got to comment 16 before I felt compelled to say: The talking cure never did shit for me, and my experience with mental health professionals improved dramatically when I found people who would simply give me the right pills and walk away. Some of you may be more like me than Heebie.

Hey, there's a million different paths, Rob Contrary-Chalk. The point of the post was to reflect on the particulars of my befores-n-afters, not to prescribe a single route.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:06 AM
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224: one day at a time.

I take it he's no longer being asked to kill people by the powers-that-be?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:07 AM
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We walk around thinking that our mental health issues are visible to the world. Most people simply don't pay attention to other people for any sustained period of time.

I don't find that liberating, heebie. I find it kind of sad that most people don't pay attention.

Then there are the people whose mental health issues are painfully obvious to everyone around them, and they seem to be totally unaware of them.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:27 AM
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I focused excessively on behaviors instead of the emotions underlying them. So I'd fall into traps where I'd outline the n behaviors that you can't ever do, because they'll trigger X reaction, and this would spin out into a maze of behaviors to avoid or dutifully carry out.

This is probably a good description of one of the issues that came up in marriage counseling. I'd spend time talking about feeling neglected and uncared for and the therapist would try to translate by noting that small gestures -- flowers, a thoughtful gift for no reason -- were a good way to show caring. Like clockwork, UNG would then go out and by me flowers and demand gratitude. It was like "The therapist assigned me the task of buying flowers and I did! I finished my task! Everything's fine now, right?" There was no way to really make him see that I didn't want flowers, per se, as an assignment, but the feeling of being with someone who is thinking about me so that, when passing a flower shop, he spontaneously decides to grab a bouquet for me.

The new guy did this once -- missed his stop on the expressway because he was thinking about me, so he made a little detour and left flowers at my front door. I swooned. But not because flowers are anything special.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:30 AM
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I don't find that liberating, heebie. I find it kind of sad that most people don't pay attention.

Hmm, that's interesting.

Okay, here's a half-baked theory - I tend to be extroverted and my fear is that I'm being an imposition or annoying, so I'm pleased to remember that people are ultimately self-absorbed.

If someone is an introvert, then they may fear that they err on the side of being forgotton? maybe? and so it seems sad that there is evidence to support this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:32 AM
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... which ties in to what BG just said. It is liberating to realize that you are not being mercilessly scrutinized by everyone you meet. But you like to hope that people close to you are paying some attention.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:33 AM
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I take it he's no longer being asked to kill people by the powers-that-be voices inside his head?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:35 AM
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Let me refine my comments.

I think that your friends and family mostly view you with clarity. Your friends often know what your deal is. You are not fooling them. Bu they like you anyway.

I think your friends can be a productive source of insight if you allow them to speak to you with honesty. If you demand white lies, then that is different.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:36 AM
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UNG would then go out and by me flowers and demand gratitude

Reminds me of a really bad joke:

Two Italian-American housewives are sitting at the kitchen table chatting one Friday afternoon, and one of them looks out the window and says "Oh no, here comes my husband, and he's carrying a flower bouquet. Now I'm going to have to be on my back with my legs spread all weekend."

The other woman replies, "Whattsa matter? You no have-a da flower vase?"


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:41 AM
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Good point, Will.

I was actually thinking of a specific example that's a lot less refined. There's a guy who goes to my church who clearly has some kind of major mental illness/ substance abuse problem. He's always a little odd, but sometimes he cleans himself up.

He makes a lot of people uncomfortable and tehy try to move away, but he keeps trying to reach out. It's really sad, because he sometimes talks about his problems in totally inappropriate venues.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:48 AM
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BG:

In all fairness, isnt that what Episcopalians are supposed to do?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:53 AM
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235 to 233.

and why do they have to be Italian?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:54 AM
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Our parish priest in the U.K. once claimed to Fleur and me that "I have the highest proportion of certifiably mad parishioners in the entire Church of England." The parish church was sort of at the boundary of a respectable neighborhood and a dodgy one, so you had a lot of the sort of person BG described.

There was this one girl, a really kind, sane one, who was like a magnet for the crazies, because she didn't shun them. One morning before the service, one of the crazy ones was chatting with the girl and asking her personal questions in a voice loud enough to be heard all over the church. The crazy lady ("Mad Mary", as the clergy called her) loudly asked if the girl was married. The girl whispered a reply. Mad Mary followed up with, "So you're a virgin then, are you?"

The response was inaudible.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:59 AM
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235: I can't tell whether you're joking or being deadly serious or both simultaneously. But what you say is probably true. I've actually toyed with saying something to him, but I can't decide whether that would cause harm and only serve to make him upset or whether politely saying nothing and trying to be friendly is the best way to go. I can't help thinking that the silence option is a cop out and ultimately unkind, but I don't think that I have the social skill to say anything helpful.

I'm not comfortable, X, that you have your pants falling down and only one half of your shirt tucked in. Your speech is slurred. I really think that you need some kind of professional help.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:03 AM
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I think your friends can be a productive source of insight if you allow them to speak to you with honesty.

Thing is, therapy is not about being given insights by other people. It's about going through a particular emotional process yourself, one that involves lots of repetitive meandering through your stuff until you work your way beyond your own defenses. Your friends tend not to be good partners for that process, because A) you will drive them insane, listening to endless repetitive meandering through your stuff is not part of the friendship compact, B) they will short-circuit the process by constantly interrupting with advice, and C) they will tend to side with all your defensive self-justifications, preventing you from getting beyond them.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:18 AM
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if you allow them to speak to you with honesty. If you demand white lies, then that is different.

Oh, that gets at point C in 239 somewhat, but points A and B were really the most important. Even if friends are brutally honest, brutal honesty from others is not always or even generally the best way to get past defenses. (Even though talk show hosts love it because it's dramatic). Therapy gets you to see through them yourself more.

Damn, from the mature way I talk about this shit you'd never know how fucked up I am.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:21 AM
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I know why I felt like crap: because I had no money, lived in a shitty place, had problems with my girlfriend, living a long way from people I care about...etc

After you learn not to care about what other people yhink. then you learn not to care about what you yourself think, which is usually just an internalization of socialization anyway.

Ain't no reason you can't starve to death alone under a tree, and yet be content and happy. In the case of some Mahayana monks, it is done in a socialized spiritual context (self mummification). Theravada can free you from such residual attachments.

Supposedly one live free-in-the-world, but like having money but not loving money, it can be very difficult.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:27 AM
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C) they will tend to side with all your defensive self-justifications, preventing you from getting beyond them.

I don't even think this is a matter of demanding "white lies" from our friends. Just a matter of , the more you care for someone, the more difficult it can be to step back and see them objectively.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:46 AM
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After you learn not to care about what other people yhink. then you learn not to care about what you yourself think

That's why it's dangerous to stop caring what other people think. It's a slippery slope from there to walking around muttering in your bathrobe. Or at least sleeping in every day.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:50 AM
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It's a slippery slope from there to walking around muttering in your bathrobe. Or at least sleeping in every day.

And this is a bad thing how?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:56 AM
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And this is a bad thing how?

Because it inevitably leads to neglect of lawn care, and no one wants that.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:12 AM
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Wrong. Widespread neglect of lawn care can only aid people in realizing that lawns suck.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:15 AM
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Neglect of lawn care is a problem only for those who worry what their neighbors think of their general landscaping competence. Once you learn not to give a shit, you are liberated from weed and feed!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:27 AM
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247: Too passive.

Put up a sign on it that says:
"This is a Carbon-Neutral Yard. What are YOU Doing About Global Warming?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:35 AM
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248: an un-watered, un-fertilized yard, assuming something or other managed to grow in it, would in fact be carbon-negative.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:37 AM
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Working Hard to Ignore My Yard Every Day to Save Your Butt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:45 AM
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This is a Carbon-Neutral Yard. What are YOU Doing About Global Warming

"Stage III: Replace slow-growing, rhizomatous lawn grasses with fast-growing carbon-eaters like crabgrass and ragweed."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:58 AM
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I assumed 245 was a joke about pubic hair, but now it's gotten to where I think you're actually talking about lawns.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 12:00 PM
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I assumed 245 was a joke about pubic hair.

No, the preponderance of available evidence is against that interpretation.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 12:09 PM
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253: I don't see how waxing your whole yard would be environmentally sound. Explain please.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 12:39 PM
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I assumed 245 was a joke about pubic hair, but now it's gotten to where I think you're actually talking about lawns.

Alas, there comes a stage in life when yard maintenance takes precedence over self-maintenance....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:01 PM
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254: le ticket de metro reflects a very sustainable transportation policy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:05 PM
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Alas, there comes a stage in life when yard maintenance takes precedence over self-maintenance...

What does this say about your bushy yard?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:08 PM
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That yard maintenance still isn't that important to me?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:23 PM
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Isn't the occasional lawnmowing a way for neighborhood teenagers to contribute to their community?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:38 PM
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259: Oh, please. Kids only mow their own lawns if their moms make them. They'll mow the neighbors' lawns for money.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:41 PM
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My view of therapy is similar to my view of astrology. I take it this is a minority viewpoint among the unfoggedariat.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:42 PM
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259, 260: Wait, are we talking literally or euphemistically now? I am so confused...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:42 PM
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That's remarkably uninformed, Shearer. Good show.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:42 PM
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263: Wait -- do we know Shearer's view on astrology?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:45 PM
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264: "Don't date anyone who hasn't done at least two years of serious astrological speculation."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:47 PM
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264: no, but considering all the possible options I can think of, I stand by my 263.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:49 PM
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266: Spoken like a Libra....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:52 PM
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Libras can't write clearly?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:53 PM
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We all kinda hoped that 259 was a euphemism back in our late teenage days. Then we hit our early 20s and realized why no one older wanted to have sex with us back then. I expect similar revelations about people in their early 20s once I hit 30. With a little luck, I'll be able to ignore those revelations.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:53 PM
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I am very resistant to therapy, mostly because I wouldn't expect a therapist to be very sympathetic to my attitude, goals, and lifestyle. There are a number of very obvious things I should be doing differently, but they're things I want to keep doing.

What would be your goal in going to therapy? If you want to keep doing things the way you're doing them, and you're not trying to change and/understand something about your life, you don't need therapy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 1:55 PM
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Slightly out of left field, but Minne, if you do decide to go back to therapy, I have a couple shrinks I can reccomend. E-mail as needed.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:01 PM
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Sustained euphemism becomes allegory. I tried googling for photos of a lawn dyed pink, but failed.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:02 PM
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272: Now that would really irritate my neighbors!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:04 PM
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My view of therapy is similar to my view of astrology. I take it this is a minority viewpoint among the unfoggedariat.

I'll cop to having held a similar point of view until fairly recently, at least as regards therapy for people who aren't obviously disfunctional.

My revised view, having had one moderately successful and one (to my way of thinking) pretty useless encounter with therapists, is that it is pretty much like other professional services: incredibly valuable to some people under the right circumstances, worthless or worse for others, and characterized by very little useful information for the customer prior to the buying decision.

Because the credentialing process for therapists (psychiatrists excepted*) is weak compared to, say, lawyers and accountants, you probably get more snake oil and witch doctors than in therapy. And because suppliers attempt to create their own demand (true of other professional services as well), there are annoying tendencies to pathologizing the normal, running the meter, and publishing works of dubious merit to "get your name out there".

The absence of agreed upon best practices (and the fact that each generation seems to overturn the received wisdom of the last) is a weakness of psychotherapy, but doesn't discredit the whole enterprise. Other professional services--even somatic medicine, which has a stronger basis in science than any other--have the same issues.

* Which is not to say that a psychiatrist is necessarily to be preferred to a non-M.D. counselor or social worker; if you need meds, to to a doctor, but an experienced, empathetic non-M.D. might be the right choice for talk therapy in conjunction with meds or even as an alternative thereto.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:04 PM
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My view of therapy is similar to my view of astrology. I take it this is a minority viewpoint among the unfoggedariat.

There are effectiveness studies that show talk therapy works as well as drugs for mild personality disorders like depression, and that talk therapy + drugs work better than drugs alone. With numbers and stats and everything, by unbiased people (since there is no patent to FDA approval for therapy, no need for pharma to rig results). I'm thinking that would impress Shearer.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:05 PM
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270 =>> 261.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:05 PM
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Because the credentialing process for therapists (psychiatrists excepted*)

A psychology degree ain't nothin'.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:05 PM
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Pwned, I see, before I even write this, but yeah: the big difference between therapy and astrology is that there are controlled, double-blind studies showing its effectiveness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:07 PM
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* Which is not to say that a psychiatrist is necessarily to be preferred to a non-M.D. counselor or social worker; if you need meds, to to a doctor, but an experienced, empathetic non-M.D. might be the right choice for talk therapy in conjunction with meds or even as an alternative thereto.

IME, as well as the E of several friends, a good psychiatrist who is also a good therapist is rare. My therapists have been MSWs and the like. The one therapist I dumped was a psychologist, so there you have it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:09 PM
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If you want a seriously hardcore credentialing process, find a psychoanalyst.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:10 PM
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Similar to what Knecht was saying in 294, the effectiveness studies show that talk therapy works on average, but the technique supposedly used by the therapist is not a predictor of their success, instead the predictor of success is the rating of how good therapist/client relationship is.

That makes sense to me, and doesn't rule out best practices really -- I think the technique descriptors are probably hopelessly imprecise.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:12 PM
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274, not 294.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:13 PM
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270: Because the things I want to keep doing often do, in fact, lead to doubtful and unpleasant results which do not make me happy. So my choices are either to tough it out or else to give up.

Therapy is generally advised for anyone unhappy with their results, and it's generally claimed that people resistant to therapy are self-defeating, in denial, etc. I'm proposing an alternative explanation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:14 PM
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282: The alignment of the moons of Saturn clearly indicates that I will post a biting, incisive comment on or about 294. Also, I should ignore co-workers who criticize, and avoid making important financial decisions this week.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:15 PM
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283: I don't buy your alternative explanation, which, if I understand you correctly, is that the therapist won't approve of your choices so why see one. A halfway decent therapist isn't going to judge your goals or your lifestyle or that fact that you're an old coot. (Of course there are bad therapists -- witness Di's insane divorce-disapproving guy.)

Therapy is generally advised for anyone unhappy with their results who wants to make different choices to avoid those results. You've said that you don't want to change what you're doing, so, yeah, therapy isn't going to do much for you. It isn't a magic powder that will let you keep doing the same things but take away the unhappy results.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:35 PM
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My view of therapy is similar to my view of astrology.

That it works for people who believe in it and doesn't for people who don't? That's pretty much my view of everything.

we hit our early 20s and realized why no one older wanted to have sex with us back then. I expect similar revelations about people in their early 20s once I hit 30

I still want to have sex with people of every age. Email me, youngsters.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:36 PM
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Whatever the credentialing, it may be easier to tell that your therapist's no good than that your lawyer is...Mileage will vary. My parents dragged us a couple of times when we were young; I usually clammed up and said nothing. The only exception was one time I earnestly tried to make my parents' marriage counselor see that the *real* cause of my (plenty dysfunctional) family's problems was my 6-year-old little sister.

I saw a "mental hygiene" counselor twice in college--once it was useful, once not at all. My mother had one doozy of a psychiatrist who probably did her a lot more harm than good. But I can think of plenty of other examples where relatives/friends have found it incredibly helpful.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:42 PM
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275 278

Some pointers would be helpful, I have seen claims to the contrary.

As I understand it, most mild mental problems will improve over time without treatment and the placebo effect is quite strong. Making it easy for people to believe X was helpful even if it isn't on average.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 2:43 PM
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286: You should come out here and bicycle around to the ambient biker bars with me. All of them feature Suzy Creamcheese and Daisy Duke. Your perving will be maximized.

Bikers around here are 50+ and mild-mannered. They are not prejudiced against bicyclists.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:01 PM
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I choose to interpret 289 as referring to biker bars that play nothing but ambient music.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:02 PM
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somewhere, out there, there's a biker bar full of 50+ yr olds wearing daisy dukes and listening to ambient --- just for you, Sifu.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:06 PM
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Is there a biker bar that isn't full of 50+ year olds? Maybe in Russia.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:07 PM
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291: I imagine it's in the bay area someplace.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:08 PM
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292: definitely, but you have to know where to look. THere are even occasionally biker bars with bikers in them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:09 PM
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Lots of bikers here, all mild mannered and elderly. Often with youngish GFs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:11 PM
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Implied was the implication that a biker is extremely likely to be a 50+ year old. In this country at least.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:11 PM
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Implied was the implication

You... don't say?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:12 PM
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294 seemed to be saying that if a biker bar contains people under 50, it is because it contains bikers.

ASSUMES FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:15 PM
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298: No, that's not at all what it says.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:17 PM
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I was just trying to steer Apo to some underage poontang (by the 1/2+7 rule) and you guys went all analytic philosophy on me.

I don't think that the Daisy Dukes actually like biker dudes. I think they're mostly disguised college girls and church youth group leaders.

(Yes, many local churches are alcohol-friendly, up to a point.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:19 PM
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So this thread has gone to 300 without anyone confessing to an inappropriate relationship with a therapist? Not even an embarassing crush (on or by the therapist). Can the professional code of ethics really be that strong?


Posted by: Gen. Winfield Scott | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:23 PM
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It seems to require a level of anonymity beyond presidents to mere presidential candidates for someone to even hint that they may have done such a thing. So I would say yes.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:25 PM
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As I understand it, most mild mental problems will improve over time without treatment and the placebo effect is quite strong.

Geez, that's why you compare therapies to...a placebo! Are you too set in your opinions to spend five minutes googling "talk therapy randomized effectiveness study" or some combination of those terms? It almost makes me think you're not a strangely unemotional rationalist.

I shouldn't, but here's one link I got with two minutes of googling:

http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/592/63


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:26 PM
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A halfway decent therapist isn't going to judge your goals or your lifestyle or that fact that you're an old coot.

All those years wasted because the various PTB's used the court orders to assign me to the wrong fricking therapists. I needed one who who would not judge my violent criminal tendencies, my persistent self-mutilation or suicide attempts.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:30 PM
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Some pointers would be helpful, I have seen claims to the contrary.

The wikipedia section on Effectiveness and criticism is a shoddily-written hodgepodge, but it does point to this book, which seems to be a respected summary of the literature on the effectiveness of therapy, as the likely origin of the findings re its efficacy that PGD relates in 281. My sense is that those findings are the current conventional wisdom wrt the efficacy of therapy, as I have seen them relayed in many fora.

And now, appropriately enough, it's time for me to rise from my chair and go talk about my feelings.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:34 PM
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All those years wasted because the various PTB's used the court orders to assign me to the wrong fricking therapists. I needed one who who would not judge my violent criminal tendencies, my persistent self-mutilation or suicide attempts.

And that fearlessly judgemental, straight-talkin' Texas therapist went on to fame and renown as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. And now you know The Rest of the Story.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:35 PM
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However, I really blame myself. In the assorted involuntary committments, I kept prioritizing the goal of getting the fuck out of the looney bin over using the resources made available to help find a way to efficiently meet society halfway, to function, to stay outside. Clumsy.

But hey they were professionals trained in treating just the sort of patient who was trying to game the system. And I enjoyed the challenge. But you know "fooling the shrinks" developed those exact coping skills that keep you outside, alive, and functional so in a way everybody won.

I really should read Foucault, I suppose. Or the early feminists. Wait, I read those.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 3:48 PM
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Hey I killed the thread. Aww, y'all know I was just goofing ya. Dontcha.

All just performance art.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 4:46 PM
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306 was great. I'm totally envisioning a Dr. Phil vs. McManus showdown.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 5:17 PM
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If you want a seriously hardcore credentialing process, find a psychoanalyst.

The guy we knew from church who was the head of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute for a while is a misogynist creep. He stormed out of the Episcopal church, partly over the ordination of women. I recently looked up his online CV, and I thought it was one of the most fatuous things I've ever seen. He included on it the names of students he had supervised who had since gone on to have distinguished careers. I don't understand how he can take credit for the success of any particular group of academic psychiatrists.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 5:55 PM
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I mostly meant "hardcore" in terms of time consuming; up until recently it required an MD, a PhD, and undergoing several years of analysis yourself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 6:19 PM
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||

If you're going to be in the audience for a taping of The Price Is Right, be sure to get totally hopped up on ecstasy first.

|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 6:22 PM
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My view of therapy is similar to my view of astrology. I take it this is a minority viewpoint among the unfoggedariat.

Therapy is the modern, secular version of the confessional. For all that I've never found Christianity appealing, one has to admit the whole idea of the confessional is pragmatically quite handy; it's no wonder that a secular substitute for it should have emerged.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:01 PM
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312 is sort of wonderful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:04 PM
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You can trust us, DS. In order for us to help you, however, you must tell us everything and hold nothing back. Anything you say will be held in the strictest confidence.

So, what is it that you need to confess?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:10 PM
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314: It's less wonderful, but I also like the stoner guy who gets up and keeps bidding 420 on everything.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:13 PM
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I should add that under certain circumstances the internetatariat is required to report possible felonies to the proper authorities. But in general, we of the internetatariat are scrupulously discreet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:14 PM
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316: when did the high-ass college kids take be that show, anyhow? What a great day for America that was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:16 PM
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313: Alas, it can become addictive, an exercise unto itself, with no clear rationale.

In other news: is it possible that I'm actually hearing a (new?) Living Colour song on the radio? It really sounds like them. The radio station often fails to identify what it's playing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:18 PM
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315: I... I...

I think The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles is a really shitty book.

There. I've said it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:19 PM
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The Price is Right is the perfect blend of capitalism and democracy.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:21 PM
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There's nothing wrong with being homosexual, DS, if you're willing to deal with the problem.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:23 PM
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I think The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles is a really shitty book.

(a) Really? Why?
(b) Ha, I dare you to read The Magus, in that case.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:26 PM
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316: I love that he says "I've waited all my life to say this, Bob" before his first bid.

322: "Problem"? You moonlighting for an Ex-Gay Ministry or something, Emerson? How do you make time for that with all the hog farm work?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:26 PM
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DS is into MMA?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:26 PM
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320: FUCK YEAH.

Also, the ecstasy/proce is right clip made me really, really happy and glad to be alive.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:29 PM
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I think The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles is a really shitty book.

I believe you've also confessed to finding Franzen's The Corrections to be quite compelling. Do go on. (chin in hand, fascinated)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:31 PM
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323 a) All the dunderheaded, thoroughly middlebrow maundering about the true nature of Victorianism trying to pass as profundity. The needle on the ShittyMeter went into the red in the chapter where Fowles sagely opines that our age thinks it has learned everything, unlike the Victorians.

b) The Magus was even shittier, true. But it was gloriously, unapologetically, magnificently shitty. It was Shit that was not trying to sell itself as Shinola. I can respect that.

325: I was into the pure, earlier MMA when it was still supposedly "no-rules" fighting. I'm too homophobic to watch all this writhing-around-on-the-mat shit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:32 PM
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And why is it that I can't remember who Robert Halford is?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:33 PM
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Anything you say will be held in the strictest confidence

The two shrinks I went to in Alabama had me sign a form at the beginning saying I understood they had a legal obligation to inform the police if they thought I was an immediate danger to myself or others.

I signed. I really didn't give a fuck back then, a shoot-out with the cops would have solved my problems too.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:35 PM
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DS you prude, if you think the rules change the overall picture that much you should watch more unsanctioned and foreign bouts. Not too different. (Well, no knees to the head of a downed opponent should change, but I think they're working on that.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:36 PM
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The Magus is truly superlatively shitty. My Fowles of choice is A Maggot.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:37 PM
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Robert Halford


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:41 PM
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324: You seem to have issues about your mother. Would you care to expand on that?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:45 PM
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327: Overrated The Corrections may well be, but it certainly never provoked a gag response for me the way TFLW did. Perhaps because in a way, it had a lighter approach, or at least seemed to take itself less seriously. I'm not entirely sure why.

332: Yes, A Maggot wasn't bad.

334: I'm super! Thanks for asking! Now, let me tell you about my mother.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 7:58 PM
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It occurs to me that I'm hampered, in certain endeavours, by my inability to watch youtube videos.

Kieran posted a funny diagram about this recently, didn't he?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:05 PM
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I found The Collector by Fowles to be about the most repulsive book that I have ever read. Magus and FLW, which I will admit did engage me when I read them, are pretty much extended exercises in "Me, me me! Look at me! I'm the clever one."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:09 PM
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"Me, me me! Look at me! I'm the clever one."

Which actually wouldn't be so bad if he were as clever as he evidently believed.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:12 PM
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He included on it the names of students he had supervised who had since gone on to have distinguished careers. I don't understand how he can take credit for the success of any particular group of academic psychiatrists.

If you think that's fatuous, you should see my CV: I include the names of distinguished historians with whom I have no connection whatsoever. I also claim to have won a Medal of Honor -- for Gettysburg.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:15 PM
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I liked The Magus a lot, very suspenseful and creepy, but the whole time I was thinking "Really, this is a literary novel by one of our finest modern novelists? This isn't by Richard North Patterson?"

One writer I think is vastly underrated is Michael Innes. In that I have never heard anyone mention his books except my mother and myself. The Paper Thunderbolt is just great.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:15 PM
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In other news: is it possible that I'm actually hearing a (new?) Living Colour song on the radio? It really sounds like them.
[
What kind of station are you listening to?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:16 PM
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338: I'm not sure about this. The 'me me, so clever' thing works in very few, very limited cases, and if and when it does, one grants it somewhat grudgingly. I wouldn't, ultimately, call that good work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:19 PM
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341: A college radio station. No worries, I can look it up if I want to investigate further.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:23 PM
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What, no hate for Daniel Martin?

I do think, along with E Wilson, that to despise an artist properly, you must be familar with all their work, or at least the major productions.

I actually liked DM.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:23 PM
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It turns out that my 339 is a pretty stark reminder of the importance of paying attention to timestamps and reading all the way to the end of the thread before posting a comment. Let this be a lesson to you, kids.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:24 PM
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It seems that Vernon Reid hasn't done any work as the frontman for a rock band in at least a decade.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:25 PM
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Wikipedia claims that Living Color is getting back together, so it's possible.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:32 PM
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346: Yes, that's what I thought, which is why I turned my head several times. I'll look it up later.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:33 PM
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||

Sigh. I am a frowny-faced woman tonight. Boys are stupid.

|>


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:38 PM
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Yeah, but we're good for opening jars.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:40 PM
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It's because you date them, Di. You need to use them, and then throw them away when they become inconvenient.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:42 PM
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347: Ahem. Woo-hoo. I admit I came to admire them just with Vivid, then I went into a pretty serious folk-rock quietude, but am coming out of it, and haven't lost interest, by any means.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:43 PM
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342: To me John Barth is the classic case of someone who went over the "cleverness" precipice frequently with generally mixed to poor results. Nabokov usually got away with it, but in my experience it is the characteristic that turns off many of those who do not care for his work (and when he does get it wrong you get Ada).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:43 PM
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342: Depends on your inclination. I can think of a lot of books that self-consciously display the author's erudition and/or cleverness and are among my favourites not despite that, but because of it. Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel books are a good example (and all the Bakhtinophiliac fellatio in all the world couldn't spoil them for me for just this reason), but there are lots more contemporary examples, too: Joyce, Perec, Eco, Keneally, Saramago, sometimes Pynchon, sometimes Pamuk (esp. My Name is Red), et cetera. The mere showcasing of cleverness or erudition isn't enough in itself to turn me off; it has to conspicuously ring false.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:50 PM
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353: Agreed. I want to say the same about Pynchon, but I've learned to be very careful about this. I haven't read enough of him, or with enough attendance, to be able to back it up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:50 PM
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I think that a case can be made for Ari's Gettysburg Medal of Honor. Some people who actually received the medal were not significantly more derserving of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:52 PM
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354: A lot of the people you mention there are translated from foreign languages. I find that it's much easier to find something unbearably annoying in an author's style if you are reading the actual words he wrote instead of a translation of them, and this goes double for unbearable self-consciousness. When reading Calvino or somebody I can just go "Well, even the parts I find annoying are an interesting cultural experience, and I'm really just eavesdropping on the author writing to his intended audience of Italian people anyway."


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:53 PM
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354: I understand. Actually. Thanks. It's just difficult to admit that I like it in some cases.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:54 PM
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Wikipedia claims that Living Color is getting back together

And you can take that to the lake!

I used to really like Living Colour, but I've gotta say the old stuff hasn't aged well for me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:55 PM
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There's a half-page of Rabelais which consists entirely of bogus-looking legal references in technical abbrevations: stuff like "B.Div. XVII, Sandin 4.4424".

. Someone spent the time to look them up and found that they were all real.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 8:56 PM
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I used to really like Living Colour, but I've gotta say the old stuff hasn't aged well for me.

I'd agree on their first album, but Time's Up and the Biscuits EP have held up pretty well, I think.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:03 PM
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357: True enough, but I could think of plenty further examples in the original English. Lots of literary poetry is redeemed by erudition, for instance, the High Modernists especially (H.D.'s Helen In Egypt is a great book that should be wider read). The unfortunately obscure Peter Rushforth's Pinkerton's Sister is one of the most densely erudite books I've ever come across, which is part and parcel of its fabulousness. Sheila Heti's The Middle Stories is dreadfully, wonderfully oh-so-clever. And so on.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:09 PM
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Languagehat likes In Parenthesis and, uh, the other big David Jones thing partly on erudition grounds, I think.

Anyway, if not on those grounds, the erudition sure won't count against it with him.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:12 PM
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the other big David Jones thing

The Anathemata.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:14 PM
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354: Agree. My natural inclination is to be enthralled by writers playing with language and the form of the novel itself, but I went a bit overboard on them in earlier days, so I find that I consciously overcompensate. A few to many times finding myself 2/3rds of the way through something like Giles Goat-boy or Foucault's Pendulum saying to myself, "So this is how you want to spend your precious time on this Earth*?" But something like early Pynchon, Woohoo! (can't find it in myself to plunge into his later stuff, however).

*Since I found Unfogged, I am no longer troubled by that particular question.
**Thanks for the pointers to some of the lesser known stuff, DS & Ben.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:17 PM
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After the great success I had with The Sot-Weed Factor, I want to read Giles Goat-Boy.

My father likes both of the above a lot but I believe thinks that Barth went off the deep end not long after, with a few exceptions.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:20 PM
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I went a bit overboard on them in earlier days, so I find that I consciously overcompensate.

I think this may be exactly right for me as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:21 PM
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Is this guy obscure?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:22 PM
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365: On Pynchon: years since I read it, but I remember Mason & Dixon being rather enjoyable.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:23 PM
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365, 367:Christ, I can barely read anymore.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:23 PM
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And I dropped Foucault's Pendulum pretty much 2/3 of the way through as well, just a few months ago: then I heard somewhere that there's a surprise ending! Oh, jeez.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:24 PM
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368: I don't know, but Anthony Burgess praises his stylistic and linguistic virtuosity in 99 Novels.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:25 PM
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You guys are nuts; Foucault's Pendulum is a lot of fun.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:25 PM
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370: Where's that Wretched Pomposity thread of Heebie's? The customer reviews of Alex Theroux have furnished another candidate:

The soul is the boutonniere of our nothingness, the fiction we were born to write, we costive scribblers. It is a matter of choosing our words rather than hosting them. Here you may luxuriate in them - and be sure: only dandies get to heaven.

Nevertheless, that reviewer has persuaded me to check out Darconville's Cat, of which I had been previously unaware.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:29 PM
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373: You think David Markson is fun.

Okay, kidding. I'll probably finish the Eco. The erudition just becomes masturbatory after a while, you know?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:29 PM
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375: The erudition just becomes masturbatory after a while, you know?

And masturbation is a great, totally natural thing! And watching people masturbate can be fun, too! So there you go.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:30 PM
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I looooved Darconville's Cat, but it was a challenging book. The unrequited love generates a catalogue of hilarious misogyny. Which may be why he is unread. He requires a certain faith, and is about faith.

AT's
latest

Let there be no doubt, gentle reader, that Theroux has read many more books than you, that Theroux knows more abstruse verbiage than you, that Theroux can charcterise someone more fantastically than you'll ever be able to do in your wildest dreams of writing. But is it not a very hard thing, gentle reader, that Theroux should thus disdain you and me, gentle reader, that he should suck all hope and love from us, that he should lay to waste our longings and imaginings?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:37 PM
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David Markson is, or can be, fun.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:38 PM
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As I have pointed out, masturbation is the only fun birth control method.

I'm ashamed of you, Parsi. Your contempt for wankers may be the butterfly flutter that brings about irreversible population growth and the ultimate extinction of the whole human race.

Or not, as is always the case with butterfly flutters and history.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:38 PM
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366: I can't argue that The Sot-Weed Factor is not something of a tour de force. As I think I mentioned when you were reading it, it made a tremendous impression on me when I first read it and I enjoyed the opportunity your comments gave me to go back and reread portions of it. And I would certainly recommend going for Giles which actually has some interesting perspectives (and WESCAC was HAL before HAL was HAL), but I just don't think the book holds together (but then per 373, YMMV). I'd recommend Barth's earlier The Floating Opera and The End of the Road (although it is a nasty little piece of work), but anything beyond Giles has been a non-starter with me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:40 PM
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376: And watching people masturbate can be fun, too!

As I recall, there is a scene in Giles where a professor uses a fluoroscope to watch his wife masturbate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:43 PM
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I loooved End of the Road and in comments to Theroux somebody says they don't like Ford Madox Ford. Loooove FMF.

May be a pattern developing here. Any works of enthusiastic misanthropy to recommend for me?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:46 PM
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And masturbation is a great, totally natural thing! And watching people masturbate can be fun, too!

True, but it leaves me unsatisfied, impatient, eventually.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:47 PM
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382: The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen, if you don't mind a little poetry.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:48 PM
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383: Try interspersing passages of Eco with passages of Kathy Acker. Problem solved.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:49 PM
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378: Ben, one of these days I'll read more Markson. I know you've told me already (I think) which you recommend, but I've forgotten. I've read half of Reader's Block, and it doesn't seem to have been the best introduction.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:52 PM
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Foucault's Pendulum is sweet natured and basically pulp; I don't gather the problem. Giles annoyed the crap out of me almost immediately but I've always meant to give it another try, mostly as penance for having turned my co-blogger on to Pynchon. Mason & Dixon is good so far but no Vineland; guess we'll see.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 9:57 PM
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382: I am sure you've already beaten me to Last Exit to Brooklyn. You can also try Ratman's Notebooks (which for some reason I read before it became the basis for Willard, about the last book I thought would become a film) and Herlihy's novel, The Midnight Cowboy, makes the film look upbeat. For a Texas angle go with The Wind by Dorothy Scarborough which apparently, excited the wrath of chambers of commerce and other boosters in West Texas--a tribute to its realism. And then wrap it all up with The Day of the Locust.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:01 PM
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Any works of enthusiastic misanthropy to recommend for me?

Have you read "A Fan's Notes? Sort of Bukowski if Bukowski could really write. Or Henry Miller if Miller had been a loser drunk rotted away with self-pity instead of being basically cheerful and healthy. I'll admit to really liking it. It's just a touch 50s-overheated, but a classic.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:08 PM
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387: My only problem with FP is that it goes on, and on, and on, about subject matter that I've tried to respect historically, and it's glib.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:10 PM
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there are controlled, double-blind studies showing its effectiveness

In this blogful of little bitches, will no one comment on this?


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:13 PM
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389: Ah yes, Exley is perfect for Bob, capturing the life as "performance art" motif. And I was going to add The Sea-Wolf, but I'm sure he's way ahead on that one, and as I recall it mushes up a bit at the end. And to add some tropical fun, try Theroux's The Mosquito Coast and especially Matthiesens's Far Tortuga.

Final recommendation: The Old Testament


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:19 PM
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Final recommendation: The Old Testament

Esp. Ecclesiastes.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:20 PM
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388:Dear Miss Lonelyhearts:

Will the boys like me even tho I don't have a nose?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:22 PM
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391: Heh. Good catch. How do you trick someone into thinking they are going to therapy when they really aren't?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:26 PM
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How do you trick someone into thinking they're not going to therapy when they really are? Maybe you're in therapy right now.

(I don't think it's possible for effectiveness studies of therapy to be even single blind.)


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:29 PM
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damn should have put a spoiler alert on 394

Always wondered about Hughes Crow, which has a reputation. Tried Baudelaire, Mr Suzy Sunshine.

I suppose the best works of misanthropy are either unwritten, or written for money with a barely discernable irony.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:33 PM
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A Fan's Notes is indeed perfect. I've recommended Moscow to the End of the Line here before; it's a wondrous drunken rant complete with recipes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:45 PM
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397: How is that a spoiler? It's on the second page.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 10:59 PM
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395/396: You could single-blind it the same way you could test acupuncture, I guess. Tell the patient that they're getting cognitive-behavioral therapy and either actually give them CBT or have someone go in and just randomly talk to them about stuff. Double-blind is, of course, trickier.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:06 PM
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Shit, do you people have Miss Lonelyhearts completely memorized?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:07 PM
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401: (a) I just taught it a month ago, and (b) that part is to ML what "Look at this tangle of thorns" is to Lolita. (c) Bob's skipping all the good parts in that letter.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:23 PM
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349
Sigh. I am a frowny-faced woman tonight. Boys are stupid.

350
Yeah, but we're good for opening jars.

Lower your shoulders, that almost always does the trick for me. No boys needed!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:31 PM
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403: I can't imagine who started this stupid rumor about the jars. I open jars for guys all the time. Is this why they stop calling me?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:34 PM
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403, 404: Oh good Lord. Tap the lid on a hard surface. Or use a knife to pry the lid out just enough to let a little air in. It's not that hard.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:38 PM
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God job, apo. Now you've driven them into removing the last barrier to universal lesbianism.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:48 PM
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Actually, there's one other tiny, little thing beyond the jars that still keeps some of us from switching teams.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:52 PM
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ML is some pretty good misanthropy. I don't know the normal reaction, but I am laughing my ass off all thru that letter, and hating myself for it.

Selby & Bukowski don't quite work. Losers behaving badly. Evan Hunter's Last Summer is better, with your waspy overachievers acting horrible.

Au Revoirs Les Infants? Ox Bow Incident

What I need is a cast of characters wholly and unreservedly admirable, audience identifiable, and an act of inhumanity like a lynching. But not really, it has to be something where every reader/audience member would say:"And I too, would do exactly that in that situation, without coercion or extenuating circumstances." American Beauty had such a moment, til Spacey chickened out. Millions of men breathed a sigh of relief.

Misanthropic art by definition has to help the viewer hate him/herself as a representative human being without reservation. Tragedy, not melodrama. It would be difficult to make it universal.

Iceman Cometh is pretty good. Has Pinter come close?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-16-08 11:59 PM
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[Insert pause before 407 as Di, Blume, and AWB stop to glance at one another silently, contemplating 406 before Di flinches first.]


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:00 AM
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408: Dogville, for sure, fits exactly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:01 AM
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410: Plus, without spoiling it, I think I can say that it does not fucking disappoint in pushing the misanthropy, at every turn, right over the cliff. If it had compromised even one tiny bit of it, I think I would have found it totally appalling.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:04 AM
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409: Hell, I saw the way the two of you were glancing at each other. I didn't stand a chance anyway...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:06 AM
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410:Dogville great catch.

My point or purpose isn't to demand nothing but misanthropy, or even a majority. But the overwhelming majority of narratives are the kind of thing where we get to identify with Otto Schindler ("Yeah, maybe I coulda done that").

And people don't always act like Otto Schindler. So we get long difficult threads like This One


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:22 AM
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I think I've been pushing Shelley Jackson's Half-Life in here a bit, but it's really erudite, playful, inventive. It's about conjoined twins, and she doesn't let up on the play of doubling and non-self-identity.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:44 AM
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Ben, spare yourself Giles Goat Boy unless you are actually thirteen.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:10 AM
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Not to hijack yet another thread, but I received the best piece of advice today: to get out of my emo funk, VOLUNTEER. Do something for someone else! This is a great way to channel my innate altruistic and generous tendencies, if you are in an emo funk, get out of yourself. Volunteer, and do something for others. What a genius idea that has lifted me from despair!

So now I am feeling more energized, and I realize now that I can channel my innate altruism and generosity to others, whereas previously it was all directed to loving completely one person. I know, very emo. But I really did feel satisfied with that role of being The Most Awesome Girlfriend Ever. But since I have been despondently wondering for two days how I could ever find joy in cooking or baking again, if I could not hare these meals with Mr. X (no, he could not love me as John loved the real Abigail, so not deserving of being called Mr. Adams), then it was good for me to be reminded that there are others in this world who might benefit from that impulse in me to care for others and give of myself.

So, I'm volunteering for 826 Valencia. And I love kids! And teaching! And creative writing! I put myself through college and law school by working in day care and TA'ing, and I used to take writing workshops back when I fancied the idea. So, I think this will be really good for me. It is certainly making me feel like I have a reason to get out of bed, shower, and eat again.

I suppose I could have used my other skills at fighting discrimination to find renewed value in my life, but I kind of do that for a living and wanted to do something different and fun. And kids are great! And I get to sell pirate stuff!


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:50 AM
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Oh, Abby, I don't miss dating when I'm teaching. I miss sex, but teaching will use up every little drop of unclaimed love you have, and is really deeply rewarding, in pretty much exactly the same way an ungrateful, often-sullen-but-occasionally-loving boyfriend is. I'm so glad you're doing it! I hope it is a wonderful experience for you.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:23 AM
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417 wasn't meant to be snarky at all, by the way. I think it's a really good thing to do with all that unclaimed attention you have to give.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:30 AM
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And yes, it's 430am and I'm still awake, pulling an all-nighter working on my fucking dissertation. I'd hate to go to sleep right now because this shit is GOLD, man. GOLD. Or maybe that's the exhaustion-endorphins talking.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:32 AM
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You go, AWB! I need to get back to dissertating too. If you're in a flow, go with it. I am very sure that it is solid gold.

I will report on my 826 experiences! There's branches in NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, Seattle, and Michigan if anyone else is interested. Though I wonder if I will be the only one not swooning if Dave Eggers walks through the door of 826 Valencia. I kind of hate McSweeney's.

I will probably also report about doing Crazy Blind Date in a few months.

Also, I notice that there's a lot of repetition in my post. Bad editing from pasting in parts of an email to a friend in my bizarre need to share. But I will teach the kids well! I will teach them how to read good and write good too!


Posted by: Abigail Adams | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:40 AM
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420: We have an 826 a few blocks from here with a superhero store inside that is bitching, and a secret panel that slides back to reveal the classroom. So cool. I put out a feeler about teaching there, and then I remembered that (a) I already teach all the time, (b) I complain about not making a living wage as it is, and (c) I really hate the way kids smell when they get sweaty.

I would normally be kidding about (c), but today, damn, this woman walked into the coffee shop with her seven-year-old daughter to play chess, and, after working there for three hours uninterrupted, I had to leave. Girl stunk, man. Stink, stank, stunk, like that strong puppy sweat smell. When it's your own kid, I'm sure you love it, but strangers'... woof.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:48 AM
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Wow, Abigail, you're really taking charge of the recovery process. Very impressive.

I can say that, when the agony has lessened, there is a great feeling of relief in being free of the painful insecurity of worrying whether you are loved.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:22 AM
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Yay, yay, yay Abigail!!! Rory and I spent some quality time at 826 Valencia recently. The people running the place were absolutely, completely, totally amazing. I'm totally blanking on the woman's name right now, and I wish I weren't, because we showed up hours before it opened as a store but just as a summer camp group was trickling in and this wonderful woman working there said, "Hey, that's okay, come on in and look around a bit!" And she told us about the 826 in Chicago, which we totally have to check out. And the guy working there when we came back to buy stuff after it opened was totally engaging with Rory. And the class that we kind of eavesdropped on while shopping just seemed like incredible fun for the kids taking it. In fact, I was wearing my 826 sweatshirt just yesterday.

I'm really excited for you. And if the name of the woman who let us shop before the place was open comes back to me, I will tell you so you can tell her that those people who she let in to look around when the place wasn't even open really, really appreciated it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:49 AM
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whom she let in. The people whom she let in.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:01 AM
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271: Thanks, Chopper. Things are more than a little crazy right now with various commitments all coming to a head at once, but it's something I'm thinking about for the long term.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:33 AM
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Actually, there's one other tiny, little thing beyond the jars that still keeps some of us from switching teams.

That we can put spiders outside? That we can fix the wobbly leg on that chair? Do tell, Di!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:50 AM
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IME, as well as the E of several friends, a good psychiatrist who is also a good therapist is rare.

I think that this is probably true, but my current psychiatrist is also my therapist, and it's pretty great.

All residents have to do psychotherapy training, and I got hooked up with one at a particularly bad time in my life. He has a staff job and is doing some research ( I think it's on how family attitudes affect treatment outcomes in patients with first episode psychosis), but he's kept me on as a private patient. He's an incredibly kind person. He's not contracted with my insurance, but for now, he's charging me what my insurance copay would have been anyway.

I think that having the same person do psychopharmacology and therapy can make it easier to find the right drug cocktail, because you don't have to line up all of your symptoms all of the time. I had a great psychopharmacologist and a good LICSW (though I don't think that I was really ready to avail myself of her services) to whom the psychopharm had referred me, but I don't think that they ever communicated, and i think that that would have been helpful.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:00 AM
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Misanthropic art by definition has to help the viewer hate him/herself as a representative human being without reservation. Tragedy, not melodrama. It would be difficult to make it universal.
Iceman Cometh is pretty good. Has Pinter come close?

Not in my experience - I just ended up hating Pinter.

Peter Watts is great stuff to read as a cure for optimism- ""Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts", one reviewer said - but his plots tend to have an emphasis on neurobiology that might be a bit difficult to follow if you come from a liberal arts background. (Though it's no worse, mutatis mutandis, than Eco's emphasis on mediaeval history).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:41 AM
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Actually, how could I forget Michel Houllebecq? Sleek, streamlined, up-to-date misanthropy. The Elementary Particles is his best work, I think.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:55 AM
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430

Houellebecq strikes me as something of a poseur, actually; he isn't doing anything that Gide didn't already do far better.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:01 AM
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429. 430: I'm not nearly literate enough to participate substantively here, but reading that name just makes me want to proclaim, "I ain't no Houellebecq girl!"

I know. Sorry.

426: A hint: Like the jars, it's not that hard.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:21 AM
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430: I really enjoy Houllebecq and I found Gide too boring to ever finish anything he wrote (which could be my fault, it's not like I don't respect him). So from the PGD perspective there must be something that Houllebecq does better than Gide. An alternative explanation would be that I have bad taste.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:32 AM
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it's not that hard.

It's not? That rules out the obvious interpretation, then. I guess I could have concluded that from the modifier "little", as well.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:34 AM
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395, 396: it's easy. For the placebo sessions, you just don't listen to them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:58 AM
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To defend myself slightly more from (mostly valid) charges of waaaay misusing the term "double-blind", 400 is right, and you can make it double-blind by having a different therapist do the evaluations than does the therapy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:22 AM
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A hint: Like the jars, it's not that hard.


Remind me to never date Di.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:27 AM
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JG Ballard hasn't been mentioned. Concrete Island is short and IMO much better than Crash.

Also Shirley Jackson or Hašek, who is funny rather than gloomy, though the Parrott translation is terrible.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:29 AM
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The French have had a lot of great misanthropic realists. Starting with La Rochefoucauld (bonus: an aphorist!). Flaubert can be a great misanthropic writer. Balzac too, although the great writer part can be questioned.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:33 AM
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436: Don't worry Will. You're not an asshole. I'd never be attracted to you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:36 AM
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All of these things are true:

The Magus is truly superlatively shitty.

John Barth is the classic case of someone who went over the "cleverness" precipice frequently with generally mixed to poor results.

A little Barth goes a long way. I spent most of a month once doing nothing but reading Tidewater Tales. I still don't know if that was the best or the worst way I've ever spent a vacation.

A Fan's Notes is indeed perfect.

It's a shame the two following books suck aren't as good, but wanting more than one perfect book would be greedy, I suppose.

works of enthusiastic misanthropy

Thomas Berhard? And Cioran, of course.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:39 AM
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Houllebecq is way overrated, or at least The Elementary Particles was. So flat and unoriginal. The praise for it made me sad for the state of contemporary literature.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:40 AM
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400: Do you know of that ever being done? Because I don't know that you could get IRB approval for wasting someone's time that way. Wouldn't you have to tell the client when they give consent about the existence of more than one condition? Deceit over the course of a 60-minute experiment is one thing, but over a course of many weeks of therapy is another. It would probably not be too hard for the client to figure out which they were assigned to and stop going if they thought they'd been assigned to a condition the therapist thought was useless. I think there are comparison studies of different forms of therapies, and you could not tell the client which group they'd been assigned to, but again, that would be pretty easy for the client to figure out. I don't think it would be true blindness. I also think withholding information from or deceiving a patient in therapy about the therapeutic method might be unethical. At the very least it wouldn't be good for the therapist-client relationship. The only efficacy study I've ever been involved in had a very non-blind 90 minute control condition--an informational session.

435: I think that a study would not be considered double blind if the experimenters delivering the intervention weren't blind to condition, which of course they can't be in therapy. Having different therapists do the evaluations would be good controls, but I don't think they'd make the study double blind.


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:47 AM
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Uncle!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:50 AM
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Also, are Victor-Levy Beaulieu's Melville books any good? I love Melville, I kinda dig the Québécois scene, and I'm childishly amused with the one titled When Moby-Dick blows.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:56 AM
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Tell me about your uncle, Sifu. Why did you think about him just then?


Posted by: Cynique | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:05 AM
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Another obvious one for Bob (that he is probably way ahead on) is Céline.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:11 AM
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442

"... Having different therapists do the evaluations would be good controls, but I don't think they'd make the study double blind."

Actually this would blind the evaluation side. The point of doing the evaluations blind is to prevent people from biasing their evaluations to get the results they expect. Obviously a therapist is not unbiased when evaluating the results of his work.

On the patient side the placebo can be a drug which only produces some noticeable but harmless side-effect. If I recall correctly this gives much better patient outcomes than an explicit no treatment control group.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:40 AM
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313

"Therapy is the modern, secular version of the confessional. For all that I've never found Christianity appealing, one has to admit the whole idea of the confessional is pragmatically quite handy; it's no wonder that a secular substitute for it should have emerged."

Someone observed that it is not possible for all the world's religions to be correct but that it is possible for all of them to be wrong. I feel similarly about the various theories of therapy. Of course many people find religion comforting and perhaps the same is true of therapy but for reasons different from the specific truth claims in each case.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:47 AM
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439: Sometimes I'm an asshole.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:48 AM
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Laydeez.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:48 AM
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449: Oh baby. Say something belittling and/or dismissive....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:11 AM
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451: See, I knew it!


Posted by: Every "Nice Guy", Ever | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:12 AM
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451: sure, hon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:12 AM
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You're pretty hot for a chick with a kid, Di.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:21 AM
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There's a new translation of Volume One of The Good Soldier Schweik.

The rest is available as e-books here.

I liked this translation, though I didn't compare it to the Parrot or to the even-older translation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:21 AM
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454: Wait, it's not a straightforward compliment when people say that?! It's belittling?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:25 AM
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454: I see apo gets a lot of practice at the peewee hockey games.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:28 AM
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Move over, Apo.

I'm all in favor of choice on abortion, but I think the father deserves a say in the matter. If he's willing to take financial responsibility for the baby, the girl shouldn't be permitted to just go off and kill his kid, don't you agree? What? Did you get brainwashed by those liberal professors? No? What's that? Jesus, I hate it when chicks can't carry on a civil discussion without getting all emotional.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:28 AM
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456: It depends if "MILF" comes up or not.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:31 AM
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Oh... Knecht...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:32 AM
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Move over, Apo.

Witness the confused response in 456 to the subtle asshole jiu jitsu, KR. You don't have to go leaping straight for the clitoris like a bull at a gate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:32 AM
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Does the "MILF" make it better or worse?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:33 AM
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458: wordy, over-intellectual assholes get no play, Knecht. Where were you in high school?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:33 AM
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So Di, is your daughter as hot as you?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:33 AM
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How could I have forgotten? Elfriede Jelinek.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:33 AM
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462: indeed.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:34 AM
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Oh, yeah. Two guys fighting over who gets to be mean to me. I still got it!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:34 AM
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455: I just read the Amazon reviews. In general the Czechs liked the new translation, whereas some native English speakers didn't. The reason is that it's a self-published book and includes some editing lapses of the type W-lfs-n seizes on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:35 AM
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re 463: From what I've heard,467 sounds like high school.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:35 AM
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463: Poor PGD. So misguided. First, 458 hardly qualifies as over-intellectual. Second, passionate argument about hot-button issues... Is it getting warm in here? (The infuriating stupidity of a wrongheaded position can be quite productive.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:38 AM
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464: Yes.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:39 AM
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"Hot button issues". Heh.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:41 AM
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How does it feel to be no hotter than a six-year-old?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:42 AM
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That apo, he's funny and likes to party and all, but did you know he's a fag? Yeah, it's totally true. He was camping out with this guy, and the guy woke up in the middle of the night and apo was touching his nuts. And his sister told my sister that she found a magazine in his room that was all pictures of dudes sucking each others cocks.

Say, baby, do you mind spotting me the check here? 'Cause I left my wallet at home.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:42 AM
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Say, baby, do you mind spotting me the check here? 'Cause I left my wallet at home.

This, actually, total turn-off.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:43 AM
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did you know he's a fag?

It's okay if you show me your tits, Di, 'cause I'm gay.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:45 AM
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It's sad, really, to think how many times I've heard someone remark of someone I was dating, "But I thought he was gay!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:47 AM
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Gay dudes get all the chicks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:50 AM
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465:I'm taking notes. Thanks you all. These will help me keep my down after November.

Apparently it is now a certainty there will be no war with Iran. Obama is meeting with Abbas. Oil prices are going down. Some days it's just tough to stay in bed and gloom.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:52 AM
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I want a political thread so that I can comment how horrifying it is that the Bush Administration made John Ashcroft look like a good guy. He just wasn't fascist enough for them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:55 AM
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481: Sigh. I guess that means he's not going to get as many chicks as he used to.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:57 AM
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478: It stands to reason.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:59 AM
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481 to 479.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:59 AM
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It's sad, really, to think how many times I've heard someone remark of someone I was dating someone has told a girl I was dating "But I thought he was gay!"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:04 AM
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This, actually, total turn-off.

OK, how about "Don't worry about it, it's on me! No, don't feel bad, I want to do something nice for you.

[Tactical pause]

That sure was a nice bottle of wine. I'd love to have another glass of it, wouldn't you? It's kind of expensive here at the restaurant...Hey, you know what? I've got a bottle back at my place! What do you say we go have a glass and get comfortable?


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:14 AM
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Tangentially to the topic at hand, I almost wrecked my first date with Fleur by stubbornly arguing an inconsequential point long after the fun had gone out of the discussion for her. Fortunately she was convinced (for reasons too lengthy to explain here) that we were destined to be together, so she was able to overlook my manifest flaws as a human being on the first evening together.

And I did have the presence of mind to graciously pick up the check.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:24 AM
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Gay guys get all the chicks because being interested in women is unmanly. I thought everyone knew that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:51 AM
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8 gazillion comments later, what happened to make you frowny faced, Di?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:53 AM
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486: Did you master that mind-control technique in Germany, or here in the States?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:53 AM
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being interested in women is unmanly

Hear, hear. Let's strip down to our shorts and grapple, Walt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:53 AM
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Okay, let's go! I can totally take you! Being married twice has got to be clearest sign of fagitude I've ever seen.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:01 PM
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488: Got stood up for a date. His excuse? He hadn't heard from me all day, and I was "short" with him when he called me on my way to my daughter's softball game, so he didn't think I wanted to see him. It was my fault, really, because of "the way [I was] acting."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:40 PM
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492: what an asshat.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:41 PM
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Right. Precisely my type.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:44 PM
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492: AAAAAAHHHH! OMG, flashbacks to college boyfriend with borderline personality disorder. "The tone of your voice, it changed slightly during a conversation we had a month ago, and revealed to me that you actually hate me, so I've been spending the past month being cruel to you so you'd know how it feels to be treated with such contempt."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:44 PM
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That's happened to me before. I make extremely sure to not assume that people like me and therefore embarrass myself later when it turns out they don't. So instead I err on the side of interpreting things to mean that people don't like me.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:52 PM
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495: Yeah, after finally breaking free from the narcissistic personality disordered ex, the exchange last night was way too damn familiar. Triggering today's shame spiral of: what the hell is wrong with me haven't I learned a damned thing why on earth am I with the same fucking sort of person who I know full well is toxic?

This morning I was in the "I'm never dating again" stage. So by August I should be full on ready for ill-conceived (but angry!) rebound hookups. Fellaz...

Then, maybe apropos this thread, I should consider re-upping on the therapy thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:54 PM
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I make extremely sure to not assume that people like me and therefore embarrass myself later when it turns out they don't.

Yeah, I do this, too. This guy has been dating me for months, though, and already knew I liked him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:56 PM
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Triggering today's shame spiral of: what the hell is wrong with me haven't I learned a damned thing

Considering you married the last one, I think the fact that you noticed this before the nuptials would indicate you have in fact learned something.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:57 PM
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497.2 August. sweet!

I can't remember exactly how I realized that I didn't have to date crazy people, but I remember it was a staggering revelation at the time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:57 PM
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That is to say, the experience this guy has had with Di Kotimy is similar to experiences I have had with women.

Not that I don't sympathize with her, too. Especially after seeing 498 on preview. That's bewildering.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:58 PM
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Fellaz...

Woohoo! Chicago meetup!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:58 PM
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498: clearly the empirical evidence of "being short with him" outweighed 3 months experience. Good to know.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:59 PM
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497: So long as the hookups are angry, it'll be alright.

Also... best of luck.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:00 PM
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501: Not to worry Fatman, we just assumed you were talking about your relationships with men. It's all the same.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:00 PM
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Considering you married the last one, I think the fact that you noticed this before the nuptials would indicate you have in fact learned something.

The fact that I haven't fully committed myself to walking away yet, however, suggests otherwise.

Feel free to yell at me for being stupid.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:14 PM
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DROP THE ZERO AND GET WITH THE HERO


Posted by: OPINIONATED PUA | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:18 PM
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506: GAH!

Di, you deserve better. Really.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:20 PM
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The fact that I haven't fully committed myself to walking away yet, however, suggests otherwise.

Is this the libertarian? If so, what do you need for a third strike?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:21 PM
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506: Uh. In the absence of further discussion with him about why he was on such a hair trigger over thinking you didn't want to see him, I wouldn't say you're stupid to continue -- the discussion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:21 PM
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parsomon: I think you're trying being very balanced in the face of limited info but --- imo thinking you didn't want to see someone is one thing (communication problem), intentionally standing them up (as punishment ?) for same? Different thing (asshole). Maybe there's something salvageable there and worth discussing, but imo that would involve a lot of grovelling and a damn good reason.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:24 PM
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508 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:25 PM
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I concur with 511. Bending over backwards to see the other person's point of view is one thing, but the odds of there being an innocent explanation for standing someone up are pretty low. Asshat is the likeliest explanation, but even the unlikely ones (He's totally flakey and he forgot? He's agorophobic and scared to go out? He forgot his meds and had a seizure and/or shat himself in the car on the way over?) are flashing red warnings. DTMFA.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:32 PM
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Feel free to yell at me for being stupid.

Di, you deserve better. Really.

YES. There is no way that he is innocently insecure here. Passively-aggressively punishing you for being "short" with him? FUCK THAT, SIDEWAYS.

Sorry for all the caps, but you did say to feel free to yell.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:35 PM
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FUCK THAT, SIDEWAYS

Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun.

But yeah, Di, even if you want to give him a grovelling grace period, start looking around for someone better. ('course, I'm speaking from the early-20s perspective, and acknowledge that I have no idea what you're looking for in a relationship.)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:38 PM
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Thanks everyone. I told him we'd talk in a week. Which is sort of shitty timing, as my kid leaves the country with her dad in a week and my resolve will be all weakened by loneliness. Sigh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:39 PM
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I concur with 511. At my current stage of dating, I feel I no longer have to convince myself to drop guys who treat me a certain way, because I'm a lot more sensitive to being "tested" or treated with contempt. It used to be that I very easily got sucked into trying to prove to that person that I really did like them or that I really deserved better treatment, but there are certain signs that someone is never going to respect your feelings as a human being, and blaming you for his standing you up (as opposed to saying, "Oh wow, I am sorry I stood you up; I had X thing going on with me") is on a marquee for the summer blockbuster hit "I THINK I'M MORE HUMAN THAN YOU."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:40 PM
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432: We're just different and equally wonderful snowflakes, PGD. I've often found Gide quite readable (The Immoralist, The Counterfeiters), but Houellebecq's Whatever was a struggle from the first page to the last, and in the end I felt cheated.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:40 PM
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516: I'm here for you, Di.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:42 PM
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The Mineshaft is right, the asshat is wrong, the matter is settled. Don't lose your resolve, Di!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:42 PM
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I will admit that sometimes dating a parent is hard because a parent in the midst of child-care can sound awfully "short" to a single person. But that means you have to take extra care to find someone to date who does not expect to be the central person in your life, and be upfront about that. Some guys will handle that just fine. But a lot won't.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:42 PM
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is on a marquee for the summer blockbuster hit "I THINK I'M MORE HUMAN THAN YOU."

Excellently put.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:43 PM
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I told him we'd talk in a week

You could call him from Portland, Di.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:44 PM
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"You deserved it" is pretty shitty for standing someone up-- assuming the worst about the other person is a style of adversarial distrust, worse than unreliable flakiness about time. Most charitable is that he hates admitting to being in the wrong, and tries BS instead. Is he a lawyer?

Have a friend with a sexxy voice call him up to meet her at this great place she knows, 1060 W Addison.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:45 PM
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"1060 W Addison... That's Wrigley Field."
*nods*

And yeah, obviously, stay strong Di. If necessary, there are a couple sections of Craigslist that can help steel your resolve to never touch a man again.

Or you can go to Portland. And best of all, the latter has wine!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:48 PM
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why on earth am I with the same fucking sort of person who I know full well is toxic?

I often find that sort of pattern often is vaguely recreating relationships with or between a one's parents.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:52 PM
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often [...] a


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:52 PM
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431: "I ain't no Houellebecq girl!"

This, by the way, terribly clever. I appreciate you, Di.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:54 PM
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Standing up is insane-making. When you create an expectation of desire and then don't fulfill it, and don't give notice or a reason, that's pretty much the cruelest thing you can do. One of the reasons I was so pissed off about this guy I was dating not calling me (given the expectation that we were going to have a date that week when a visitor left town) was that I was really afraid that when I contacted him, he was going to say, "Of course I didn't call you. You did [subtle wrong thing] and therefore deserved to be treated like you ceased to exist." Since I can't avoid the guy, but that kind of response would have made me psychotically angry, I actually feared the resolution of the situation.

Thank God he just explained the situation and said his failure to call was his own mishandling of his own confusion. It's not the apology that matters--that's petty--but the failure to blame me for his thoughtlessness that makes the situation tolerable. I hate that the bar is set that fucking low, but getting stood up is itself not a dealbreaker. Getting stood up and then guilt-tripped about it is insane.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:55 PM
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Angry therapy is hotter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:59 PM
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By an eerie coincidence, I'm going to be in Chicago in August. There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.

I've never dated anyone crazy, so is this really such a bad sign? As a repeated pattern, sure, but as a one-time weird misunderstanding?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:59 PM
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I've never dated anyone crazy, so is this really such a bad sign?

I've dated two legitimately crazy people. The rest were just garden variety neurotic, like all of us here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:03 PM
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I've never dated anyone crazy

I have this strange feeling of envying you and pitying you at the same time. Perhaps Apo understands.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:04 PM
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Di, I know you know this already, but this guy is an ass. Between this and what you've posted about, he sounds like a jerk. A jerk who may have some good qualities, yes, but a jerk nonetheless. I'm being harsh, but anyone who thinks that white males are getting the shaft, and also that you deserved to be stood up because you were "short" on the phone when you were busy doing something else doesn't deserve another second of your time.

Then again, judgmental me thought that this dude sounded like bad news from day one, but I'm a bitch like that.

Even people who are no good to be with can have multiple fine qualities and be very likeable.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:05 PM
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Actually, I find getting stood up sort of is a dealbreaker, most especially in the relatively early stages. I don't remember ever having really stood someone up* or continued a relationship with someone who stood me up.

(* Closest I came was an ex who I kept phoning with lame excuses one night we were supposed to hang out, reason being that I had just come within a hairsbreadth of cheating on her and was actually planning to break up with her the following night, which I did. Which, okay, pretty shitty, but there were much worse alternatives.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:05 PM
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I've hooked up with a few other legitimately crazy people, but teh crazy became apparent quickly enough that dating got scratched off the menu.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:05 PM
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537

Perhaps Apo understands.

Completely.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:07 PM
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I've dated more than two legitimately crazy people, Not many as a percentage, I guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:15 PM
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535: I'll go one better and say I've never even been late for a date, not even five minutes late. If I intend to be at a place at a particular time, I will do what I have to do to be there, barring transit tragedies or whatever.

I'm tolerant of 5-10-minute lateness, but it's really hard to imagine what a continual rain of blows to one's sense of self-worth it is when someone is always 15-30 minutes late to see you. I know it doesn't feel like that to the person who is regularly that late---they're just "not thinking." But that's exactly it; I am thinking about their feelings, how they would feel to be left standing dorkily on a public street corner or in a bar for half an hour every week. It's a sign that they really do not conceive of you as a person, that they don't have the attention span to do so.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:17 PM
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I've dated a wide, wide variety of crazies and discovered I am only biased against certain kinds of crazy. Passive-aggressiveness, paranoia, unpredictable anger, mood swings, and narcissism are absolutely deal-breakers for any kind of relationship. But some of the features of craziness appear in otherwise functional personalities, which makes them hard to spot. OTOH, there are plenty of less-functioning types of crazies I find totally endearing. For me, it's not the crazy that's the problem; it's the shitty treatment.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:22 PM
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Gawd, 539 is so right. I had a boyfriend who was always late to meet me, often when we were meeting some random place like on a train platform. Or we would do this maneuver where he was supposed to get on a train, call me when the train was about to pull into a particular station, tell me which car he was on, and I'd meet him on the train. Sitting on the platform watching train after train go by made me want to tear my hair out. And yeah, this was symptomatic of him just not giving that much of a shit about me.

On the other hand, someone showing up right on time or early for a date shows that they are really paying attention/excited to see you.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:22 PM
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537: Crazy sex is the best sex.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:23 PM
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543

Crazy sex is the best sex.

Not for all values of crazy, it isn't.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:30 PM
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I once dated a guy who did both the passive-aggressive standing-me-up thing and the constant lateness thing. The result was that I was never sure whether he was standing me up because I was guilty of some imagined slight, or whether he was just an hour late per usual. He was also, it turns out, completely insane. Unbelievably, I dated him for like four years (I try to excuse my stupidity on this count by reminding myself that I was just a kid when we started going out -- but! four years! I'm a fucking idiot!). Crazy sex can be pretty good sex, but my God, so totally not worth it.

Early on in my relationship with my current boyfriend, he was once like two hours late for a date. There were reasons, as it turned out -- he was living in New York, and I was two hours away by train, there was some kind of subway problem, he had no cell phone and so couldn't call me, etc. -- but all I could think was, oh fuck no am I not doing this again. In the end, I resolved my anger by challenging him to a physical fight. After that, we had dinner. He's actually pretty good about being on time, for the most part.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:32 PM
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I did get an apology for not calling on a specific day when he said that he would try to call. It turned out that he had fallen asleep on Saturday afternoon, and I crashed after my Yoga class too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:32 PM
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I resolved my anger by challenging him to a physical fight.

Did he take accept your challenge? If so, who won?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:33 PM
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Yeah, I'm usually much more forgiving of flakiness about time than that, coming from a circle of friends who are generally flaky about time and manifesting the same tendency myself. The trick is to make plans with this in mind: plan to meet here between such time and such time, preferably at a place where you both have lots of friends and both in the knowledge that you'll be padding your estimates a little bit, since shit happens. If you do plan to be somewhere on the dot of X, though, especially in circumstances where the other person will be conspicuously forced to wait alone without you, it's pretty shitty to be late.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:35 PM
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He didn't; he felt too bad about being so late. In the end he offered to let me give him an Indian burn, which I did. I'm pretty sure I would have won. I had the power of right on my side.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:36 PM
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543: The kind where they start crying after orgasm and then try to commit suicide while calling you a disgusting slut is hawt.

I think "crazy" in the sense the guys above are referring to here is particularly the kind that yields very little self-consciousness, which, uh, agreed, is totally fucking hot, but there are also, like, non-insane people in the world for whom sex alone results in a bottoming-out of self-consciousness. And that sex, my dear friends, is holy grail.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:37 PM
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Di,

I know this is pretty cheap coming from a committed guy on the internet but I think you're pretty neat. Another place and another time and all that stuff and . . . you know. Really. Hang in there.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:38 PM
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Can some of the Chicago commenters make plans to go out with Di next week so that she won't be lonely enough to break her resolve?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:39 PM
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I'm sympathetic to the late-haters, and after a years-long Herculean struggle I've gotten better about being on time. But once I heard a friend of mine laughingly say of the boyfriend she would later marry, "Oh, Dave can't be on time to save his life!" and I thought, "Please God, find me a girlfriend like that."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:40 PM
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552: See, I keep meaning to get around to the years-long Herculean struggle, but damn, you know. Just a couple more pages of this book, it's like, really good, I know my peeps will understand...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:45 PM
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550: Tripp has been committed?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:47 PM
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554: This can't be a surprise.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:48 PM
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I'm always late, for everything, thus proving I do not think of AWB as a person. It's because I'm a big procrastinator. Frankly, given the fact that our community has come together around what is basically a high-end procrastination resource, I'm surprised the perpetually late aren't making a stronger showing here.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:54 PM
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Coming on time to an 8:00 party is worse than coming slightly late. Coming early is way worse. People who are sticklers for being on time are often less fun. Whether this principle works for dating, I don't know.

I can't stand to be late, with the result that I almost always come on time, but sometimes in a crappy mood because I'd been worrying about being late. I'm sometimes fun in parties and sometimes not.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:58 PM
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Never show up on time to a party, sheesh. You've got to give people at least an hours' grace to do all that last-minute shit they didn't get to.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:59 PM
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I was going to say, during my marriage I learned to use a half hour fudge factor when planning things with my wife. This was not one of the issues in our relationship; I got used to that one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:59 PM
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557: Arriving at 9 p.m. for an 8 p.m. party is exactly on time.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:00 PM
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Arriving at 9 p.m. for an 8 p.m. party is exactly on time nothing like arriving at 9pm for an 8pm date.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:03 PM
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There's a big difference between showing up at "on time" for a drinks party and showing up on time for, say, a dinner date, or a dinner party. There's also a big difference between saying "I'll try to get to your house sometime in the next two hours" and saying "Meet me at the corner of 53rd and 8th at 7."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:04 PM
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Thanks again all -- the support is much appreciated. I am heading off to coach Rory's softball team now, so if I don't comment for awhile it doesn't mean I don't love you all!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:04 PM
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The fudge factor solution that Emerson describes is pretty sane, and basically what I was getting at earlier; chronically late people should avoid agreeing to be anywhere "sharp." Irritation is understandable but the conclusion that Lateness = Dehumanization of the Dating Other is pretty extreme. An hour is certainly pushing it and something you'd have to respond to, but not because it proves the other person think you're the moral equivalent of an amoeba.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:07 PM
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That is, anyone who would say "No one shows up to a house party until three hours after it starts" as the reason why they left you waiting in a bar by yourself for three hours is an idiot. Of course we're all a lot more lax about arrival times as a function of how many people are involved (although the latter is still fucking obnoxious if there's a plan for everyone to do something together, like go into a concert or eat a meal).


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:09 PM
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So how long are you obligated to wait for someone?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:15 PM
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I'm chronically late, but my wife is always just a little bit later. The relationship/flakiness rule is to keep dating until you find someone who is just a little bit (but not too much!) flakier than you, so that you can reap all the benefits of being self-righteous without actually needing to hate the person.

I could never date or be in a relationship with someone who was very, very uptight about being exactly on time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:18 PM
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566: Technically, you're not. Waiting alone, though: leaving before five minutes is in dickhead Louis XIV "I was almost kept waiting" territory, but it's a hardy soul that would go past 15-20 minutes without finding something better to do. If you're waiting in a place where you know people, easier to be easygoing about it, though anywhere past an hour it's basically on your sufferance whether you agree to hang out if the other person actually shows their face.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:19 PM
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567.2: Exactly.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:20 PM
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564: I know it sounds insane to people who are chronically late. The discussions I've had with a few chronically late friends (like over an hour and a half late, all the time) are weirdly circular, because they start with them saying, "Oh, hey, I'm not on time because I forgot what time it was and I was doing something that interested me!" And I'm like, wow, I was really excited to see this person, and I have been thinking about it, and I gave up doing something that interested me to get ready, because I wanted to hang out. And the chronically late person says that it never occurred to them that (a) I might also have a life, but that (b) I might be disappointed to have arrived on time because I actually looked forward to it. The CLP also says, "Well, it doesn't matter that I didn't think about you sitting here waiting because I wouldn't mind if you got distracted and were an hour and a half late all the time." And the only solution for it, I find, is to tell the CLP that you will start arriving an hour and a half late for any plans you have together. Which is fine, I guess, if the relationship is worth it, but it sounds like barking madness to me.

This is an issue that goes way back for me. My father is obsessively punctual, and my mother is a CLP. In order to make their relationship tolerable, she has set all the clocks in the house to different times in the future, so as to startle herself into getting ready earlier. Of course, this just means that she's learned how fast all the clocks are and adjusts her lateness accordingly. My father, meanwhile, sat us down and lectured us about how narcissistic and uncaring lateness is, especially how it looks in a work environment, but also in interpersonal relationships. He once punched in the window of his car when he locked himself out so he could be on time for a date with my mother... which she was late to.

So I'll admit that obsessive punctuality is as much a psychological disorder as CL, and I try to fulfill my end of it by arriving on time to everything, while also not being offended by one-on-one lateness unless it's over an hour or a regular occurrence of over-half-an-hour lateness.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:30 PM
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Showing up early to a date was definitely a bad move the time I did it, though. It was about a two-hour drive away, and I had good traffic luck, so I was outside her place about 15 minutes early. She was annoyed because she was in the shower when I rang the doorbell.

I think it didn't occur to me that being early would be a problem just because it was such a novelty (both being early, and a date that started at one party's residence).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:33 PM
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I had a charming conversation not long ago with a visiting grad student from Sicily: I'd run into him in the cafe on the first floor of my building, where he was supposed to meet a faculty member he'd never met before. I said I'd stick around and point the two of them out to each other. So we chatted for a bit and I asked when the meeting was supposed to be. In about five minutes, the Sicilian guy said.

"Oh, so he's not late yet," I said.

"Oh, no," he said, beaming. "It's one of the things I love best about the United States. People are so frequently on time!" Poor guy, born with a northern European idea of promptness, into a southern European culture.

AWB, imagine this! At the University of Palermo, apparently faculty are often hours late to their students' qualifying exams. The horror.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:38 PM
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also not being offended by one-on-one lateness unless it's over an hour or a regular occurrence of over-half-an-hour lateness.

That's fair enough. I'm chronically late, but I regard 15 minutes late as routine, a half hour as really pushing it, and an hour as good cause to be really pissed. This is for meeting in a public place where the other person is alone; if you're going to their house or if it's a multi-person party things are different and you can just call.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:41 PM
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Bending over backwards to see the other person's point of view is one thing, but the odds of there being an innocent explanation for standing someone up are pretty low.

Especially when the person is offered the opportunity to fabricate an innocent explanation and say 'yeah, so it's your fault.' Christ, Di. Flush this one.



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:42 PM
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there are also, like, non-insane people in the world for whom sex alone results in a bottoming-out of self-consciousness.

I'm never self-conscious when I'm having sex alone. It's the other people who trigger it.

(Couldn't resist...actually I'm weirdly not self-conscious when having sex period. Nakedness always felt more natural than clothes to me anyway.)


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:43 PM
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511 and following (is this still live?)

I'm playing devil's advocate to an extent, of course, but the point of 510 was that there's a fine line here.

AWB in 529 said:

I was really afraid that when I contacted him, he was going to say, "Of course I didn't call you. You did [subtle wrong thing] and therefore deserved to be treated like you ceased to exist."

The fine line is between "I didn't call you because you x'd" and "I didn't call you because I was disturbed because of x between us".

In any event. Standing someone up altogether is, of course, not acceptable if it involves actually not contacting the person to explain, and leaving him or her just waiting. I wasn't sure if Di had meant that the guy was late and later called to cancel.

'Nuff, anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:43 PM
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570: As a CLP, I find that the key to better CLP/on-time anal people is really just better communication. "I'll be there at 7" just means two different things to two different people. I can usually get anywhere by 7 if someone says, "we really need to meet at 7, b/c I've got something to be at by 9:15," or the like. It's not like I'm late for important work things. But I really hate constraining schedules and being 15 or even 30 minutes late for something informal feels to me like something normal, not a crazy imposition.

But even as a CLP, close to or more than 1 hour doesn't ever feel OK.

On preview, agree w/ 573.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:43 PM
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570.1: See, I wonder if sometimes my current chronically-late habits weren't formed in part by dealing with other people who are chronically late and adjusting my own inner clock accordingly. OTOH I think getting caught up in something and running late is a pretty common human experience that makes no comment whatever on how much you care about someone else, and the whole "if you were thinking about me at all that wouldn't happen" thing is a pretty alien mindset, something I'm aware of but can't really relate to.

Also, I'm currently single. I wonder if that might be related somehow.

Work is a different kettle of fish, of course, because one's employer holds the whole "I can fire you" Sword of Damocles over one's head. Many people who are chronic procrastinators in their personal lives make it a point never to procrastinate at work -- I'm one of these, punctual to a fault for committee meetings and events and in writing reports and all that shit -- but that in part is because I expect a level of understanding from friendship that I don't expect from my boss. At the same time there's only so far that goes; past an hour I don't expect anyone to be understanding, but different people have different thresholds.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:45 PM
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I generally figure, for social things, a five-ten minute range count as on time. Beyond that is why the gods invented text messaging.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:46 PM
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579: There are, of course, still people who neither have nor want cell phones.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:48 PM
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Right, but I know who those people are and don't invite them to hang out with me, DS. Duh.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:50 PM
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Of course, this just means that she's learned how fast all the clocks are and adjusts her lateness accordingly.

Yes, I've always hated the "I'm going to set my clock ahead" for exactly this reason. Everyone I know who does it just learns the offset of the set-ahead clock and grants him or herself the extra minutes of prep time anyway. My idea for awhile has been to create a clock that keeps track of the true time on the internally, and displays the time plus some offset, t+delta, on the outside. Every night, at a time when you are likely asleep, the clock would choose a random value of delta between 0 and, say, 20 minutes. That way the time on you see on the clock would be your best estimate of the true time, and in theory, this would actually lead you to be on time more often.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:50 PM
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572: I would seriously have committed suicide on the spot if my orals had started fifteen minutes later than they did. Life was absolutely intolerable that day until they began. How horrible.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:50 PM
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Hey, OT, will I regret dressing up to go to a concert by myself? Will it make me feel pathetic? Or would I feel worse if I go schlubbily in pants?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:52 PM
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581: So that pretty much rules out hippies and techno-peasants for you, I guess. That must suck. A lot of those people are really fun.

582: Yes, I've always hated the "I'm going to set my clock ahead" for exactly this reason.

Works for me, esp. with alarm clocks. I'm up and blearily getting ready before my morning brain registers I could have slept an extra ten minutes.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:53 PM
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572: I would seriously have committed suicide on the spot if my orals had started fifteen minutes later than they did. Life was absolutely intolerable that day until they began. How horrible.

I know! Truly incomprehensible. As a bonus, they are sitting there dressed in regalia while they wait.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:55 PM
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582: The one time that technique worked for me was when I screwed up my clock by some amount of time greater than 4 hours, then set the alarm for the corresponding correct time. When I got up in the morning, the cogitative work of figuring out what time it was was enough to wake me.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:56 PM
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I used the set the clock ahead trick even though I'm not a CLP. It was neurotically-on-time trickery.

When I have an important event scheduled, I can start stressing hours before it's time to leave.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:57 PM
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584: You will never regret feeling hotter (or more put-together) than everyone else in the room. You may regret being the dressiest person in the room, so don't wear your ballgown to the club show.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:57 PM
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584: If it's a good concert, you won't care too much either way. I suggest not caring too much either way no matter how good the concert is.

I would say to dress up for free drinks, but a friend of mine actually seems to get more free drinks and guys numbers at concerts where she's just thrown on some clothes and is in sort of a bad mood.

Enjoy!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:57 PM
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where she's just thrown on some clothes and is in sort of a bad mood.

Visible discontent in women is the functional equivalent of spraying on a whole can of pheromones.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:59 PM
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590: There is an afterparty, probably with an open bar. I have no idea why no one wanted to go with me. Any last-minute takers of my free extra ticket to this Stravinsky/electronic thing?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:00 PM
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592: Sure, but I might be a few days late. Which city you in again?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:01 PM
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590: I know what you mean, but I think I need to wear a skirt tonight, given that I've been writing in sweaty pajamas for the past seven days. I'll compromise and wear a cute skirt, a schlubby sweater, and a sardonic, superior facial expression.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:02 PM
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The ubiquity of cellphones has certainly changed all of this. I've had one now for all of a year, frequently forget to turn it on, but since it is there, after all, and I can use it (I forget this too, at times) my meeting with people behavior has changed a bit. I'm more impatient, I think, which isn't good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:03 PM
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||

Two truly excellent things of my recent experience:
(1) The Boris show I attended last night
(2) Braised baby savoy cabbages, carrots, and onions with fried egg on top

|>


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:05 PM
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584 -- Going to concerts (and even more, movies) alone is really underrated. I used to avoid doing so out of shame, I find I usually can get a lot more out of focusing on the show or the movie without wondering about what the (not talking, not socializing) person standing or sitting next to me is thinking.

I was at a jazz concert solo last week while on a business trip and had one of the best times seeing music live I've had in ages.

And going to the movies is absolutely, bar none, the worse way to socialize with someone, unless you go out for drinks afterwards (in which case, why not skip the movie and go straight to the drinking).

I say, wear what makes you feel good, but represent the devotees of solo going out with pride.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:05 PM
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a schlubby sweater

Oh my Christ, is it cool enough in NY to even consider wearing a sweater for even one moment out of air conditioning? I am a steaming wet rag over here.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:07 PM
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I'm amused by the juxtaposition of 594 and 595.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:07 PM
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I don't mind going alone, but I will probably skip the rad afterparty. Drinking alone at a party and trying to start conversations with pretentious music-y strangers is not my area of social skill.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:09 PM
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598: It's boiling hot here, but it's a sleeveless, very thin sweater.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:10 PM
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And going to the movies is absolutely, bar none, the worse way to socialize with someone, unless you go out for drinks afterwards (in which case, why not skip the movie and go straight to the drinking).

I love, love, love to dissect movies with another person after seeing them, though I realize not everyone shares this inclination.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:11 PM
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I'm off, y'all! Have a good night.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:12 PM
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Beyond that is why the gods invented text messaging

Text messaging is great for this purpose if the person checks or is aware of text messages A lot of people I know, mostly older than fifty to be sure, but some younger, just don't. "I left you a text!" is met with a blank stare; one person told me months later they'd just retrieved a text message to that effect and had to be reminded of the circumstances.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:17 PM
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The problem with going to movies alone is that sometimes you run into people you know, and sometimes you can tell that it is awkward for the people you have run into to see you going to a movie alone.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:19 PM
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606

602 -- I like talking about movies, but it takes me a good day or so, or at least a couple of hours, for the flick to sink in enough to be able to say anything other than "that was awesome" or "that sucked." But many other people are much better at this than I am.

Also, if it's a friend that I haven't seen for a while (which these days are all of my friends), it sucks to have what little conversation time you have eaten up by either watching a movie or talking about the movie, instead of real life. I'm particularly bitter about having a recent man-date with a buddy I hadn't seen in months
being eaten up by the hellacious Indiana Jones film.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:20 PM
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Man, Sir Kraab was supposed to call me like, 15 minutes ago! What's a fella to think?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:20 PM
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I love, love, love to dissect movies with another person after seeing them, though I realize not everyone shares this inclination.

Ooh, me too. Which is why the ideal way to do it is a movie, and then dinner. Otherwise it's not as much fun.

Of course, it helps if both people have seen the movie before dissecting it. This comes up when shivbunny travels and I inhale a season of something on Netflix and then have several conversations with him that must make no sense but I'm still squeaking like an excited toddler.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:22 PM
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When I saw movies alone, or stayed up to watch them on TV—pre-1990, when there were lots of movies on broadcast—I probably got a lot more out of them then I ever did seeing them with somebody. I remember movies as easy dates to arrange but unsatisfying on the whole.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:22 PM
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604: In case it isn't clear, the people from whom I would expect to get a text are people who I know send text messages.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:24 PM
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Okay she just called. All is well, I feel human once more.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:25 PM
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610: Great, I'm off the hook then.

Although when I was living in Edinburgh and later in Brussels, I did a hell of a lot of texting. Probably because it was basically free over there.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:28 PM
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I am generally prompt, with a few consistent exceptions.

I always underestimate turnaround times for events that are scheduled as "I'm getting home from work, I'll have a quick bite to eat, and then we can meet and hang out." When I make the plans I'm usually still in work mode, and estimate times based on efficient use of time. By the time I get home, and have a little bit of food, I am shifting out of work mode and I always end up spending 20-40 minutes puttering and appreciating the fact that I do not need to be rushing around.

Interestingly the other situation that is most likely to result in my being late in when the person I am meeting is particularly intolerant of lateness. I will be on time if someone has a reason why being on time is important. But if someone is likely to get pissy about my being late, even when it has not significant impact, that just makes me more likely to be 15 minutes late.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:31 PM
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610: But I thought you didn't associate with people who don't send text messages. Isn't that a bit circular?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:33 PM
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You've caught her on the horns of a dilemma, DS. And she calls herself an analytic philosopher.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:34 PM
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Some are virtuous, some are vicious.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:35 PM
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Mismatched habits in (cell)phoning and texting can be enchanting! As long as people don't get worked up over it, after all. The last man I was seeing phoned at the drop of a hat, and it left me always surprised: Oh, yes? Hi, uh, I'm eating a bagel and have nothing to report, and you are, oh, standing on a street corner waiting to meet your friends? Well, then!

Weird, but endearing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:40 PM
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Like I say, I'm a CLP, but I do tend to email or text when I'm running more than 15 minutes late. Not offended when someone doesn't, though.

The world will look very different when everyone, and not just lawyers, have blackberries.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:43 PM
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will I regret dressing up to go to a concert by myself
hope you enjoy your concert
i would love to accompany you if there'll be any such occasions from september, sure just if you don't mind and if you won't have any other people to go together
coz until then i won't have any time for concerts, so alas


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:45 PM
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And she calls herself an analytic philosopher.

She does? To the barricades!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:47 PM
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Late to the thread. 492 calls for the death penalty, I'm afraid. You can waste time on fruitless appeals, and hoping the governor calls with a reprieve, the the end result here looks pretty well ordained. Sorry.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:49 PM
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I agree about the death penalty. The combination of standing-up and blaming is unacceptable. The hog farm is at your service.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:51 PM
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Cala should just admit that she's a slave to the current waves, and be done with it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:56 PM
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John, you've watched Deadwood, right?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:01 PM
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624: "Gabriel's trumpet will produce you from the ass of a pig."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:02 PM
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613:I am almost always way early. My associates hate it in me, I get real irritable 1/2 hour before a 10 minute drive. I always calculate the prep & walking/driving time, and then add 1 minute per mile for the unexpected. Traffic is never an excuse.

There were the 5 years of 10+ can't-miss medical appointments a week (and one emergency room visit a month) but I was always like this. I would rather wait at meetsite with a book than rush & worry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:04 PM
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I like talking about movies but not immediately after, in most cases. Needs time to sink in, often overnight; then I'm full of things to say. I'd be mismatched with someone who wanted to talk about them right then, and was frustrated when I wasn't.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:11 PM
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624: No, my concept comes from Robert Pickton, the characteristically Canadian serial killer. I bet "Deadwood" swiped it from him too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:11 PM
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Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo also had a uniquely Canadian approach to serious killing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:13 PM
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557: Arriving at 9 p.m. for an 8 p.m. party is exactly on time.

I actually find this convention unbearably idiotic.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:13 PM
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Whereas Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer had a uniquely Wisconsin style.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:14 PM
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630: You can't fight the whole world, Ben. You can only try to change it, one party at a time.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:16 PM
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I actually find this convention unbearably idiotic.

Well, yeah, me too, but you know. People. What can you do?

My watch synchs with the US standard time signal and is accurate within 0.2 seconds. I also hate to be late. Hate. It.

But. You know. People.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:17 PM
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Hey, OT, will I regret dressing up to go to a concert by myself?

No, why would you?

Going to concerts (and even more, movies) alone is really underrated.

This is true, but it's also true that if going alone is your usual MO, it gets pretty wearying. Dining out alone is a bridge too far for me, though.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:17 PM
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Dining out alone is a bridge too far for me, though.

Yeah, me too, big time. When traveling on business I'll either order room service or buy supplies at a grocery store or read a paper at a fast-food place. I can't sit alone in a real restaurant.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:21 PM
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Depends on the restaurant, at least for me. I can't imagine sitting down for a four course "event" meal by myself. But I also am on the road a lot for work and have found that a solo meal in a diner or casual restaurant with a book -- or at the bar where there's a bar that serves good food -- is just fine, and can even be very pleasant.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:25 PM
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Robert,

I envy you. I've overcome much of my social shyness but eating alone makes me very self-concious for some reason.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:29 PM
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630: You seem to have some problems with your mother. Care to expand on that?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:30 PM
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628: Pickton's not our worst serial killer, just the worst we've caught. I'll bet the rest of them are running cattle farms.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:31 PM
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Culture is important. People pay too little attention to cultural nuances.

I'm fine with my mother, God bless her!

And I feel fine about dining out alone, too, but I am occasionally made aware that the waitstaff thinks that lone diners are losers. (As we are, of course, but some of us have hog farms, and waitpersons should remember that.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:42 PM
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When I see people dining alone (not in a diner) in apparently perfect peace, I'm envious and want to befriend them: interesting people! Grace.

I've done it only a very few times, and 20 years ago, actually, during college. This doesn't count having lunch here or there, of course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:43 PM
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The "dining alone" thread is not this one, apparently.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:43 PM
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641: Dining alone is actually a pretty effective tactic for meeting people. Those around you become uncomfortable and want to find out what's wrong with you. Then they'll buy you drinks and stuff! I wrote most of my first book this way, for just this reason.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:45 PM
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The relationshipfree life requires that you aquire a capacity for dining out alone. Perhaps that's the sticking point for a lot of people, and not that BS about sex and love and caring, etc. I never thought of it that way before.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:45 PM
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Unfortunately I have a kind of agoraphobia or whatever and often have a grim expression on my face in public places. I meet relatively few people then. When I happen to be loose, though, I can have a lot of fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:48 PM
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I wrote most of my first book this way, for just this reason.

Shakespeare's Boy Actors?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:55 PM
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646: No, The Turner Diaries.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:56 PM
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(DS wrote a book.)

There may be a difference between meeting people when dining alone on the east coast vs. the west coast. Over here in the less friendly east, we don't talk to strangers much: makes people suspicious. Too bad.

I'd migrate this to Ben's thread, where he cross-posted, since I'm tired of refreshing this damn long thread, but I'm not here much longer anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:58 PM
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I thought you were Canadian.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:58 PM
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628 -- No, I wasn't thinking you were derivative. Just that you'd enjoy the embodiment of your metaphor.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:59 PM
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649: I'm kidding. Sweet jucifer jeebus.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 6:59 PM
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The wikipedia article for one of Slack's novels has some kind of bizarre tone shifting: It's all part of that Jungian thing Doc Slack loved in the end. Quite so.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:00 PM
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652: Well played, sir. Well played.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:01 PM
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I dine alone a fair bit for reviews, and I love sitting by myself with a book and a good meal. I just hope I won't become part of some The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover scenario.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:01 PM
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I quite enjoy dining out alone. Not that I do it often. And I don't think I'll match that Governor of Aden episode, from early this year, for serendipity while doing so.


Posted by: Carp | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:07 PM
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I find myelf surprisingly curious about which book DS wrote.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:20 PM
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656: There are several possibilities, but only two correct ones.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:26 PM
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Wasn't it one of those Canadians books about having sex with bears?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:39 PM
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That was only in anthology.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:40 PM
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"Bluesprint"? Oh, DS.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:41 PM
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(Wayde'll be pissed at me for bringing him into this, but fucker hasn't called me in months, so fuck him.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:42 PM
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Jimi's grandmother!

My son's second grade teacher told her class that she knew one of Jimi's cousins. I don't know any more than that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:44 PM
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663

You're not Mordecai Richler, are you? Was he black?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:47 PM
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663: Was he black?

He didn't seem to think so, but that's inconclusive.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:50 PM
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657: Why does that last link go to a pamphlet?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:51 PM
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it is awkward for the people you have run into to see you going to a movie alone.

IME it's generally not so awkward if you yourself feel serene about it. When I am matter-of-fact and cheerful, people are far less likely to react along the lines of "You poor thing."

Of course, I am exceptionally fond of going to concerts and movies alone. Business travel has even made me quite comfortable dining alone, which is a bit funny since in general I begrudge eating at restaurants and don't like to do it.

The above notwithstanding, I had a very unpleasant experience of being alone at a concert (waiting for others) recently. Extremely drunk teenagers can be so obnoxious. I really hope alcohol was not revealing their true underlying feelings in this case, because if so there are a disturbingly high number of young men wandering around thinking Hey! HEY! DROP EVERYTHING AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU, CAN'T YOU TELL I'M TALKING TO YOU? ANSWER ME! HEY!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:51 PM
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665: Because I'm deliberately fucking with you. Wasn't that obvious?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:53 PM
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I liked Slack's Margaret Atwood period.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:55 PM
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If you were Mordecai Richler, in my eyes that would be a completely good thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:57 PM
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667: Darn, I was all set to continue the joke by linking to Ian Samuels on LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube....


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:58 PM
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670: Do what you must. Although, MySpace, maybe not so much.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 7:59 PM
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672

(Alternate answer to 670: The More Fool You.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:06 PM
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I trusted you, DS.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:08 PM
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673: A rootless cosmopolitan should trust no-one. Surely the Giants of Gender taught you this.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:11 PM
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675

Who knew DS was an athlete?

(671 shows an insufficient respect for librarian Google-fu.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:16 PM
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Fine. Bastards and bastardwitts.

Until I learn otherwise, I am just assuming that DS is Dean Koontz.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:23 PM
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Oddly enough, 675 made no actual contact. Though it's reassuring to know so many homonymic mofos are bigger losers than I am.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:24 PM
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HSSSS! *claw*


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:26 PM
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No friend of Yoly Mendoza can be a loser.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:28 PM
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(677: Dude, it was the laziest Googling ever. It's all just off the first page of hits.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:28 PM
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Only you can prevent yourself from being Dean Koontz in my mind.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:28 PM
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OT: I just found out that I am going fishing on in Alaska in August! Maybe I can have a layover and pick up Jesus port!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:30 PM
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Bring the mosquito repellent, will. And have fun -- Alaska is awesome!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:32 PM
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Not being Pat Robertson, I'm reluctant to speak for Jesus, but some nice fresh salmon or halibut would probably be a good trade.

If you can get it past Homeland Security, that is. What with all the mercury and terrorist potential that fish have.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:33 PM
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I bought a mosquito repellent shirt from ex offico for our Costa Rica trip, but sadly probaby cannot wear it every day!

I am excited, but a little sad. My son and I have always talked about going to Alaska. But, this is my dad's trip for just his children, no grandchildren.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:48 PM
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674: Uh, congratulations for locating a picture of a band?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:48 PM
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I've been trying to figure out what I have to barter with Jesus. John, you might be correct about th salmon.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:49 PM
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Salmon, you say? Say more. Where exactly in Alaska will this salmon be coming from? Port will not be bottled by August, but there's always wine.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 8:59 PM
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BTW, you're welcome chez nous, should you decide to stop on the way. The way back, that is. With fish.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:12 PM
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619: I'll keep you in mind, read! That would be fun.

I really don't mind eating in restaurants alone or going to movies alone, though I don't do the latter very often. Going to concerts alone is slightly more annoying because "rock" shows always start late (this one, despite being largely classical, was an hour and a half late) and have a lot of chat-n-drink time built in. I don't really mind being the girl at the bar, but I'm not trying to look all "Hey! I'm alone at the bar! Come talk to me!" and yet not being all "Hey! Don't fuckin' talk to me!" either.

Things irritate me less when I'm there with someone, because there's conversation to distract me from my claustrophobia (OMG that guy's T-shirt edge keeps grazing my arm!!!) and my misanthropy (SHUT UP, guy on first date! You are being obnoxious!!). I'm much more relaxed with other people around.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 9:47 PM
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If I have a book, I like eating by myself in restaurants. Mostly because, with three kids, I almost never have time to myself except in the middle of the night. Going to concerts alone sucks, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 10:01 PM
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We will be on the Anvik River. I dont know the flight info yet.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:35 AM
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Yeah, after finally breaking free from the narcissistic personality disordered ex, the exchange last night was way too damn familiar. Triggering today's shame spiral of: what the hell is wrong with me haven't I learned a damned thing why on earth am I with the same fucking sort of person who I know full well is toxic?

I had a similar experience with the first person I dated after I got separated.

I can still physically remember that sickening feeling of thinking "WTF is wrong with me that I want to date women like this?!!?!?!?!"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:43 AM
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Dating is like gangrene. You have to chop off that diseased limb at the earliest possible moment.

I, for one, am shocked that this guy turned out to be wrong for you. Simply shocked. This must have come out of the blue!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:45 AM
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Text messaging is great for this purpose if the person checks or is aware of text messages

"checking text messages" surely is just "looking at your phone", right? I mean, they pop up right on the screen and everything and make a beeping noise.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:48 AM
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695: To you and me, sure. Even before I ever sent a text, I knew that the outside image on my clamshell of a mailbox with a letter sticking out of it meant a message, and that if I pressed the right buttons, I could read it.

But I also know that if I just open the phone and close it again, the message is not visible, just filed away in a directory I might never visit. You underestimate people's propensity to ignore what they're not prepared to respond to. And for many people, all the features boil down to a telephone in their pockets, and everything else their phones are and can do are terra icognita.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 7:50 AM
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is or terrae, I suppose.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 7:54 AM
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I used to get incredibly annoyed at the always-late, but now I am serence. I only agree to meet someplace with seats -- bar, train station, park bench -- and I bring something to read. I love having 10 or 15 minutes of reading time sitting at a bar. If I were standing around feeling like a dork, I'd be furious.

If we're going to a movie or whatever with a specific time, I adjust the meeting time as needed. (This works because my always-late friends are generally also somewhat flaky and let me make the plans.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:34 AM
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The Mineshaft has spoken as with one voice, clear and true. You're right, you're right, I know you're right! He's history. But now I have a follow up question on the mechanics of that.

Yesterday he emailed to say he was sorry "things got messed up," I responded that I didn't like the way he treated me, he didn't reply. I followed up several hours later to say I was interpreting his silence as signaling that he still felt I was responsible for his decision to blow me off. He responded that he never said it was my fault, just that we must have miscommunicated.

I sent the following email:

Yeah, you did. You said "Well, the way you were acting, I felt like you didn't want to see me."

I'm not interested in playing games. Either you care for and respect me enough to take some responsibility for a relationship or you don't. Think about it.
I'm going to do some thinking too. Perhaps it's best to just plan on touching base sometime next week and seeing where we are.

He responded "Ok, call me sometime next week."

Last night, a friend of mine called. She had just gotten off the phone with him, he was allegedly sad, told her I had said I was going to take some time to think. He didn't understand, he'd thought things had been going so well, blah, blah, blah. It became clear to both of us as she reported on the conversation that his purpose in talking to her was to use her to communicate to me. (She had told him back in the beginning that she was my friend before his and he should expect that anything he said to her would get back to me.) She told him perhaps he should be having the conversation with me rather than her, and he said he wasn't calling me -- it was up to me to call him.

Now, I realize I said "let's touch base next week," but my feeling at this point is that I have no obligation to initiate any further communication with him. Really, kind of the whole point of the "either you care enough to take some responsibility or you don't" line. This I'm not calling you, you call me bit is clearly another little control game, and I'm not playing.

So the question. Under the particular circumstances, any reason I shouldn't just terminate the relationship sub silencio? I mean, I understand the point of a face to face, or at least express, break-up is that it provides that opportunity for closure. At this point, I don't think I owe him that. Will I regret not saying my final piece? Will telling him directly just put me in the position of getting into another toxic conversation?

Sorry to keep going on about this. I promise by next week I will have moved on completely!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:49 AM
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Don't call. If he calls, tell him to piss off.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:54 AM
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Di,
I know so little about the people involved and the history that this comes with a huge grain of salt and will probably be incredibly generic, maybe too generic to be useful, but here goes.

Most people who have had either good emotional teaching or therapy understand that we each are responsible for our own feelings. This guy doesn't get that, or at least forgets that at times. You see that, so is that a deal-breaker for you at this time?

Second, I don't like the framing of the question about what is owed at this point. Personally I think if you have explained yourself clearly and with no intention to hurt then you don't owe an apology and don't owe any more of an explanation.

Third, his statement of "call me" raises a tiny red flag. One technique in human interactions is to tell people what to do instead of giving them a choice. I intentionally use that technique here with some of the guys. It presumes that I am in command and may give orders. I think it may piss them off, but eventually they'll knuckle under. Or revolt. But that is besides the point. Back to you, is that the kind of guy you want to be with? There is no real right answer - the right answer is what do you want?

You don't owe anything, so what do you want? If you want more closure, seek it but you cannot demand it from him. The same goes in reverse.

Yeah, this is general I know but basically at this point I am focused on you and what you want. I think that is appropriate and think you should also be focused on yourself at this time.

Sorry I couldn't be more specific.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:03 AM
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Di,

Sorry to keep going on about this. I promise by next week I will have moved on completely!

You don't need to hush up. And my goodness I'm sure you know that you don't owe me (or us) anything! It is your life. You owe yourself, not us.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:05 AM
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703

This I'm not calling you, you call me bit is clearly another little control game, and I'm not playing.

Sounds like you are, actually.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:15 AM
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704

So what alternative is there that would qualify as "not playing"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:20 AM
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705

Show up at his house and fork-stab him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:24 AM
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706

Back on topic somewhat: It is a draining and depressing approach to life, where you constantly derive your worth via comparisons to other women around you.

Preach it sister. Late yesterday we again had it hammered into us by GlobalCorp that although we are all the cream of the crop and all do an excellent job that doesn't actually matter because we are all competing against each other for a few tiny carrots. Ah yes, the meritocracy rating system is now the ranking system.

About 10 years ago they drummed into us using silly little 'exercises' that we should all co-operate and stop assuming everything was a competition. Now we are back to competition.

Yes, it is draining and depressing but luckily I still have my bag of tricks from before and know all about sabotage, passive/aggressive, and forming cliques. Oh yeah, and shifting blame is a good one too.

I suppose this is better than the previous "you pretend to pay me and I'll pretend to work" situation brought on by wage stagnation but I'm sure the academic HR people have finally gotten this all figured out.

Yeah, sure.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:31 AM
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707

I intentionally use that technique here with some of the guys.

In prison?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:34 AM
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So what alternative is there that would qualify as "not playing"?

I'm pretty sure not playing would qualify as not playing, but I think maybe you were asking how you could get him to stop playing the game. Is that what you were asking?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:35 AM
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709

I second Apo's motion.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:35 AM
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710

luckily I still have my bag of tricks from before and know all about sabotage, passive/aggressive, and forming cliques. Oh yeah, and shifting blame is a good one too.

I never knew there were so many transferable skills between the business world and trolling.

No wonder ogged was practicing trolling the blog so frequently.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:36 AM
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711

NickS,

Ogged is a smart dude. He has my total respect. The more you learn about him the more you appreciate him.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:55 AM
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712

I'm pretty sure not playing would qualify as not playing, but I think maybe you were asking how you could get him to stop playing the game. Is that what you were asking?

I guess the best I can frame it is "How do I not get sucked into playing the game?" He's not going to stop playing it, clearly. And Apo was right in 703 -- once I've gotten sucked in to thinking about who calls whom first, the game is in play.

Maybe I should just send a singing telegram.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:59 AM
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713

Maybe I should just send a singing stabbing telegram.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:14 AM
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714

712. Excellent idea, Di


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:16 AM
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715

712: Knowledge is power.

And, as I've said before, don't worry, I only use my powers for good.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:19 AM
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716

More seriously, I think the way you avoid playing the game is to call him and say, "I don't want to play games. On further reflection, we're through."

Game over.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:20 AM
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716: I think this is right. I think I also don't completely trust myself to be able to follow through.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:24 AM
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716 is correct. I do not recommend not contacting him at all, because that is insane-making. Just say you're done, that you had a nice time with him, that you'd like to see other people, and that you wish him well. No reason to give reasons at this point; you already have, and doing so just gives him room to be annoying.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:26 AM
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719

I don't really mind being the girl at the bar, but I'm not trying to look all "Hey! I'm alone at the bar! Come talk to me!" and yet not being all "Hey! Don't fuckin' talk to me!" either.

Yeah, it's a tricky balance at rock shows. As a single guy into indie music, it's always been a lot easier for me because there are loads of other guys in the front rows who are basically like me, only with varying facial hair styles and t-shirts. This has allowed me to meet a lot of people at concerts pretty easily. Actually, pretty much every friend I've made in Chicago aside from a couple old high school buddies has been a person I've met at a concert.

If anything, it's a lot harder to talk to a girl at a concert, for the various reasons mentioned in Becks's post of a while ago. I tend to get lazy about trying to deal with the very understandable suspicion that I might have ulterior motives, so I'll just grab a couple drinks with a nice guy and get an easy conversation partner for the evening.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:34 AM
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720

This situation reminds me of when Bave and I overheard this guy talking to a girl on a date, telling her every shitty thing he could think of about her and how disappointed he was with the dating experience, and she kept trying to say, "Fine, you don't like me, let's break this off." Then he'd interrupt and say, "See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. You should be expressing your unreserved LOVE for me," and then she'd be caught on the defensive again, trying to be all, "No, I DO love you. I AM expressing it!" UGH.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:35 AM
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721

720: Wow. It would be very difficult for me not to say something in that situation.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:36 AM
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722

so I'll just grab a couple drinks with a nice guy and get an easy conversation partner for the evening.

As long as he's easy, I'm sure things work out very well for the two of you.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:38 AM
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723

It seemed to me that AWB was doing all that she could not to fork-stab the guy. I couldn't really hear their conversation, so I just listened to AWB's play-by-play.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:40 AM
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724

The other main line of argument he used was "You're not that great, so you should be grateful for my interest in you." She's "not that pretty," "ESL," "immature," "only a decent dresser," and he's a guy who can have anyone he wants, so she needs to realize how lucky she is. When she tried saying, "Listen, it's obvious you don't like me," he'd sigh, pat her hand, say, "Don't play games with me" and ask whose turn it was to buy drinks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:46 AM
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724: Yeah, sounds familiar.

Just tried to call. Got voicemail, followed by the following email, quoted here in full: "Yes?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 10:58 AM
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726

(That's right folks! I am officially live-blogging/commenting my effort to effectuate the full and permanent break-up! Stay tuned...)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:00 AM
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727

Dear Baby,

Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.

--Di


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:05 AM
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728

Reply by email: "Was calling to say I don't want to play games. On further reflection, we're through."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:07 AM
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729

Done!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:09 AM
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730

The hog farm is such an easy solution, but few are those who dare resort to it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:11 AM
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731

730 is objectively unamusing in vancouver.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:13 AM
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732

Di, did you go with 727 or 728?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:13 AM
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733

731 "un" should be "less" I suppose. There's always someone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:15 AM
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734

731: Emerson's been channelling Pickton for weeks now, you just noticed?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:16 AM
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735

734: I've only been reading sporadicly. I'm getting unreasonable amounts of actual work done.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:17 AM
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that and for boring personal reasons realize i may be overly earnest about that particular subject


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:19 AM
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737

I have just posted my first photo to the unfogged photo thingie, a picture of my wild garden made on a junk throwaway camera.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:20 AM
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738

As long as he's easy, I'm sure things work out very well for the two of you

Hipster guys. Indie concert. Aren't we all pretty easy?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:23 AM
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726: Yay, Di!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:24 AM
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738: Not IME. As you suggest though, hipster guys are good at talking casually with one another. But man, they're weird about girls.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:27 AM
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729: Yay, Di! Well done.

And for goodness sake, don't apologize for sharing your dating drama with us. You know we love it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:27 AM
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740: Well, yeah, that's why I said we're so easy for each other. Of course we can never pick up girls at a show. That's sooo South Carolina.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:33 AM
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743

737: Emerson, that's cool. What kind of junk throwaway camera?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:35 AM
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744

Remember, it's totally gay to be interested in girls.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:36 AM
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745

Of course we can never pick up girls at a show.

Fixed that for you. I've had reports though that hipster girls are occasionally successful at the picking up (surprise factor?).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:37 AM
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746

I don't know, I quite properly threw it away.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:42 AM
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747

745: IANAH, but I have managed to do surprise pick-ups of a few hipster boys and girls in my day. I was not in the mood last night and all the hipster boys were resolutely talking to one another and not making eye-contact besides.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:43 AM
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748

IANAH

This may be key.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:47 AM
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749

Yeah, if I had gone with "schlumpy dykey academic" in my sartorial choices last night, I mighta gotten laid.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:50 AM
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750

Yay, DI!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:54 AM
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751

IANAH

This may be key.

Bah. Hipsters go at it like rodents, same as all other hormonal youths. Can't say concerts are a major mingling ground though, that seems to happen more at certain bars and trashy loft parties.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 11:58 AM
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Di, did you go with 727 or 728?

I emailed back: "Call me."

He did. He said, "I didn't expect to hear from you this week."

I said, "Yeah, well. I think I did enough thinking already. It's time to move on."

He said, "I agree."

I said, "Good deal!" and hung up.

He called back 5 minutes later.

He said, "I know we're both pretty resolved and all, but I just wanted to say from my end that it's not because I'm mad or think you're a bad person or anything. I just think we probably have some compatibility issues."

I thought, "Yeah, like 'I'm not compatible with abusive psychos.'"

Out loud, I said, "That seems fair enough."

He said, "So, I don't know. Do you want to talk about how we interact from here?"

I said, "Sure."

Silence.

I said, "So what is your concern?"

He said, "Well, I don't really have any concerns... I... Just, if like you hate me and don't ever want to hear from me again or something, I want to know that."

I said, "I see no need to be antagonistic."

He said, "That's good. You know, I'm still here. You know, if you ever need help or something and want to call me."

I said, "Thanks! Well, have a good weekend."

And then I hung up the phone. And we all lived happily ever after.

Except him. He will live his life with regret eating away at the remnants of his soul as he slowly realizes what an awesome woman could have had. A woman medically certified as looking younger than her stated age!

You all are a most excellent support group. I have never felt this happy post breakup ever.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:14 PM
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753

Congrats, Di. You should reward yourself with a trip to the Portland meetup.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:17 PM
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754

Sounds like you handled it beautifully, Di.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:19 PM
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755

Woo! Way to go, Di.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:20 PM
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756

There's an actual Portland meetup on the horizon?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:21 PM
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757

Beautiful, Di. I am very glad it was amicable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:23 PM
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756: Yeah, plans aren't finalized, but probably August 16. Special guest: Ogged.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:24 PM
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759

He said, "That's good. You know, I'm still here. You know, if you ever need help or something and want to call me."

I said, "Thanks! Well, have a good weekend, and who knows someday I might need help opening a jar.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:28 PM
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758: Dude, if it's in August, you'll have to lure me with special guests who are not already blissfully coupled up.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:31 PM
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761

||
Holy crap, I can't stop watching the Watchmen trailer.
|>


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:32 PM
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760: I'll see what I can do. How much weight are you putting on "blissfully"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:36 PM
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763

All decoupling must be completed. Lingering anger from recent decoupling, however, is acceptable.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:38 PM
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752: Hurray again, Di! Shake off those chains! Awfully handy to get that stuff out of the way on the lunch break, too. Best of luck with the next one!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:39 PM
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Watchmen trailer is amazing!! Will it be even more amazing in full screen before Batman this afternoon? I say yes!

Also, live blogging break ups: both sympathy building and instructive.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:57 PM
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Awfully handy to get that stuff out of the way on the lunch break, too.

Yeah, worked out nicely. I was avoiding it because I didn't want to ruin my weekend -- but knowing it is out of the way is much, much better.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 12:57 PM
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Yeah, plans aren't finalized, but probably August 16. Special guest: Ogged.

Hey! That is the day I leave Alaska. hmmmm I need to look at how to get a detour to Portland.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:02 PM
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768

Yeah, worked out nicely.

Aside from the tragic lack of fork-stabbing. I was really looking forward to that liveblogging.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:03 PM
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769

I just looked at the Watchmen trailer, and I thought it sucked. I may be biased, though, in that I thought 300 was the stupidest movie ever made.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:04 PM
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770

I'll just comfort myself with this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:06 PM
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771

And I just read an interview with Snyder about Watchmen that confirmed to me that he is a stupid, stupid man. Alan Moore is going to be turning over in his grave. Moore sleeps in a grave every night, right? It sounds like something he would do.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:07 PM
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Di! You rock. That was perfect.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:08 PM
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773

apo, have you even Slums of Beverly Hills? The plot turns on two key fork-stabbings.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:09 PM
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774

I just looked at the Watchmen trailer, and I thought it sucked.

I could go on about this for a LONG TIME, but at the moment, I will constrain myself to saying that I agree.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:09 PM
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775

Alan Moore is going to be turning over in his grave.

Maybe if he didn't worship a Roman snake-god/hand puppet, he'd have better luck with his film adaptions. I bet people who worship the Elder Gods don't have this kind of problem.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:11 PM
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773: I have not. But with *two* fork-stabbings, I'm going to go put it at the top of the Netflix queue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:12 PM
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777

Di, that's excellent! Yay you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:13 PM
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778

How could you tell that it sucked?? I thought it looked awesome, but obviously it's the denseness of the prose and plot that makes Watchmen such a difficult movie to make. A trailer with more than snippets of scenes would be required to determine whether there is reason to think it will suck or not.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:14 PM
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My version of 771 is that Snyder is both too in love with and too dumb for the source material. Alan Moore wrote the definitive explanation of why superhero comics suck, and because he's a weird genius, it's also an awesome superhero movie. Snyder only sees the second part, and is trying to replicate it. But even then, it's too goddamned shiny; a proper Watchmen movie would look like a Don Siegel movie about how cities are grimy pits, and the trailer looks like a (better-directed and -financed) version of the Ben Affleck Daredevil.

OTOH, I'm totally stoked for Dark Knight.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:14 PM
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780

Worst part:

(a) Smashing Pumpkins;
(b) Nite Owl's transformation from affable sadsack playing dress up to THE BATMAN, only even glossier;
(c) Everyone's transformation into something other than a sadsack playing dress up; or
(d) Silk Spectre?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:16 PM
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781

That should be "an awesome superhero comic" in 779.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:16 PM
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OTOH, I'm totally stoked for Dark Knight.

You should be. Went to the 6 am showing at the local IMAX with my comic-nerd roomie/bff and his girlfriend. Awesome. Just very well done, in virtually every way. And The Joker was everything I'd been hoping for from the trailers.

Hurray for the Nolans!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:17 PM
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The Grey's Anatomy where Natalie Cole gets fork-stabbed in the back of the neck by her husband while giving him head under a restaurant table was hilarious. Even though it doesn't sound like it from *that* description.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:17 PM
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784

Yeah, if I had gone with "schlumpy dykey academic" in my sartorial choices last night, I mighta gotten laid.

At the concert, you mean?

At the concert I attended, there was this chick in a kicky black and white dress with a cute pillbox hat+short short veil and nice shoes, and the guy she was with was wearing this totally boring, nondescript, old t-shirt.

Come on! Make an effort, dude!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:18 PM
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785

Daredevil was a crime against comic book movies. Taking one of the most interesting superheroes and giving the role to Ben Affleck was just a mess. And Jennifer Garner as GREEK assassin? Argh!

If your saying that the problem with adapting Watchmen is that, like all other Alan Moore comics, it has a meta-commentary on comics, then I agree. I'm not quite sure that I would interpret that as "why superhero comics suck" though.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:18 PM
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786

in re 780c: I thought the costumes were ridiculously slick. These are supposed to be basically homemade, aren't they?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:19 PM
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787

I'm seeing Dark Knight this afternoon and I'm super excited!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:20 PM
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788

I'm seeing Dark Knight this afternoon and I'm super excited!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:20 PM
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789

774: Thank fucking God. I thought I was going to be the only person frowny-faced enough to think it sucked.

778: I meant that the trailer sucked. Though having just read an interview with Snyder where he talks about how cool the scene is where Dr. Manhattan blows up Vietnamese soldiers, I'm inclined to think the movie will suck too.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:20 PM
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790

So excited I posted twice!


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:21 PM
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791

I'm super-excited about the new Batman. Not even David Denby can dampen my desire.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:23 PM
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792

780: I didn't even realize it was Nite Owl until you said that right now.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:24 PM
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789.2: I hadn't heard that and it certainly does sound ominous.

Also, all the other Alan Moore movies have been so unbelievably bad that if this one is any good whatsoever that would be nice. Still, I'm trying to remain optimistic.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:24 PM
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794

These are supposed to be basically homemade, aren't they?

Yes. Grr.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:24 PM
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795

784: OMG, I saw so much of that last night. All the women at the concert were glamorous as hell, and draping themselves all over these guys with bad (not even ironic-bad) haircuts dressed like five-year-olds in unpleasantly oversized T-shirts, ugly shorts and dorky running shoes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:27 PM
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794: Fine, but Rorschach looked so cool. And a bit of updating for the costumes doesn't seem a big reason to get upset. I mean It's not like we were looking at the 1940s costumes. Nite Owl, Scarlet Spectre etc all have fairly fancy costumes and though altered in the movie I don't think it's egregious.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:27 PM
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797

795: And see here I've been trying to dress all nice and stuff. Maybe it's time to get a new wardrobe?


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:29 PM
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798

Maybe it's time to get a new wardrobe?

That depends on your definition of "all nice and stuff"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:30 PM
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799

797: That's right! No effort on the wardrobe, and be a total (but subtle) asshole. Guaranteed to work or your money back!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:31 PM
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800

If your saying that the problem with adapting Watchmen is that, like all other Alan Moore comics, it has a meta-commentary on comics, then I agree. I'm not quite sure that I would interpret that as "why superhero comics suck" though.

I think that the message underlying The Watchmen is all about the idea that the medium is juvenile, something that happens before maturity. He jabs at the cliches of the medium with the (brilliant) Bond villain cliche in the final confrontation and Moore's take on how the U.S. would use a real-life Superman; obviously he's aware of how ludicrous the plotting of an issue of X-Men or JLA is. But I think the constant association of hero/villaining with sexual perversity and the brilliant manipulation of the reader into sympathy with Rorschach is all about Moore finding something literally unhealthy about the idea of heroism, particularly in the (haw haw!) cartoonish form provided by comic books.

796 - Here I hope Rfts will grace use with an analysis that uses the word "florble".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:33 PM
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801

Well played, Di.

Be sure to erase his number from your cell phone memory and add his e-mail address to your spam filter.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:33 PM
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802

798: Well, jeans and shirts.

799: Yeah that probably isn't going to happen. I guess perpetual single status is my future.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:34 PM
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803

Come on! Make an effort, dude!

Strangely enough, at the Boris show this week, there were no women in kicky black and white dresses with pillbox hats. Maybe you need to listen to less classy music, jazzman.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:36 PM
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804

I especially keep the phone numbers of people I don't want to talk to, KR. Otherwise, it shows up as a random number and I answer it. But I'm not someone who drunk-dials, so having it in my phone isn't a danger.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:38 PM
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805

796 - Here I hope Rfts will grace use with an analysis that uses the word "florble".

Indeed, I will! To wit:

The appearance of Silk Spectre in the trailer is incredibly offputting. Let's take Alan Moore's contemptuous nod towards the comic book fan as hopeless adolescent masturbator, and really run with it!

"Hello, I am a dead-eyed boring mannequin, walking very slowly down these stairs as my hair florbles in the breeze." Dear viewer, would you like to see that AGAIN, with the boring and the hair and the slow motion? You would? Here you go.

It is a nice touch that not only does she look absurd, dull, and plastic, she also doesn't do anything at all in the trailer other than (a) florble and (b) kiss.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:40 PM
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806

OK, just watched the trailer. Nite Owl does look way too badass, but the clips of Dr. Manhattan are pretty awesome.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:41 PM
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807

Well, jeans and shirts.

This can work if you have the right shirt. Someone once gave me a silly (designer, ridiculously expensive if it hadn't fallen off the back of a truck) and very colorful shirt. Suprised me by never getting less that a couple dozen comments from women at shows/parties if I wore it. So maybe ben's onto something. Icebreaker anyway, and women introducing themselves would save you agonizing about saying `hi', if that's your thing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:43 PM
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803: True stuff. The girls at indie metal shows tend to have better tattoos, too.

784, 795: I have never managed to figure out what exactly attracts hipster girls, though I would quite like to (though I guess my most recent ex sort of counts). As far as I can tell, it might involve being in a band or being an artist of some sort... But I will agree that the couples at said shows are laughably mismatched in attractiveness surprisingly frequently.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:44 PM
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But I will agree that the couples at said shows are laughably mismatched in attractiveness surprisingly frequently.

It's a little hard to think of social groups based in/around music that aren't like this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:47 PM
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807: Nice shirt. Wanna fuck?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:48 PM
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A mustache seems to work these days. I have a good buddy with a hideous handlebar who just about gets molested every time he goes out. Women like unnerving things, I think.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:49 PM
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I am entirely ready to agree that Dr. Manhattan looks cool.

On top of everything else, and possibly a flaw of the trailer and not the movie (though I doubt it), the preview is just so fucking swoony. What is this, Underworld?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:50 PM
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804: Oh, smart! I think I'd recognize the number anyway, but it probably won't take long to forget. He works at my firm though, so if he really wanted to hunt me down to (s)talk, it's pretty easy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:51 PM
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811: I'll be it's the "Free Mustache Rides" T-Shirt that does it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:52 PM
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810: I've actually heard those exact words, only half ironically.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:52 PM
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816

I could go on about this for a LONG TIME, but at the moment, I will constrain myself to saying that I agree.

Boy, that moment didn't last long, did it?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:52 PM
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817

Women like unnerving things, I think.

That's right, just get them off balance a bit and they're putty in your hands.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:53 PM
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818

He works at my firm

Oh, that's best avoided anyhow. Shitting where you eat and all that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:53 PM
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819

815: Well, it wasn't me. I don't even have your phone number.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:54 PM
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803: I'm probably going to the Boris show when they come here, and I'll let you know. I don't recall anyone at the last Boris show dressed up, unless you count Naomi of Damon & Naomi.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:54 PM
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821

I don't even have your phone number.

Liar.

but no, it wasn't you.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:55 PM
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822

Hey! Underworld was awesome! In the way that only a Kate Beckinsale as leather clad hot vampire lady can be. (See also: Underworld 2 and(!) Van Helsing)

I wear nice shirts: from H&M or Calvin Klein. Nice, kinda hipstery. Maybe I'm trying to hard. It may be hard to cover up the total nerd with hipster clothing.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:55 PM
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Hey! Underworld was awesome!

But it is really, really not Watchmen.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:57 PM
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811: So funny. My friend is now seeing this guy who I had decided I wasn't interested in and was totally put off when he returned from a trip with a moustache. I forgot to ask if she convinced him to shave it, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:57 PM
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825

I wear nice shirts: from H&M or Calvin Klein

erm, not like that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 1:58 PM
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824: I suspect it really isn't hard to convince anyone who is interested in you to remove/modify facial hair. "Oh, it's ok i guess. But I'm not going to kiss you anymore"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:00 PM
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824: She was turned on by the mustache or by him talking about how crazy he is about you?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:00 PM
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828

In case anyone things I'm insane, I'm not suggesting you can buy a designer shirt or whatever and solve your dating woes.

I was just noticing that I had ended up being in rooms like Ben described, with a bunch of sloppily dressed guys and dressed up girls who obviously noticed that I wasn't dressed like the others, is all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:03 PM
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826: My friend's dilemma is that all the things that make women talk to him (his Daisy Dukes, the mustache, etc.) and want to sleep with him are the same things they beg him to change when they start dating. He will not compromise, and I don't think he should. But it goes to show you that the things that are initially attractive about appearance are not necessarily things people want in partners, and I think that holds for both genders.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:03 PM
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I was a little disappointed with Nite Owl, as I think it's important that he's washed up and a little tubby, since that's pretty much his entire character. Maybe they'll get in his sad-sackiness in other ways.

But I just liked the looks of it, especially Dr. Manhattan. (I like the direction they took with the costumes, summed up in X-men as 'What? You'd prefer yellow tights?' Though Veidt should be noticeably snazzier than the rest.)

I'm not holding out much hope that it will turn out to be brilliantly plotted, but the thing is, Watchmen really isn't all that brilliantly plotted to begin with. So the question is how they interpret any of the meta-considerations.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:04 PM
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831

and I think that holds for both genders.

is exactly right.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:05 PM
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832

I'll be it's the "Free Mustache Rides" T-Shirt that does it.

Heh. The bassist for We Are Scientists (who would be a better comedy troupe than band, unfortunately) had a large custom-made pin that he wore saying:

Mustache Rides!
Women: $1
Men: $2
Keith: $5
(Keith is the singer/guitarist)

His only story of its "success" was one time at the airport when a grandmotherly old woman came up to him and saw the pin and quavered "Mustache rides? Young man, what's a mustache ride?".

But it might work better on someone who looks less like a young Weird Al Yankovic.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:06 PM
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No, no. He didn't have the mustache when she was turned on by him. Before pursuing anything, she wanted to clarify exactly what his and my positions were vis a vis one another. She called to tell me he was "crazy about" me, I said, "Oh no! How do I discourage that gently?" She obviously found a solution I hadn't thought of. A true friend, that one!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:07 PM
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833: she took a bullet for you, Di.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:08 PM
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835

I was just this morning thinking of shaving my beard and leaving the mustache for the weekend. Laydeez?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:09 PM
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836

835: OMG I wanna see this SO BAD and your brother will be totally impressed by how awesome you are.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:11 PM
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823: True, and what made Underworld so awesome was its absolute stupidity. The biggest worry here seems to be that Watchmen could end up like Underworld (a big worry). The other worry is that it could try to actually Say Something and end up being a giant pile of pretentious crap.

I think part of me aversion to sloppy dressing is that is how I spent much of high school (admittedly a while ago) and it didn't work to well back then. So I've come to associate dressing nicely (as in not sloppily) with, you know, growing up.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:12 PM
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834: I cannot think of any possible positive connoctation for the euphemism "bullet".

835: Do it!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:13 PM
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833: What would be totally morissette is if you were now suddenly turned on by the mustachioed version of him.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:15 PM
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840

What I don't understand about the male aversion to trying to dress well is that I've always found my effort a function of my self-absorption. Men love being self-absorbed; why not in this way?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:17 PM
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So I've come to associate dressing nicely (as in not sloppily) with, you know, growing up.

In thinking about this you must be careful about the conformity aspects of this. `adolescent' vs. `grown up' isn't the only thing going on there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:18 PM
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842

Jammies has been sporting a mustache for the past month or so. It's quite fetching.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:19 PM
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843

840: part of it is that trying to dress well is a loaded concept.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:20 PM
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840: Partially, I think it's fear of seeming gay to other guys. A poorly-dressed guy seem to come across as a "man's man," in a way that both men and women seem to tolerate better than a sharp guy. Plus, there's laziness, and the super-self-absorption of "People should look at me for who I am, not how I'm dressed."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:21 PM
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845

all the things that make women talk to him (his Daisy Dukes, the mustache, etc.)

Your friend is Lieutenant Dangle?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:22 PM
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846

840: Fear of teh gay!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:23 PM
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847

A certain type of sharp-dressed man can be pretty manly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:23 PM
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848

844 is sort of what I was going to say -- making the effort to dress well says to others "You are important enough for me to make an effort to dress well for." I say this, mind you, as someone who dresses pretty poorly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:23 PM
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849

844 is sort of what I was going to say -- making the effort to dress well says to others "You are important enough for me to make an effort to dress well for.

It also says to others "I am important enough that you should notice me".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:25 PM
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849. True dat. There's a careful balance, somewhere in the middle, that says, I care about my appearance but am not all stuck on myself.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:26 PM
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I've dated a lot of sloppy dressers, btw, and all of them were knee-knockingly cute when they occasionally, like, wore clothes in their own size. Most of the bad dressing I've seen is just wearing ill-fitting clothes, especially oversized stuff. I don't take offense at it, but it does feel a little weird when you show up to a special date on the town dressed to the nines (because you want to make your dude feel special) and he shows up in an XL T-shirt that says "MONTAUK" and roomy khakis.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:26 PM
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847: And some gay men are pretty manly.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:27 PM
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853

Hm. Most women—not sure about men—do assume I'm gay, so maybe all these dudes aren't wrong.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:28 PM
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841: Agreed, the signaling issues in "dressing up" or "dressing down" can be absolutely crazy. I work at a place without a dress code despite it being very professional and in an industry where most people wear suits (they warn us if clients are coming in, so we can dress minimally nicely on those days). Given that, my getting to dress in a slim t-shirt and jeans is kind of a status counter-signaling, being all "haha, I'm young and able to dress like this even though I'm ostensibly a professional!". Plus, oh man are these clothes more comfortable.

Even getting away from all signaling though, good dress clothes are really damn expensive compared to similarly flattering jeans and t-shirts. Especially if you can't wear anything off-the-rack except some pants.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:28 PM
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845: ZOMG, totally, except add lots of tattoos and longish greasy hair.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:28 PM
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856

What I don't understand about the male aversion to trying to dress well is that I've always found my effort a function of my self-absorption. Men love being self-absorbed; why not in this way?

It is too much of a risk. If I wear clothing chosen at random, I don't have to defend my choices. Also, clothing that is striking and/or fitted is far more expensive.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:31 PM
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846: fear of teh gay might explain certain constraints ... but it really is only part of it.

I guess I feel that while women (in contemporary US culture, varies by region, generalization suck blah blah) care more about dress they also have more freedom to play with it, because the signaling is allowed to be more ambigous. For men, there are a lot of ways to dress that are interpreted pretty narrowly. These two things may feed back (as does the availability of options)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:31 PM
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Because clothes and especially shoes are BORING unless they're a meaningful gift or memento. Books, food, nice tools, those I can show some enthusiasm for. I recognize that it's a defect to look like a schlub, so I'll spend a little time trying to pick nice fabrics and competent tailoring, but having done that, I still put on the first thing that comes to hand in the drawer or closet. If I dressed for myself, I'd be going in for really vivid African fabrics or durable comfort.

Probably a confession to juvenile tastes-- when I think that something looks sharp, clothes or car, it's a pretty clear carryover from crude aspirations from when I was much younger. I've tried to change, but just can't put much heart into it. How many of you snappy dressers have shelled out for custom brands, paint or rims for your rides out of curiosity?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:32 PM
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859

This Rex Reed review of The Dark Knight is delightfully insane.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:34 PM
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856: I think most of us set the bar pretty low. I'm definitely delighted with T-shirts and jeans on a guy, but at least buy your own size. (A 5'10" 160-pound guy, for instance, does not need XL shirts.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:35 PM
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(A 5'10" 160-pound guy, for instance, does not need XL shirts.)

Racist.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:37 PM
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860: Actually, a well-fitted t-shirt and jeans strikes precisely that balance of "I made an effort but am not obsessed with my looks." I suspect this works for both genders.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:39 PM
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860: hell, a 5"10 160lb guy probably doesn't even need M shirts.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:39 PM
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You can get a "well-fitted t-shirt"? I thought they just came in S,M,L,XL,XXL,XXXL,XXXXL, and XXXXXL.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:40 PM
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865

A 5'10" 160lb guy doesn't need a shirt at all.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:40 PM
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866

862: Unless you're going to the opera with B.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:40 PM
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867

865: You are horny these days, aren't you? Naughty.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:42 PM
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868

a well-fitted t-shirt and jeans strikes precisely that balance of "I made an effort but am not obsessed with my looks."

This works less well if you know the jeans were probably $375, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:42 PM
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869

I'm bemused at the handful of t-shirts I've kept for sentimental value from my college days. L? XL? I weighed 125 pounds, for Christ's sake. I blame Pearl Jam.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:43 PM
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870

867: You'll hit your mid-30s someday too...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:44 PM
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871

If I dressed for myself, I'd be going in for really vivid African fabrics

Holy crap, it would be amazing if dashikis weren't imbued with so much racial and political import in the west. I'd wear them virtually every summer day it gets over 80 degrees.

861: If only you knew the streets, Ben. The enormous white t-shirt fashion would probably involve a XXXL at the smallest for a 5'10" 160 lb guy such as myself. It's supposed to reach down to mid-thigh at the shortest (which is why they should also be special shirts that are cut long).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:45 PM
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856: This is true. I don't think that my dressing will would equate with others dressing well. For example jeans, tshirt, hoodie are my summer clothing of choice. At least it's all clean and it fits.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:45 PM
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869: You can unintentionally end up with a collection of those if you're the sort of person who isn't the first to show up at the sorts of events they hand out t-shirts (volunteer/whatever) for. They always seem to order 10 S, 15 M, 25 L, and 400 XL.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:46 PM
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874

871.2 was written before I saw 865... Laydeez.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:46 PM
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875

It makes one look really tough to create the impression, from afar, that one is a tiny child dressed in daddy's clothes. (And white dorky guys totally do this, too.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:47 PM
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876

clothes and especially shoes are BORING

Word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:48 PM
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877

871.2 was written before I saw 865... Laydeez.

Too late, you blew it with the visual of the XXXL shirt.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:48 PM
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878

I think it's only partially a fear of the gay, if at all, because it comes up in contexts where 'is he gay?' doesn't seem to be on anyone's mind. (Plus, the trend in guy grooming seems to be increasing lately. We're not getting that much better about gay.)

I think it's partially a fear of looking frivolous (Real Men are Too Busy Doing Important Things To Care), and partially that a lot of guys just have flat-out no clue what to do. (Or they know what to do if a suit is called for, or if it's okay to schlubb, but hitting anything in between is hard.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:51 PM
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877: Damn! But you see, I always wear size small! Because I don't so much share my body with the world as inflict it upon the world.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:54 PM
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880

(Or they know what to do if a suit is called for, or if it's okay to schlubb, but hitting anything in between is hard.)
Have we met?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:54 PM
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881

878: Frivolous, or maybe "overeager"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:55 PM
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882

881: Ornamental, maybe.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 2:57 PM
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883

I think any hopes that the Watchmen will handle the meta-considerations well will be dashed by this except from an interview with Zach Snyder, the director. (There are spoilers, I suppose.)

MTV: When we interviewed you for "300," you said the "Watchmen" moment you were most eager to film was Manhattan's deployment to Vietnam, when he becomes enormous and slaughters the enemy on behalf of the U.S. Now, we can finally see a bit of it!

Snyder: Yeah that's super fun, and it gets better and better. I've got to be honest: The version we're able to show in the trailer is cool, but it's the version that's been approved for all audiences. The R-rated version, when he blows those guys up, it's a little rougher.

MTV: That's how he kills people?

Snyder: In the movie, their guts explode -- it's a little rougher.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:01 PM
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884

You are horny these days, aren't you? Naughty.

Down, girl.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:02 PM
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885

Wow, Walt, you pwnd yourself.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:03 PM
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881/882: I don't think it's that so much as the opportunities for negative feedback are huge and the gains are perceived to be pretty small, so why bother.

A lot of male fashion seems to be more a declaration of allegiance, more so than it does for women (e.g. I can't shop there, only assholes shop there).

Suits avoid this somewhat, but are pretty inept for a lot of not-work contexts, and also have the problem of piling up at the "i'm a schlub under this cheap middle manager special" or "i'm a dickhead in finance" ends, with a sparsely populated minefield in between.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:07 PM
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887

See I like clothes. I even like the idea of being reasonably fashionable (though I am poor so obviously not too fashionable). I've just never been entirely sure that I understand how.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:11 PM
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888

snarkout, that review is unbelievably awful. It seems to miss the basic premises of fiction, let alone superhero movies. Next, I expect a serious critique of Star Trek painstakingly explaining how the transporter couldn't work.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:16 PM
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889

885: I'm the only one man enough to pwn me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:18 PM
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890

the opportunities for negative feedback are huge

Interesting. Do people really spend that much time telling guys they dress funny?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:19 PM
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891

Do people women really spend that much time telling guys others they dress funny?

Not all women, of course, but half of the long shoe conversation is what's wrong with these or those, and it's pretty much never uncomfortable or impractical.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:27 PM
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892

Do people really spend that much time telling guys they dress funny?

Varies a lot by social group, but yes. More as violation of in-group signaling than anything particular about fashion. I don't mean they spend much time talking about it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:29 PM
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Actually, not just women. My freshman dorm roommate and his frat-boy buddies would have lengthy discussions about which clothes were appropriate for the mixer.

Mostly Rockports for me these days.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:30 PM
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894

My freshman dorm roommate and his frat-boy buddies would have lengthy discussions

Ok, so sometimes they spend a lot of time, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:33 PM
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895

snarkout, that review is unbelievably awful. It seems to miss the basic premises of fiction, let alone superhero movies. Next, I expect a serious critique of Star Trek painstakingly explaining how the transporter couldn't work.

Wow, seriously. Also, it appears that Rex Reed does not know the meaning of the word "morph".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:56 PM
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896

Re: the clothes, but, okay, this doesn't happen if you wear schlubby stuff that doesn't fit?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:57 PM
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897

I do get that if your group of friends is all schlubby, if you start dressing snappy, they are going to give you shit. So, actually, I suppose there's nothing much here that I'm missing. (Thanks for participating in our conversation, rfts! You added a lot!)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 3:59 PM
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898

Re: the clothes, but, okay, this doesn't happen if you wear schlubby stuff that doesn't fit?

No. In that situation you're not wearing anything that can be commented on either positively or negatively. Although it does get factored in when women are making negative generalizations about men as a whole.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 4:09 PM
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899

I took this afternoon off and saw Dark Knight and yeah.

Yeah.

Had to put some fires out because of the 3 hours away but nothing too bad and it was totally worth it.

See it! Wow.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 4:11 PM
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900

I've started to think I should dress better, but

1. I have anxiety that I will do it wrong. I'm more comfortable looking like I don't give a damn than looking like I care but failing in the execution. I don't like the idea of people looking at me and saying to themselves, "Ooh, Otto thinks he's well dressed but boy is he not," and I'm not confident enough in my fashion sense to think that this won't be the reaction of onlookers.
2. Money money money. Swiss Girl in Lab, who likes to comment on people's clothes, countered this objection by saying that I just needed to go to the sale racks and find great deals. I responded that I didn't think I had the patience to go hunting for the diamonds in the rough.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 4:37 PM
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901

Well, I guess the best thing about the mustache is it distracts from the rest of my face.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:05 PM
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902

You did it?? I'm pumped.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:07 PM
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903

Cross-posting this from another thread in honor of Bave's new 'stache:

On the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday, I offer you this rendition of "Free Nelson Mandela," complete with sort of b-boy plus Riverdance dancing and an awesome mustache about 2 minutes in.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:56 PM
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904

Kind of an underwhelming rendition.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 5:59 PM
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905

But the dancing! And the 'stache!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:02 PM
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906

Yeah, but there's no link, see.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:03 PM
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907

Sir Kraab is such a tease.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:07 PM
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908

Sorry.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:14 PM
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909

I'm more comfortable looking like I don't give a damn than looking like I care but failing in the execution.

I totally relate. The added benefit to this approach is that on those occasions that you do make the effort and pull it off, it makes twice the impression


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:15 PM
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910

Huh, I wonder what I was trying to link to in 674. That wasn't it...

Chances are Watchmen will suck almost as hard as 300 did; if Moore was pissed off by V for Vendetta, that's nothing. I'm curious to see whether it will benefit from Moivegoer's Stockholm Syndrome the way 300 did. Time will tell.

The Dark Knight is good shit, for sure. Probably the high point of the Nolan movies; it's going to be as hard for him to follow Ledger's Joker as it was for Tim Burton to follow Nicholson's.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 6:53 PM
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What's Moviegoer's Stockholm Syndrome? (I'm wondering if I was suffering for it. I saw 300, and it took me a full 24 hours to realize that not only was it bad, it was the stupidest movie ever made.)

I thought V for Vendetta was a good movie, though I've never read the original source material. The speech V gives after he takes over the TV station is the truest speech given by any movie character ever.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 7:52 PM
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912

I had a lot of problems with V for Vendetta, but my biggest one was the mask: In the book, on the page, the frozen smile of the mask was haunting. On the screen it's as if Natalie Portman has to act alongside King Friday from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 7:58 PM
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911.1: Wherein one's critical faculties are held hostage by an obviously bad movie that one doesn't want to admit was a waste of time and money. A lot of the "praise" for 300 boils down to "well, at least it looks pretty cool," which I usually take to be an indicator of the Syndrome.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:37 PM
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914

my rankings of computer-generated live action movies:

1. Beowulf -- silly but exciting, interesting story though largely unrelated to the legend
(large gap)
2. Sin City -- visually amazing, amoral, exciting
3. (tie) Wanted -- morally abhorrent, made no sense
3. (tie) 300 -- morally abhorrent, made no sense


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:49 PM
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915

Wait, the large gap should be between 2 and 3, not 1 and 2.

Curses!@


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:51 PM
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916

Wanted sure did suck, all right.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 8:52 PM
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917

Wanted couldn't have been any worse than its source comic which I think is the probably most morally abhorent comic of all time.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:30 PM
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918

I want to believe you that Wanted sucks, but how could it? Did you ever see and like Hard-Boiled (for example)?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:35 PM
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919

There's a comic? Are all movies based on comics now? Was Kit Kittredge: An American Girl based on a comic?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 9:37 PM
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920

Okay, bags under my eyes and all, my 'stache is in the Flickr pool.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:32 AM
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921

It's totally cute. I think you should keep it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:35 AM
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922

Something-something, miniature longshoreman, endorsement by me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:43 AM
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923

I reassert my support of the mustache arts.

Also, as it is top on everyone's mind, even though kindness prevents them from asking madly and desperately as they wish: Yes, Public Enemy are still fucking amazing live, especially when they're restricted to their old stuff (after the encore tracks "Welcome to the Terrordome" and "911 Is a Joke", it slowed down a lot with the new stuff). And also, The (original) Bomb Squad has apparently decided to start producing dubstep, and they're also downright incredible at it, and they open the first 15-20 minutes of the set with a great live mix of their stuff.

I'm gonna lie down and die now after this week, in preparation for tomorrow's continued festivities.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 1:45 AM
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924

Nice mustache, somewhat demented facial expression.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:02 AM
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925

Did you ever see and like Hard-Boiled (for example)?

Yep.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:10 AM
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926

I saw the movie V for Vendetta before I read the book, and as a result I liked the movie. Once I read the book, I stopped liking the movie.

Is the speech V at the TV station in the movie the same as in the book? In the book he broadcasts a video denouncing all leaders throughout history, and then the rest of humanity for following them.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:16 AM
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I'm still holding out hope for the movie of Watchmen. I'm not sure why. I didn't see 300, but its possible the morally abhorrent part came from that fascist twerp Frank Miller, and Snyder only blunted it. If so, maybe he will share the outlook of Watchmen, and let through some of the political nuance.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:21 AM
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927: I don't see how Snyder blunted any of the fascist tendencies of 300, but who knows, maybe he'll surprise me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:40 AM
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929

Wanted couldn't have been any worse than its source comic which I think is the probably most morally abhorent comic of all time.

You say this now, but wait until you see Chris Nolan's Boiled Angel in 2009.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:42 AM
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The problem with Wanted is definitely not that lots of people get killt. The problem, alas, is that it is aggressively stupid and unsatisfying.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:47 AM
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Re: Wanted

Interior, day. A writer and a producer are discussing movies they wish they would have made

Producer: And dude, did you see Fight Club?
Writer: Dude! I know, that was so sick, right?
Producer: Why don't we make, like, Fight Club 2, only, like, don't call it that and find some other book to base it off of.
Writer: Oh yeah, bro, but, like, what about all that gay stuff in Fight Club, we don't want that in our movie, right?
Producer: Umm, wait, Fight Club was gay?
Writer: Uh, yeah dude, what you thought it was just a coincidence the way the camera lovingly caressed every inch of Brad Pitt's exquisitely sculpted torso, and like, where he's implying to the Mafia guy that he might have AIDS and shit? Totally gay.
Producer: Wow. I never thought of that. Yeah, like no gay stuff then. Hey, like, we can just get some really smokin' hot chick and like, banish all the gay parts.
Writer: Bro, we are so going to kick ass with this movie!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:10 AM
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Sin City -- visually amazing, amoral, exciting

I thought "Sin City" was rather brilliant, actually. I think there was a theme there about indestructibility and amorality, about the movie as video game -- the level of physical punishment the characters take is completely incompatible with the belief they are actually human beings, yet at the same time everything is drenched in cliche noir emotionalism. It was a clever movie.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:20 AM
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933

I also love intense discussions about movies right afterwards. It's hard to find people who enjoy that.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:22 AM
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I also love intense discussions about movies right afterwards. It's hard to find people who enjoy that.

Dude, for 90% of movies that's the best part.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:57 AM
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I'd love to see a movie with you and Redfox sometime. I bet it would be a challenge to get a word in edgewise during the post-movie discussion.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:02 AM
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The film I'm anticipating most eagerly is "Generation Kill" -- don't have cable, so I have to wait until it comes out on DVD. The book was great, the "Wire" people are doing it, I think there's a good chance it will be the greatest war movie of all time.

The TV miniseries is ruining movies for me. After Sopranos, the Wire, Mad Men, a two hour movie just seems absurdly short. How can you really develop a character in two hours?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:04 AM
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937

I don't see how Snyder blunted any of the fascist tendencies of 300....

It's always possible to be more fascist, if you just try.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:10 AM
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In the last couple of days I belatedly came up with 2 examples that I think fit some version of rtfs's "twist" bleg. Arlington Road somewhat annoyingly and grimly, and in a more goofy fashion, The 'burbs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:33 AM
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939

Hey, PGD. I stopped by the library yesterday and I am loving Soon I Will be Invincible. Thanks for the rec.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:42 AM
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926:I watched episode 1, and Generation Kill is indeed awesome. The book author was a full consultant, and one of the marines plays himself, so bullshit was almost impossible.

The reviewers are amazed. The one funny note I got from a reviewer who had been embedded herself is that in the HBO series none of the actors smoke, and all the marines smoked liked chimneys.

But, yes, "greatest war movie ever" is being spoken.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:50 AM
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Actually, having OnDemand and full pay-cable, I have watched episode 1 of Generation Kill at least three times.

David Simon tried something new. GK is very very dense and subtle, with 10+ major characters talking very fast in language deep in profanity, slang, jargon, aggression and mock aggression, and subtle interpersonal interactions among people who have known each other for years. Simon cuts his audience zero slack, and you will not understand most of what is going on.

It may require ten viewings an episode, with much secondary material, to get it down.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:59 AM
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942

Oh hey. Thanks, Stormcrow!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:53 AM
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943

I would be very proud if this turns into my very first 1000-comment thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:55 AM
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944

I would be very proud if this turns into my very first 1000-comment thread.

That was the day the stupid thread knew that something had changed. The stupid thread finished her High Life and stubbed out her cigarette and went back inside to listen to Metallica until she fell asleep.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:01 PM
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945

Sadly, the stupid thread's favorite album was The Black Album.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:04 PM
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946

Have any of the other new commenters gotten a 1000-comment thread?

Has W-lfs-n ever gotten one?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:06 PM
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947

946: You know, rob, it's not a competition. Sheesh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:07 PM
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948

943:Well, if the topic has disintegrated, following some recomendations above, I have found a large Cioran site.

For me Cioran is somehow the best medicine against depression. After a few pages Cioran I always feel mentally invigorated. Reading Cioran not only confirms that the world is a meaningless place full of evil - and it is very nice when this is being acknowledged...Kees Bakhuyzen

That name (KB) feels familar. A couple Cioran quotes.

'To possess a high degree of consciousness, to be always aware of yourself in relation to the world, to live in the permanent tension of knowledge, means to be lost for life. Knowledge is the plague of life, and consciousness, an open wound in its heart.'

Cioran in an interview with Swiss journalist Jean-François Duval:

'From the moment you have accepted existence, you have to accept prostitution.'

I am always available to take up space, like a fallen tree or middenheap.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:18 PM
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497: It is if someone starts keeping score.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:20 PM
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950

466. Using Surreal numbers would be cool.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:22 PM
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951

I can't remember who all I visited during the long 70s. But Cioran's aphoristic style, although of course sunstantively mis-everything, contains some wit & humour, and could make my comments shorter and less tedious.

"the hatred that one reads in the eyes of young girls whom no one has asked for a dance terrifies me more than does an operating room" ...I remember threads where that could fit

marriage "a spasm blessed by the mayor and the priest"

"Any philosophy that sets out with the intention of finding reasons for hope is, by that very fact, forever disqualified"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:27 PM
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Think of the hits Unfogged could get. I mean, there may yet be some Iron Guard admirers as there remain Mosley folowers, but the intellectual nihilists would be a great addition.

"Mankind has regressed so much," writes Cioran, and "nothing proves it better than the impossibility to encounter a single nation or a tribe in which a birth of a child causes mourning and lamentation."

"I cannot excuse myself for being born. It is as if, when insinuating myself in this world, I profaned some mystery, betrayed some very important engagement, made a mistake of indescribable gravity"

"Regardless of what the world will look like in the future, Westerners will assume the role of the Graeculi of the Roman empire. Needed and despised by new conquerors, they will not have anything to offer except the jugglery of their intelligence, or the glitter of their past."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:39 PM
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My inclination is to say "Come off it, Cioran". It's like a comedy schtick. I guess I'm just a Pollyanna.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:41 PM
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954

Has W-lfs-n ever gotten one?

No, I've never gotten any.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:48 PM
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955
Despite gathering storms Cioran is comforted by the notion that he at least is the last heir to the vanishing "end of history." Tomorrow, when the real apocalypse begins, and as the dangers of titanic proportions take final shape on the horizon, then, even the word "regret" will disappear from our vocabulary. "My vision of the future," continues Cioran is so clear, "that if I had children I would strangle them immediately."[19]

953:"After a good reading of Cioran's opus one must conclude that Cioran is essentially a satirist who ridicules the stupid existential shiver of modern masses."

I guess I should give credit and a link. Much of the above was by Tomislav Sunic, "Emile Cioran & the Culture of Death" at www.cioran.eu

Why So Serious?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:51 PM
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I thought you were our token intellectual nihilist, bob.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 12:53 PM
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957

OOT: I have been, for reasons I can't remember, trying to recall the name of a Romanian Grandmaster and Tomislav Sunic did it for me. Mihai Suba, minus some squiggles.

Early in a game after opposite-side castling and fianchettoes, Suba with black marched the far side pawn(h, a?) down and sacrificed his queen+pawn for bishop+ three pawns! IIRC. 50 stupid moves later, Suba won this very ugly game.

It was the model for my "crazy man fakeout there must be a method behind the madness" chess style that got me into the 1900s.

Told ya I could fill space.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 1:09 PM
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958

Would it be cheating if the thread makes it to 1000 comments thanks to postings from commenters with artificial aids?


Posted by: Oscar Pistorius | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 1:16 PM
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959

The Dark Knight is good shit, for sure. Probably the high point of the Nolan movies; it's going to be as hard for him to follow Ledger's Joker as it was for Tim Burton to follow Nicholson's.

Having slept on this I am going to nit-pick one point of the excellent film. This may be a little spoiler, so don't read it if you haven't seen the movie. It is not about a plot point but a character portrayal.
.
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.
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Heath Ledger's Joker is brilliant, really brilliant. One tiny thing I question is the choice of the tongue-flick. I know to build a character it helps to have a characteristic gesture and Ledger does it very naturally but to me the association of the Joker with a snake with chaos vis a vis the Garden of Eden was maybe a little too much of an obvious choice.

OK, I've said it. I admit I'm a nothing compared to Ledger and this film is brilliant and it deserves all the accolades it gets and I plan to watch it a second time in the theatre which for me is great praise. complement it.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 1:22 PM
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956:I don't believe I am a nihilist.

959:Can't get into the flickr and can't figure out the mouseover text. I feel like a noob or pariah or sumpin.

Having just watched Ledger in Candy and seen bits of his Ned Kelly portrayal I am having a little trouble imagining him as a strong assertive confidant character. Always seemed damaged and vulnerable to me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 1:57 PM
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Tripp's something of an actor?

There are important exceptions, but wouldn't really be an artform if an actor could play every plausible part equally well. Walt Whitman couldn't write sonnets because it didn't suit him to write sonnets, and that is part of what makes Whitman great, that he couldn't write sonnets. I look for what is unique about an artist, what differentiates actors over the course of their careers.

Just as I still regret the deaths of James Dean and River Phoenix, I think Ledger was just coming into his prime, just learning to appreciate the art & craft.

Horrible tragedy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:24 PM
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962

I don't believe I am a nihilist.

I emend: "I don't believe. I am a nihilist."


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:26 PM
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963

I don't believe I am.– A Nihilist


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:40 PM
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964

the disgustingest cartoon to watch on the hot and humid summer day
bukashki


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:41 PM
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965

forgot to add, for Bob
to cheer up nihilistic moods


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:43 PM
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966

I would be very proud if this turns into my very first 1000-comment thread.

Gender issues + neurosis. It was almost a sure thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:57 PM
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967

+ movies!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 2:59 PM
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968

962, 963:The irony and humour were intended.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:01 PM
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969

967: Maybe someone should explore the neurotic issues of gender in the movies? Or neurotically address the gendered nature of movies? Or reflect on how movies have impacted their neuroses about gender?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:04 PM
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970

968: The irony and humour were intended.

Hey, I was ironing with you, not at you. (But I can't speak for Ben since I lack the requisite vocabulary.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:34 PM
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971

969: I know! Let's make a movie that explores the gender of neurotics.


Posted by: Mickey Rooney | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:37 PM
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972

965: Nihilists do not need your cheerfulness, read.
I do not believe: I AM. -- A nihilist.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:57 PM
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973

971: There are eight million naked in the storied city.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 3:58 PM
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974

This thread is scrolling scrollig with only an inch to go into it moves into my desktop.

I can't go on. I must go on.

Ilya Efimovich Repin and Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida have my attention now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:47 PM
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975

Read, what was the plot of the bug animation? I vaguely got the idea.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 5:59 PM
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976

973: I want to live in a city full of naked people! It would have to be someplace warm, though. That and the public works department would have to be very diligent about cleaning up broken glass off the sidewalks.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:03 PM
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977

Going to concerts (and even more, movies) alone is really underrated.

I totally do this all the time.

Fandango is the solitary moviegoers friend. I usually get there during the trailers.

For concerts, I usually call the venue to find out the time that the headliner goes on. Most places are pretty accurate within about 10-20 minutes or so.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:05 PM
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978

oh, you watched it, JE, nice
i never get any response to my postings, thought, really, nobody watches it
so it's just a funny cartoon, i like the childish drawing, really disgusting :)
so the bugs complain about their difficult life and confrontation with humans
and then there comes an alien bugs invasion
the aliens like the planet a lot, decide to stay forever
then they carelessly say, sure stay with us, don't worry about any problems
the chief alien gets alarmed and asks: problems? what problems do you have, and the answer's, of course, humans
the aliens retreat at once, then the native bugs try to build their rocket and go to cosmos too, but fail
they see from above, in the light bulb they got into how sweet their homeland is
the last words i didn't like, sounds kinda ideologically soviet, maybe it's some kind of propaganda to call people stay at home something
see, i always try to post something on topic :)
so today was that, immigration, maybe


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 6:34 PM
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979

It may require ten viewings an episode

for old people.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:16 PM
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980

976: A city of nude people would be more fun.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:31 PM
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981

Maybe someone should explore the neurotic issues of gender in the movies? Or neurotically address the gendered nature of movies? Or reflect on how movies have impacted their neuroses about gender?

I can help!

The Rule, paraphrased from Alison Bechtel:

I only go to a movie if it satisfies three basic requirements. 1) It has to have at least two women 2) who talk to each other 3) about something besides a man.

Not particularly easy to find in mainstream movies.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:35 PM
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982

Though Juno does qualify, pace someone who was slagging on it here before, I'm looking at you minneapolitan.

(Just met jms at a very fun event curated. We know a buncha cool people in common, it turns out unsurprisingly.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:39 PM
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983

curated by my ex-wife. But it was OK.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:40 PM
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984

I don't have anything to add about gender, neuroses, movies, or Wrongshore's ex-wife. Still, it's nice to be part of the 1,000.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:45 PM
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985

978: sounds kinda ideologically soviet
IMDB says it was made in 2002. I didn't watch it with audio, since my Russian is so bad, it would have just confused me. What's your translation for the denouement?

The plot seemed most reminiscent of The Church Mice & The Moon by Graham Oakley. With a leavening of Gokiburi-tachi no tasogare [Twilight of the Cockroaches] (Hiroaki Yoshida, 1987).

982: Yes, the fact that Juno just barely qualifies under the Bechdel Rule was mentioned in one of the discussions. However, it has to be said that the conversations in question are all very brief, all about Juno's pregnancy, and that in the end, the fetus turns out to have been male. So it's gotta have an asterisk. None of that changes the fact that it's still an anti-abortion, anti-contraception movie.

Some woman who looks like the nicer version of Diablo Cody has started riding the bus with me sometimes. Of all the famous local people to resemble, Diablo Cody might not be the worst, but jeez, tough luck.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 7:56 PM
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986

Okay, I accept that I shouldn't see Wanted.

I thought Fight Club was going to launch a new era of movie making. The difficulty with making a movie masterpiece is how to handle the fact that it is such a visual medium, and that it's difficult to say anything of any depth purely visually. Many great movies solve the problem by having the characters talk all the time (Rules of the Game). Otherwise they rely primarily on the richnes of facial expressions (Bicycle Thief), or a mixture of facial reactions and talking all the time (World of Apu). Fight Club had a lot of dialogue, but also used the visual dream logic music videos to tell the story.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:10 PM
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987

982: Hi Wrongshore!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:15 PM
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988

Hi jms!

Among the cool people mentioned above is jms. And her bf. To be clear.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:20 PM
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989

I wandered into the last 5 minutes of Wanted by mistake (I was looking for Hellboy, which turned out to be a very moderate amusement), and apparently in the world of Wanted bullets can travel in circles, passing through the heads of at least half a dozen people without losing momentum.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:21 PM
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990

the fetus turns out to have been male

Ooh, you play hard.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:22 PM
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991

I saw a movie recently that far exceeded the Bechdel test, but I forget what it was. I thought of it during the film.
1000 yet? Almost? I'm on a slowwww connection.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:24 PM
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992

992


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:27 PM
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993

986: It was interesting to me, reading a critical intro to the script for The Apartment, that it was considered only near-great because it's visually boring. I don't think it's bankrupt, visually -- there's a nice contrast between the two main sets, the endless office and the cozy flat -- but it was interesting to me to see someone faulting a movie that is not attempting any great accomplishment for the eyes. In, as you say, a visual medium.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:27 PM
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994

994


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:27 PM
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995

Some people aren't trying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:28 PM
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996

996


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:30 PM
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997

Emerson, posting numbers isn't trying. It will make Heebie feel we're just humoring her.

1000?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:31 PM
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998

If Emerson's 992 and 994 seem dry, install pdf23ds's greasemonkey app to liven them up.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:31 PM
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999

Football sucks.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:31 PM
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1000

Come on, guys! Let's do it for the Heebster.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:31 PM
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1001

It works on 996 as well!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:32 PM
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1002

1000!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:32 PM
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1003

W-lfs-n sucks?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:32 PM
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1004

Can I go to bed now?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:34 PM
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1005

932: It was a faithful rendering of Miller, who it turns out is only ever "clever" by accident. Chances are Miller sees the combination of near-invincible anti-heroes and cliche noir emotionalism as completely natural. Irony isn't his thing.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:35 PM
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1006

OK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED HEEBIE | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:35 PM
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1007

Is Bicycle Thief the Italian realist movie?

I'm somewhat disappointed to learn that (apparently) jms lives in LA. Too bad for you, jms.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:35 PM
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1008

But so awesome for LA, ben w-lfs-n.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:38 PM
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1009

On to 2000!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:39 PM
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1010

1008: True enough, but should we be encouraging LA?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 8:40 PM
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1011

1007:One of them.

Open City and Umberto D being two others. The one about the fishing village?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:04 PM
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1012

982, 991: Bechdel test.

Ya know what, just ran thru my OnDemand listings (100s) hoping for a few, and there are so few movies that pass the Bechdel test they hardly seem worth mentioning. There are a few action movies with women in tough/cop parts, like Underworld, but I don't much count them. Three months ago there were more. This was on call for a long time, and a couple lesbian romances.

It really sucks.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:24 PM
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1013

985
IMDB says it was made in 2002. I didn't watch it with audio, since my Russian is so bad, it would have just confused me. What's your translation for the denouement?
so the bugs go out of the tube and realize they are in the light bulb, they observe the place and say,
coincidentally with the light coming from the window: how fair is our homeland and how we are stupid (presumably trying to escape it) and, thn, let's get out of here, someone'd turn the light on, then we're in trouble
the end.
sure, it could be interpreted as a healthy patriotic sentiment, just in a child cartoon it sounds too like pompous and i had that a knee-jerk reflex like response, until that it was all very light and funny conversation, bugs talking like intelligentsia :)
the date is 2002, sure it can't be said contemporary soviet, but Russians pride themselves having some kind of the nostalgic 'sovkovui' mentality, so i tried to refer to that
and i have nothing against patriotism, we have a very strong sense of it and respect that feeling in others, there is a very moving proverb 'even though its walls are all in holes it's still my sweet home, even though disheveled still my beloved mother'
i was kidding of course about immigration, it's too much stretch to connect the cartoon with it
well, good night


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:39 PM
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1014

Yeah, Bicycle Thief is the Italian realist movie. I was surprised at how good it was: it just sounds like one of those things that everyone recommends because it's good for you, not because it's actually good.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 9:42 PM
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1015

I just looked over my film collection. Pretty depressing. I have several movies that should get the lowest possible Bechdel score, as they have either no speaking parts for women or no women at all (Master and Commander for and example of the former and Lawrence of Arabia for one of the latter). The films that get a Bechdel certificate are few and far between: Boogie Nights, Slacker, Aliens, Citizen Ruth, When Night is Falling, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Almost Famous, Dazed & Confused and a very few others. Even Fast Times At Ridgemont High (which, I feel compelled to note, Does. Not. Include. Any. Date rape.) fails the "not talking about a man" clause.

Sad.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 10:21 PM
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1016

I couldn't remember if that was the title or if the title of the Italian movie was The Stolen Bicycle or something like that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 10:44 PM
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1017

On to 2000!

You know, this is normally the part where Becks would intervene and say we're making the blog a bit creaky. And while I may be in the manner of Becks, I'm not of her knowledge in the ways of closing threads.

Oh, look ben w-lfs-n. He'll tell us when the creaks happen. Phew!

(Drinks on me in the interim!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:10 PM
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1018

In that case, Stanley, it will never make the blog creaky.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:13 PM
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1019

INFINITE DRINKS!!!11!!eleventy!!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED DRINKER | Link to this comment | 07-19-08 11:14 PM
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1020

Didn't this blog used to have a lot of cock jokes on it?

max
['Or was that a different blog?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:00 AM
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1021

This thread is still active?!

I'm watching Season 2 of Buffy. Miss Calendar just died! Gasp!


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:04 AM
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1022

I do not deal well with fake gore and movie violence and the slayage scenes freak me out. I am a total wuss. Should be interesting watching Dark Knight tomorrow. Thankfully, not watching it alone.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:06 AM
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1023

1921:First time for Season 2? If so, I envy you.

Is that the episode where Buffy in the car asks Giles if everything will be all right and thanks him for lying? Maybe the next one.

Geller has a decent indie movie out recently The Return I think. Not great horror, but a little interesting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:33 AM
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1024

First time EVER watching Buffy! Aaaah! Why am I watching this late at night!!! Aaaah! Man, thank god W-lfs-n is seeing Batman with me tomorrow. Joker + insane + violence = Aaaah!!

I just finished the episode with the child killer. The episode with Miss Calendar and where Giles lies to Buffy made me kind of teary. This show is so clever and so good. I miss '90s fashion. I almost want to wear mini skirts and baby T's again. With chunky heels!


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:53 AM
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1025

I wish I had someone to watch this with. Sigh.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:55 AM
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1026

Buffy is so awesome! I'm in the midst of Season 4 right now, and from my perspective the show has never been better.

Also, Dark Knight is terrifying in all the best senses of the word. Joker=so fucking scary.


Posted by: ninjaphilosopher | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:26 AM
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1027

I believe that in "Showgirls" Gina Gerson and Elizabeth Barkley had a screaming match which was not about men.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 4:04 AM
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1028

apparently in the world of Wanted bullets can travel in circles, passing through the heads of at least half a dozen people without losing momentum.

To be fair, this is actually an explicit part of the movie's cosmology -- those guys have a superpower that includes the ability to make this happen.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 6:44 AM
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1029

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but in some Delany book he talks about applying a similar test to mainstream, art-house, and pornographic films, and discovers that porn was most likely to include dialogue between women unrelated to men.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:11 AM
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1030

"Showgirls"? So is the new game to come up with the most anti-feminist movie that passes the Bechdel test? I'll go with American Beauty, in which Annette Benning tells Thora Birch how unattractive she is.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:14 AM
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1031

'children's' cartoon
seriously, i should get better with my grammar by now, just there is maybe some limit until which one can master non-native language
for example, Japanese are very polite and were very good to interact for my language learning
when i'd ask them a question they would repeat it automatically correcting it, it was very helpful for my learning spoken Japanese at first
when i got a bit fluent the repetition got a bit annoying, like, i already said it correctly why do you repeat me
but it was they just repeat what i said to make sure there is no misunderstanding, it was really a great learning aid
i recalled that trying to use the Supermemo and its intro was saying about the principle of the incremental knowledge and about repetition being the key to remembering something
still don't use that, have to feed the soft myself with the learning material, a lot of work, just impossible due to lack of time and patience


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:26 AM
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1032

Read, from your comments here, your improvements in English are pretty amazing. Don't get discouraged by errors, since native English writers make errors all the time; the most important thing is that people understand you better as time goes on. I teach English to a lot of immigrant students from all over the world, and it's hard watching a student who really is making tons of progress get discouraged because she still doesn't pass for a native English speaker. As you say, incremental learning and repetition guarantee at least improvement. Your English will never be error-free, but neither will mine.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:33 AM
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1033

Read should write a book about life in Mongolia, Russia, Japan, and the U.S. She's covered a lot of territory.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:36 AM
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1034

1029: I'm not sure I believe that Delany anecdote, but here are some recent (or relatively recent) movies the Bechdel test would rule out:

The Dark Knight.
Hard Candy.
In Bruges.
There Will Be Blood.
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.
No Country For Old Men.
American Gangster.
Brick.
Inland Empire.
Capote.
Infamous.
Lord of War.
Strings.
Gangs of New York.
Raising Victor Vargas.
Memento.
Irreversible.
Strings.
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.
Better Luck Tomorrow.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

So, yeah, broad point about the sexist focus of contemporary film made, but no way am I missing out on this much good cinema to make it. And there are serious problems with any rule that would result in a feminist not getting to watch Hard Candy, or Inland Empire, or Crouching Tiger.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:41 AM
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1035

really, it's getting better?
nice, thank you for encouragement
i have no difficulties reading anything and can recognize some mistakes myself, so it's improved than before, i feel it myself too
in Japanese reading is the most difficult thing, i think i forgot almost all kanjis by now, if you don't use it it's so fast to forget and if you don't read, there is no further improvement, pity
in English i have an advantage to be able to read
a new material
well, gambarimashyo! :)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:42 AM
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1036

Whoops, put Strings on there twice. The thought of boycotting puppetry must really incense me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 7:43 AM
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1037

Inland Empire has that awesome conversation at the beginning that's not about a man, right? Did I miss something?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:03 AM
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1038

1035: Your written english has gotten much, much better. I was actually looking back at the early threads you commented in, because I was talking to my sister about the blog, and the change is remarkable. (She actually, based only on "Mongolian medical researcher based in New Jersey", wonders if she's met you. You don't recall talking to a very tall doctor with greying curly hair while waiting for a bus in Newark a few times, three or four years back? If so, that's a very weird coincidence.)


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:07 AM
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1039

Hm. The Big Lebowski. Nope. Fargo, nope. Marge is always talking to guys, except the two prostitutes who she talks to about a guy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:07 AM
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1040

That was me. I wonder if blog-commenting could be sold as an ESL learning technique generally. The low-expectations (so long as W-lfs-n isn't around) high-volume nature of it seems like it might be a good way of easing non-fluent writers into just producing a larger quantity of prose, and getting feedback on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:09 AM
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1041

1037: That conversation includes mention of Nikki Grace's husband. ("Is it about marriage? Your husband, he's involved?")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:13 AM
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1042

-a, JE is teasing me, what books, that's too grand a dream
1038, who are you? a regular unfogged reader? nice to talk to you
thank you, i'm glad i asked, my spoken english is not improving much i'm afraid
wow, that's really a very nice coincidence
my regards to your sister, i really enjoyed a conversation with her
did her work change? i never met her again
if she still works at her old work maybe we can meet sometime, accidentally :)
cheers!


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:18 AM
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1043

read has met LB's sister by chance. This officially blows my mind.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:20 AM
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1044

1038 were you, LB!
wow and wow and wow! you call my comments prose!
about BW's reputation of being a grammar nazi, it's slightly exaggerated imo
coz he never corrects me as i noted before
i analyze it like 1. he is a polite being not picking on the struggling non-native speaker, all of you, for that matter 2. he is an impolite being ignoring my! existence 3. he is like me irl in my distant youth, ignores someone whom he likes
i'm inclined to think between 1, 2 of course as the answer perhaps
just kidding :)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:30 AM
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1045

1038 was me. My sister's moved to Pittsburgh -- she's in the big transplant program there, working on kidney and pancreas transplants. It's very cool that the two of you had met -- I'll tell her you remember her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:31 AM
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1046

I don't think the Bechtel rule would rule out Crouching Tiger, because I read requirement 3) as not saying 'never talk about the man', but 'talk about something besides the man.'

The Dark Knight was very good. Heath Ledger lives up to the hype, but a lot of credit has to be giving to the writing of the character and the decision to not mope around with backstory on the Joker but get straight to blowing things up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:32 AM
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1047

1043 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:37 AM
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1048

1046: 'talk about something besides the man.'

I guess it depends on how you define "something besides the man." Where the conversations between women in Crouching Tiger aren't directly about men, they're about marriage and family obligations, martial arts or the Giang Hu lifestyle as they relate to men. That's the sort of thing I would take as transgressing the spirit of the rule if not its letter. (Though I suppose there's one scene with Jade Fox that might just pass regardless.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:38 AM
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1049

1047 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:40 AM
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1050

So does 1049.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:43 AM
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1051

1043, 1047: You know what gets me about coincidences like that? You only find out about them when there's some accidental tipoff, like the fact that "medical researcher from Mongolia in New Jersey" describes very few people, and Dr. Oops is pretty unambiguously describable herself. (That is, very tall female transplant surgeon with greying curly hair might identify her uniquely out of the population of the world -- there just aren't that many transplant surgeons to start with).

But if this happened, then that means that connections like it happen all the time, and we just don't know about it. My kids probably take swimming lessons from Chopper's nephew or something, and the conversation that would let us figure this out will never happen.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:44 AM
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1052

I question 1050, but not transitively. 1049 is cool.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:44 AM
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1053

1050, however, gets it completely wrong.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:44 AM
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1054

a lot of credit has to be giving to the writing of the character and the decision to not mope around with backstory on the Joker but get straight to blowing things up.

I concur. I thought the scenes where he offers to explain where his scars came from were a particularly nice touch, and not over-sold.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:45 AM
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1055

1051 is me again. Once again, if I don't check the "remember my info" box, I'm not really commenting from work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:46 AM
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1056

Once you learn to recognize the giblet bucket you can recognize transplant surgeons anywhere you see them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:46 AM
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1057

"Dr. Oops" is the best nickname for a transplant surgeon EVAR.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:47 AM
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1058

the giblet bucket

KFC, mostly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:47 AM
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1059

As does 1053.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:47 AM
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1060

But 1059 is a return to form.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 8:50 AM
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1061

It is a small world. I ended up briefly working on a case with washerdryer when he was a summer associate. I imagine that there have been more chance intersections in the unfogged world.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:00 AM
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1062

1054: And, interestingly, completely false.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:12 AM
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1063

Right, that was what was I liked about it: those little stories are all we have, they're totally false, and the falseness is never emphasized or commented on.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:15 AM
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1064

But 1059 is a return to form.

Unfogged Form-1059: Application for Extension of Long Thread


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:16 AM
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1065

broad point about the sexist focus of contemporary film made, but no way am I missing out on this much good cinema to make it

I don't actually follow The Rule, but it's a good way of pointing out the problem. I'm very often not interested in movies that don't live up to The Rule in any case, including quite a few on DS's list.

Brick, though, everyone should see. It's tremendous.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:25 AM
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1066

Brick, though, everyone should see. It's tremendous.

Agreed. I was just thinking about the greatness of Brick yesterday, and it was only confused in my mind a little bit with the greatness of Nora Zehetner in Brick.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:41 AM
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1067

Movies! Neither of which follow Bechdel Rule

1) Gone Baby Gone Fine & Dandy. Many Amazon reviewers possibly miss the point of the ending, which is troubling. But clue: the movie starts off with a monologue on the importance of place & neighborhood to character.

I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have.

Also remember Lehane's Mustic River

2) Caught about 15 minutes of the remake of The Heartbreak Kid 15 minutes was way too much. The Elaine May original is a stone classic of 70s American cinema, probably dated in its Jewish subthemes, but extremely challenging and subtle. Elaine May, when given the chance, had a genius for multi-leveled cruel comedy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:43 AM
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1068

I thought the Bechdel Rule would work better as a rule for film makers, rather than viewers.

Often when I watch movies, I get to fantasizing about how I would make a movie, even plotting out little scripts. I've added a stage to my fantasy where I check every draft of the movie to be sure it fits the Bechdel rule.

Example: I've long fantasized about making a movie called "Zombie Attack on FEMA Headquarters" about how FEMA would respond to a zombie attack in a major city. It would feature a big, pivotal scene where Michael Brown gets his brains eaten.

In any case, in plotting this out while showering or riding my bike, I've realized that I had to change the gender of a character in order to make it easy to follow the Bechdel rule.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:52 AM
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1069

What actually happens in my little mental movie is that Michael Brown gets zombified while visiting the site of the zombie outbreak, but no one really notices. So he goes back to FEMA headquarters, spreading the plague there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:55 AM
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1070

You're an odd fellow, rob.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:56 AM
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1071

I think the Bechdel rule is a great rule of thumb, although it's compatible with seeing nothing but chick flicks. So many movies (and Batman's guilty of this, and Watchmen will probably be worse) have only one female lead, and her job is to motivate the hero by being killed, or endangered. Just having two women is a step up.

(A lot depends on execution though. I realized that BSG should be annoying me, because it is not a stretch at all to describe the plot as 'so, there are these interstellar robots? who look like hot women? who want to have sex with human men?' and as described, ugh.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:59 AM
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1072

"Michael Brown gets his brains eaten while his two technical assistants (played by Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman) talk in the next room about the latest research on the role of prions in zombification."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 9:59 AM
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1073

1070: Coming from you, that really means something

1072: This is *my* fantasy movie, John.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:03 AM
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1074

Both of them wearing tight lab coats with nothing underneath, and cute librarian glasses.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:03 AM
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1075

The lesbian makeout scene with zombies banging on the walls will be the turning point of the movie. It turns out that zombies are really squicked by lesbians.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:05 AM
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1076

I think it's mine now, Rob. Life's a jungle.

In the real-life story the lesbians were regular butch lesbians, but in a movie you want Johanssen and Portman.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:07 AM
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1077

1065: Point being I think there's a fair number of movies on that list that would call into question what it does or doesn't mean to satisfy the rule. "Infamous" doesn't satisfy it, for instance, because its focus is on gender-bending queer anti-hero Capote's struggle to come to terms with unrequitable love. "In Bruges"," "The Assassination..." "There Will Be Blood," "Raising Victor Vargas," "Better Luck Tomorrow," "Strings" and "Lord of War" all run afoul of it, but hardly because they're reveling in any sort of traditional masculinity and often because they're devoted to criticizing it and in some cases mocking it. I think someone motivated by the kind of criticism the Bechdel Rule implies is actually robbing themselves thereby. It's a momentarily clever way of making the point but it's actually a shitty rule of thumb.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:07 AM
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1078

Fortunately, cartoon characters rarely mind the consequences of their actions.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:10 AM
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1079

At one point I vowed to quit going to movies in which all the characters were improbably good-looking and sexy, but I had already almost quit going to movies at all anyway. I would say, though, that few in the Coen brothers movies are improbably good-looking and sexy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:10 AM
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1080

1075: It's like you don't even read the archives.

1077: The point of the rule only works over the film industry as a whole. If we lived in a world where men following the reverse Bechdel rule ("At least two men...") were shutting themselves off from a similar quantity of good, interesting films, it'd be a silly rule. And following it slavishly -- refusing to see a good, interesting film, because it fails, would be IMO silly.

But even if a film is a good, interesting film, that explores gender and so forth in a meaningful way, it's still worth consciously noticing that it's conventional and normal to exclude women completely from the narrative center of even good, interesting, non-evil movies. Go see them anyway if you want, but the fact that they're made in an idiom where the exclusion of women is standard and normal is worth bringing to the foreground of your attention.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:14 AM
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1081

1068:I went thru DS's list to see how many of the movies could work with a lead gender change. No many, because most (fucking all?) are in some sense critiques/celebrations of masculinity and patriarchy.

I also checked how many hold up to the standards of 70s movies like The Heartbreak Kid or Elaine May's other masterpieces A New Leaf and Such Good Friends.
Some are good, but mostly Americans have regressed to comic book movies. Just kidding. Just kidding.

Brick was ok, but Hammett/Chandler with a femme fatale. Film noir doesn't mix well with the detective mythos, hero needs to be more flawed than that. Compare to umm, Miller's Crossing Lead in Brick was either too flawed or not flawed enough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:18 AM
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1082

1080: Point, Tia.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:19 AM
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1083

Actually, me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:20 AM
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1084

You win with 1080, but Tia at your link really, really wins.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:25 AM
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1085

1977:Sorry, DS, I think most of those movies are celebrating traditional masculinity while critiquing it.
Like a rape movie that condemns rape from the male POV. As if Straw Dogs were an anti-violence movie.

There are a lot of problems with Hard Candy for instance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:25 AM
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1080.3: Of course, many of the settings that provide the richest ground for critiques of traditional masculinity involve predominantly- or all-male settings, since these are settings where such masculinity often manifests at its most absurd. "Foreground of your attention" is a nice goal but if you can't say what it means concretely in that kind of context, it's of limited use. Except inasmuch as it makes the (obvious) point that the film industry's in need of more talents like Mary Harron.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:26 AM
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1087

It's just like oil companies or relationships. There's no real reason to boycott this oil company or relationship instead of that one. They're all bad. And the same goes for movies, except for the Big Lebowski and Fargo.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:28 AM
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1088

The three sentences in 1085 cancel each other out and leave behind a vaguely buzzing field of non-meaning.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:28 AM
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1089

When does the Thread Nazi show up? Are we taking Heebie to 2000?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:28 AM
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1090

188: Sorry, four sentences.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:30 AM
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1091

1088 I mean. fuck.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:30 AM
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1092

but if you can't say what it means concretely in that kind of context

What it means concretely is that movies exploring and critiquing (while in some sense celebrating) masculinity are a matter of general artistic interest, not some specialized interest group thing. Movies exploring and critiquing femininity in a way that similarly excludes men are both rare and when made are understood to appeal to a small niche audience. Men are humanity, women are an interest group.

This is old news, but it's important old news, and recognizing it as old news doesn't mean that it's changed. The Bechdel rule, so long as the results are as asymmetrical as they are now, is a handy way of reminding oneself that this is still a current issue. If this is stuff you care about, then, it's not a shitty rule.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:31 AM
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David Simon tried something new. GK is very very dense and subtle, with 10+ major characters talking very fast...Simon cuts his audience zero slack, and you will not understand most of what is going on.

It'd be interesting if Generation Kill sort of portrayed the individual soldiers as sort of epiphenomena or background noise to the U.S. military machine.

Hey, PGD. I stopped by the library yesterday and I am loving Soon I Will be Invincible. Thanks for the rec.

hey, thanks! It stays great all the way through. I hope he doesn't do a sequel; I think the book said all it has to say and treating the characters like normal comix heroes would be a big step down.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:36 AM
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1091: You should have capitalized "fuck".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:37 AM
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1092: Movies exploring and critiquing femininity in a way that similarly excludes men are both rare and when made are understood to appeal to a small niche audience.

Actually, they're not as rare as they used to be, nor is their appeal as restricted as all that. To the extent that such films don't yet command the heights of the film industry, which in a general sense is perfectly true, the cause isn't necessarily the subject matter alone; there's also the matter of filmmakers finding their way toward the most compelling presentations of this subject matter. Movies like Brick or In Bruges have decades of traditional macho genre imagery to draw on and play with and mock, a whole pre-established visual vocabulary; (non-exploitative) movies about feminine subjects don't necessarily have the same advantage. It's like writing a novel while simultaneously trying to construct the language you're writing in.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:41 AM
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1092: Also, "what it means concretely" as in "what does it mean specifically in terms of recommended action," not "how can we continue to dissect the problem."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:42 AM
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1097

Actually, they're not as rare as they used to be, nor is their appeal as restricted as all that.

I'm not really a movie person, but I've talked to people trying to list movies that fail the reverse Bechdel test, and not coming up with a whole lot beyond The Women. Are there a lot lately I've missed?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:43 AM
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1098

I took the kids to see a community theatre production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast last night. There's a play that comes up positive on any test of patriarchy imaginable.

"Be Our Guest" is a really catchy song, though.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:45 AM
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1099

1088:Aw c'mon. It is really hard to separate the "way cool" elements in Lord of War from the "uncool" elements.

Interesting to compare Fargo to No Country if part of the stories are the endangered safety/sanity of domesticity with the violent crazymen world outside it. Fargo kinda says domesticity prevails, No Country says it's collateral damage/mushrooms. Maybe could add Raising Arizona to the analysis. And the 1st Coen movie? And even Lebowski? There's a kinda family in there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:45 AM
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1100

In terms of recommended action, I think the idea is to affirmatively notice and seek out movies that pass the Bechdel rule, no? Maybe not to the total exclusion of those that fail it, but that's the idea; leveling the unlevel playing field by increasing the market for those movies. (Insofar as anything any individual does has any perceptible effect, of course.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:47 AM
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1101

1097: IIRC, the women in The Women talked about (marrying, divorcing, and seeking the attention of) men, pretty much to the exclusion of anything else.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:55 AM
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"Be Our Guest" is a really catchy song, though.

Completely overshadowed in my mind by "See My Vest".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:57 AM
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1103

Insofar as anything any individual does has any perceptible effect, of course.'

The mainstream business anymore is about an int'l market, most of which is somewhat more sexist than te US. There are also some brutal demographics involved, as in how you get young males into theatres on opening weekends, even on dates. Pretty women, even nekkid pretty women aren't enough. Sucks bigtime.

The story of the studio demanding an entirely pointless husband subplot to Silent Hill is legendary.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:58 AM
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All of the Nicole Holofcener films I've seen pass the Bechdel test. I can't think of many other passers though. Princess Mononoke?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 10:58 AM
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1105

Does Death Proof pass the Bechdel test? Women talkin' muscle cars.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:02 AM
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1106

DS, you seem oddly offended by the rule. Of course there are lots of good movies that are primarily about men, and not just men in relation to women. Men are half of humanity, so it's not surprising that they make the subject of movies. What's surprising is how few movies there are about women and not primarily about women's relationship to men.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:02 AM
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1107

I thought the tumbleweed hook in Lebowski, anong with the old cowboy, were total crap, BTW.

It allows me to explain that the tumbleweed is actually an Asian plant which only reached the Americas in the nineteenth century. It plays a role in the classic Chinese poetry of about 200 AD, with the same symbolic meaning as in cowboy stories.

Tumbleweed


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:04 AM
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1108

Two movies in my OnDemand listings I didn't mention were The Craft and Girl, Interrupted. They pass Bechdel with flags, but aren't very good movies.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:07 AM
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1099.1: Bzzzzz. Still nothing. "Way cool elements" in Lord of War? What?

I keep finding nits to pick with 1092: If this is stuff you care about, then, it's not a shitty rule.

If this is stuff you care about, it's a clever way of making the point, but as a way of evaluating film if you care about intelligent takes on gender dynamics, then it is in fact a shitty rule. It allows you to diagnose an imbalance in the film industry, but it does not tell you what should be done about it or how to evaluate the quality of existing films. If people were to deliberately focus on passing the Bechdel Test, emulating rob's example, the result would be a rectification of that particular imbalance but not necessarily more feminist or more interesting film. That is a problem if this is stuff you care about.

1097: Mmm... I'm not sure about 'recent' but the examples that comes to mind off the top: 8 Women. Sex and the City. The Descent. Silent Hill. The Joy Luck Club. Thelma & Louise. Agnes of God. Steel Magnolias. Dancer in the Dark. Not all of which are feminist films, of course, and that's sort of what I'm getting at.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:09 AM
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1105: It does. It also fails the Reverse Bechdel Test.

1106: DS, you seem oddly offended by the rule.

On account of my problems with my mother.

No, I'm not offended by it, I just think it's misleading as anything other than a momentary "oh yeah" moment.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:11 AM
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1111

If nobody stopped a thread, would it grow indefinitely, expanding faster than the rate of the universe, and ultimately devour everything in all places and at all times? Would, then, the thread itself never have existed?

You'll have to provide your own script, storyboards, and cast for the above pitch. And make sure to include more than two women, and please provide them with dialogue that involves something other than men.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:15 AM
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1112

Isn't Lord of War a critique of the international gun trade? Isn't that in itself a cool thing?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:17 AM
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1113

It's cool that the international gun trade exists to be critiqued, yes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:19 AM
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1104:I should get a Gold Star for watching Walking and Talking like five times?

I prefer these kinds of relationship* movies to comic book action movies. Neil Labute may be a monster, but at least he is making movies about people, not explosions.

"The extraordinary is for journalists, not artists." ...JJ. Cf Anna Karenina, Proust, Gide, Woolf, much Hemingway, etc. Just read an article on modernist's obsession with the quotidian.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:19 AM
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1115

1112: Bob's trying for something like its critiquing and simultaneously celebrating the international gun trade, though.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:20 AM
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1116

1109:You're deliberately obtuse. Of course Lord of War had teenaged boy appeal which wasn't based on the "horrors of war" theme.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:25 AM
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1117

1110: I just think it's misleading as anything other than a momentary "oh yeah" moment.

Beyond the "oh yeah" moment, I decided to run through several standard top 100 lists (no not cutting edge lists) and at most I would get an arguable handful per 100 (if you included things like Wizard of Oz). So for me at least the magnitude of the asymmetry was a revelation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:25 AM
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1118

I was just thinking that there are some movies which constitute a very loose subgenre that can, I believe, all receive Bechdel certification: Camp, But I'm A Cheerleader, Mean Girls, Heathers, Saved!, Ghost World. They're all films about young people, most with some kind of queer orientation. Also The Nanny Diaries, dismally recuperating patriarchy though it was.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:27 AM
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1119

1117: Me too.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:27 AM
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1120

Men are humanity, women are an interest group.

The Bechdel rule is a neat way of pointing our greater cultural interest in the areas of male agency. Thing is, that agency is not always to the advantage of men. A big reason men are so much more central in movies is that the movies are fascinated by violence, and the world of violence (criminal and military) is almost completely dominated by males. It wouldn't be a better world if it was natural to make lots of movies about women killing each other.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:27 AM
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1121

1117: I did this, too. But my takeaway -- Hollywood, steeped in patriarchy and notorious for pandering to the lowest common denominator, trades in a sexist product -- wasn't that revelatory. The out-of-whack* numbers, though, still surprised me.

* Historian's term of art for your lowbrow, "asymmetry."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:30 AM
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1122

Nicole Holofcener: a

1116: Of course Lord of War had teenaged boy appeal

I guess I'm genuinely obtuse. What teenaged boy appeal? The scene where Uri can't get it up for a hot model because he's scheming about gun deals? The scene where Vitaly snorts a line of cocaine shaped like the Ukraine? Most of the scenes of glitzy display or high living are deliberately undercut either simultaneously (by Uri's running narration, one of the few genuinely necessary uses of this device I can remember) or by the next scene.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:31 AM
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1123

The scene where Vitaly snorts a line of cocaine shaped like the Ukraine?

That sounds kind of awesome. By the way, we don't call it "The" Ukraine anymore. Just "Ukraine". Thanks.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:32 AM
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1124

I think the rule works only in one direction: not every movie that features two female characters talking about something other than men is feminist, but it stands a much better chance than the movie where the female lead is the only major female role in the film.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:33 AM
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1125

DS, can't we also extrapolate from the Bechdel Test how very rarely there are two women in a shot without a man to keep them company? When 90% of the movies about the world we live in assume, on a visual level, that women must be constantly chaperoned, then that seems to lend the test more significance.

Also passing, I think: Aeon Flux and Cold Comfort Farm


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:33 AM
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1126

The Crimea is in the Ukraine, not terribly far from Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, and Rumania.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:33 AM
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1127

Nicole Holofcener: a

... posted before I was finished. Holofcener is an example of why the course of action recommended in 1100 isn't necessarily that great: Lovely & Amazing, completely forgettable.

But 1118 is completely true.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:34 AM
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1128

Helpy-Chalk, did you read World War Z?

I can think of several Iranian movies that pass the Bechdel test. The most recent French movie I saw, Roman de gare passes by a nose.

1071 - Despite the fact that I think the movie is going to be awful (and sexist and homophobic, because that's how Snyder rolls), there's at least one scene in Moore's comic that features two women (mother and daughter) talking; I can't remember if it's about a man. But the ludicrousness of comic book sexuality is one of Moore's points, not that I expect any of the meta-story to translate to the film.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:35 AM
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1129

I propose a corollary to the Bechdel Test: "Any movie, which movie not being Raising Arizona, in which Nicholas Cage acts or purports to act is crap."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:36 AM
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1130

1123: He gets interrupted before he can finish it.

1125: I hadn't thought of that. I'm not sure what the stats on that would be or how to interpret them, either.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:37 AM
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1131

Oh, sure. I just would really like it if a Moore book didn't start with a female character (Evey, Silk Spectre, Mina) getting raped or nearly getting raped. (And the worry about the meta-story is probably well-founded.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:37 AM
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1132

1120:I am staring at a shelf of female detective & cop books, written by women. We have recently vampire/horror books with female protagonists.
Television is full of women cops, judges, lawyers. In the course of women solving problems, you get women interacting with women.

It is not only violence & melodrama that Hollywood thinks sells, it is a particular kind of violence that is independent of language and context. The domestic murder that fuels most crime fiction may not translate well to India.

The Oriental market, being large enough to be almost self-contained, does have I think a much greater proportion of female protagonists. Check out anime sometime. There are obviously problems with anime, but have to get those teenage boys.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:38 AM
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1133

The Oriental market

The spice trade?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:41 AM
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1134

OK, is Fargo feminist? Having a pregnant woman shoot a psychokiller and then reasonably explain things to him while she drives him to jail seems pretty feminist to me. But it doesn't pass the test.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:41 AM
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1135

1118 - God, what a fantastic comic book Ghost World was. The movie was quite good, but didn't communicate what was so great about Enid and Rebecca (and part of it was Daniel Clowes deciding to make his surrogate a gawky teenage girl).

Cala, I didn't care for it, but you might like Promethea. And I loved all four volumes of Top Ten to death.

It wouldn't be a better world if it was natural to make lots of movies about women killing each other.

I dunno - Rfts points to the (perhaps unsurprisingly feminist) run Gail Simone did on Birds of Prey, which is all about women kicking the shit out of each other.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:42 AM
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1136

I propose a corollary to the Bechdel Test: "Any movie, which movie not being Raising Arizona, in which Nicholas Cage acts or purports to act is crap."

Counterexample: Adaptation.

Also, it's "Nicolas".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:46 AM
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1137

I am staring at a shelf of female detective & cop books, written by women.

right, but how often are they searching for a female killer?

is Fargo feminist? Having a pregnant woman shoot a psychokiller

if the killer had only been female, it would pass the Bechdel test. Affirmative action for female psychokillers!

What is most interesting in life story-wise? Romance and violence are the two biggies. There are astonishingly few good movies about e.g. business or parental relationships that don't include one of those. If the women are straight, then romance-related conversation will touch on men.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:49 AM
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1138

I think violence has a sanctifying quality about it. Any movie about killing automatically has a kind of moral seriousness that a movie not about killing doesn't. A violent movie can throw that away, obviously, but movies about killing are automatically weightier than movies not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:50 AM
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1139

1134:John, considering the rest of the Coen movies, I am not sure we are supposed to approve of Marge. They don't celebrate the domestic very often.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:50 AM
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1140

Counterexample: Adaptation.

Ooh, point taken. He was good in that. And I refuse to spell his name correctly out of spite, motherfucker.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:53 AM
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1141

It wouldn't be a better world if it was natural to make lots of movies about women killing each other.

Maybe, given your premises about what would make it natural, but I actually do think it would be a better world if we took this world and added more movies about women killing each other.

Meanwhile, I don't think there's any way to make the timelines line up with the current Batman franchise any time soon, but I would seriously love to see a successful, well made Birds of Prey movie.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:54 AM
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1142

Pwned by my own paraphrased self! Curses.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:55 AM
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1143

He was good in Lord of War, too.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:56 AM
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1144

What is Birds of Prey? Aside from graphic novels, my knowledge of comix only runs up to about '85.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 11:57 AM
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1145

I went over the Coen brothers in 1099.

I think Marge's closing lines "And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it." can be compared to Tommy Lee Jones monoloques in No Country, which was also a lot of trouble over money.

Is Marge wise or clueless? Well, she lives in Fargo.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:00 PM
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1146

Bob: on the face of it, though, I'd say we are.

I do think that there were lots of boobytraps in the movie for ultrahip people who'd think that Jean Lundergaard and Marge were just too corny, or for anyone who thinks that psychokillers and losers are cutting-edge hip larger than life types.

They also send up the avant-garde / porno art scene pretty vigorously in Lebowski.

I'm not a Coen scholar, I've just seen those too and part of the Hudsucker one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:00 PM
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1147

1145: can be compared to Tommy Lee Jones monoloques in No Country, which was also a lot of trouble over money.

Except Marge actually brings the whole situation to an end, whereas Tommy Lee Jones functions mostly as a chorus, bemoaning the state of things. Of the two, it's his character I'm not sure we're meant to approve of.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:06 PM
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1148

Marge lives in Brainerd. Only the used car lot in the opening scene is in Fargo.

Kristin Rudrüd, the actress who played Jean Lundegaard, does live in Fargo. My sister in law, who knew her in second grade, ran into her recently. Most Rudruds dispence with the umlaut; maybe she's into metal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:06 PM
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1149

right, but how often are they searching for a female killer?

Very often, if I remember correctly. Often using men as tools as in Brick or Buffy but the female crime genre I think makes extra effort to avoid an "all men are beasts" stance. Male crime writers are worse, more chivalrous on that score.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:06 PM
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1150

1128: No, should I?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:08 PM
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1151

1145: Well, she lives in Fargo Brainerd. I believe Fargo is where Lundergaard is apprehended at the end (and maybe where the original deal is made).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:09 PM
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1152

1152


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:09 PM
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1153

1150: I liked it. Oddly 'realistic', given the premise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:10 PM
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1154

Birds of Prey is a Batman spinoff. It features Oracle, who is Commissioner Gordon's grown-up daughter, and who previously did a stint as Batgirl, so you might have encountered her in her pre-Oracle days.

In The Killing Joke, the Joker shot her in the spine, rendering her paraplegic. Her current job is being a supersmart information broker, computer genius, and uberlibrarian to the superhero world, as well as leader of the titluar team of costumed crimefighter types. The other main characters in the Gail Simone era are Black Canary and Huntress, and Simone very explicitly treats the team as, partially, Oracle's reaction to having to deal with Batman's masculine bullshit all the time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:10 PM
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1155

Lileks, who's from Fargo, hated the Fargo movie. :-)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:13 PM
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1156

1109: not necessarily more feminist or more interesting film

I've been skimming, but is it the case that the Bechdel test is a call for films that are more feminist?

In any event, aren't there whole genres of films out there that pass the test, as it were? Political films, labor films, war films. In general, films about the sorts of things we attend to besides romantic relationships, e.g. professional interests, or the vagaries of life as a human being on this our fair planet. I realize that documentaries don't really count for these purposes.

It strikes me, though, that many of the films cited for scrutiny are not of these sorts to begin with, so of course they're likely to fail the test.

Perhaps the larger point, to my mind, is that our interests, as a society, are increasingly narrow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:14 PM
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1157

John, you know I grew up there, and I understand Marge much better than I understand the greedy & ambitious. I'm just saying that I am not as certain as to the Coen's understanding & empathy for Marge.

And I think the theme in No Country, Blood Simple, Raising Arizone about the monsters inside, outside & from the past smashing the home is recurrent.

Lansing MI has a 20% vacancy in commercial real estate now. Those Midwest values are no longer survival traits.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:16 PM
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1158

Actually, there's no used car lot in the opening scene. Just a bar where he meets the psychos.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:17 PM
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1159

I'm offended by the sexist terminology in Birds of Prey's title.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:17 PM
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1160

In general, films about the sorts of things we attend to besides romantic relationships, e.g. professional interests, or the vagaries of life as a human being on this our fair planet.

Many such films have few, if any, women in them at all.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:19 PM
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1154: Oh, okay. Do they have a good villain? That would seem to be the prerequisite for a good superhero movie.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:21 PM
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1162

In any case, as a tool for consciousness raising, the Bechdel rule definitely works. It for sure makes you think about how men are represented as the default humans.

I'm going to see "The Wackness" tonight. I'll check if it passes the test.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:23 PM
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1156.1: Not really, but there does seem to be a hope there that movies with more women in them will have a shot at upping the interesting gender dynamics in movies.

our interests, as a society, are increasingly narrow.

Are they?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:25 PM
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1164

1162: one can tell already from the trailer that it won't.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:26 PM
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1165

They have the same pool of villains as all the other JLA comics.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:26 PM
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1166

1156: Really? Name them.

I think the Coen brothers are pro-domesticity; I'm actually having trouble constructing a case in my head where they are anti-domesticity.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:26 PM
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There's also Savant, who is a villain with Memento disease. I don't think he'd make a very good movie villain. Similarly, there's some stuff with Brainiac, also probably not so cinemagenic.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:29 PM
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1165: Oh, uh, okay.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:31 PM
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our interests, as a society, are increasingly narrow.

Are they?

I think the demographic that goes to theatres is smaller. And considering the better ratio of women in roles on TV, I was wondering if young males watch as much TV dramatic fiction TV as they used to.

Young males are the marginal demographic.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:33 PM
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1167: I kind of expected from the description earlier that they'd have some kick-ass female villains going on.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:33 PM
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1160: Many such films have few, if any, women in them at all.

True enough. Representation of reality, or?

Actually I was thinking of Norma Rae. Yes, few and far between.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:36 PM
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In general, films about the sorts of things we attend to besides romantic relationships, e.g. professional interests, or the vagaries of life as a human being on this our fair planet.

I always thought Hollywood makes surprisingly few such movies (assuming you wish to exclude violence/crime/war -- as I said above, love and war are the two great topics).

But come to think of it, maybe it's just that I'm not in the target audience -- I would never bother with "Finding Forrester" or something. When I think about it, the fact that the "saintly teacher or doctor helping people" genre doesn't have more women protagonists is totally sexist and ridiculous, given women's representation in the helping professions.

Then there's coming of age movies and road movies. Sometimes women are protagnists, but more often they're there to help along the male epiphany. As in this brilliant movie , perhaps one of the finest buddy movies ever made.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:38 PM
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1166:They really don't address domesticity that much, as if they weren't interested in it. Barton Fink>/i>? Miller's Crossing? You very seldom see families or children in Coen films.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:39 PM
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Raising Arizona is about family. Oh Brother Where Art Thou is a long head-fake before family reveals itself as the main driver of the plot.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:43 PM
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1175

1163: our interests, as a society, are increasingly narrow.

Are they?

I'd be interested in talking about this if the thread weren't far too long. Roughly: to the extent that we might take movie interests as an indicator, yes, they are.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:48 PM
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1167: I kind of expected from the description earlier that they'd have some kick-ass female villains going on.

They don't have many specific-to-them villains, since they're all characters from elsewhere in the DC universe. Oracle is a Batman character of long standing, the Black Canary is a JSA character of long standing (Green Arrow's girlfriend), Huntress is a Batman antihero of decently long standing; later in the run Simone introduces a couple new (female) characters and adds in the female sidekick from Will Eisner's Blackhawks (who seems to have fallen through some sort of time warp, as she's the same WWII-vintage character). I think the storyline Rfts was thinking of is Of Like Minds, in which Black Canary teams up with the assassin Shiva (Shiva being explicitly acknowledged as the DC Universe's most bad-ass martial artist; she's the person Batman turned to to retrain him after the "Knightfall" storyline) to go after the woman who killed her sensei.

Simone is the author of a famous rant/website, Women in Refrigerators, about the extent to which women in comic books are there mostly to provide motivation for their male counterparts, particularly when bad things happen to them. A lot of what happens in Birds of Prey strikes me as her attempting to write models for how male writers can deal with female characters and to write something non-exploitive where the lead characters are universally women; mostly it works.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:51 PM
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If you don't date, you realize that most people watch movies on dates, and that a high proportion of movies are constructed as date movies. (Cf. the recent discussions here about how embarassing it is to go to a movie or a restaurant alone.) As I've said, I find this incredibly distorting; first because of the incredible bias toward good looking leads, and second (and worse) the practice of forcing all of human experience through a couples screen.

Macho fantasy movies are equally bad. I'm less likely to go to them than I am to a date movies.

Non-date, anti-date, non-macho, anti-macho movies tend to have boutique audiences.

My connection to American life mostly is comedy movies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:51 PM
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1175: The reason I question is that it's actually easier to access movies about a wider range of interests than it used to be. One might be able to make a case for a narrower canvas among North American box office blockbusters (although, I'm not sure; narrower than what?) -- but they're a shrinking share of the market.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:52 PM
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There is a fair amount of woman-on-woman kick-ass violence in BoP, but it's usually some more complicated situation than hero vs. villain.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 12:59 PM
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a narrower canvas among North American box office blockbusters (although, I'm not sure; narrower than what?)

Than the Planck length, I think.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:01 PM
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969: Maybe someone should explore the neurotic issues of gender in the movies? Or neurotically address the gendered nature of movies? Or reflect on how movies have impacted their neuroses about gender?

1175: I'd be interested in talking about this if the thread weren't far too long.

Hint, hint.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:12 PM
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1180: Well, I guess factoring in the relative decline of box office, the top 50 grosses since 2000 are almost all fantasy, SF, superhero or action movies. So okay.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:16 PM
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1183

1183


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 1:44 PM
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1184

1183 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:17 PM
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1185

You know, I'm touched at the team effort to drive this threadular vehical up and over the thousand mountain. YOU ARE ALL MY FAVORITE COMMENTER.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:46 PM
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1186

I bet I misspelled vehicle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:47 PM
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1187

Heebie, this wasn't a cooperative effort. We were competing. You must pick a winner, or all of our efforts are in vain. Unless you pick anyone other than me as the winner. Then competition is vulgar, and can't we all just work together to put up the barn, like in Amish villages?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 2:59 PM
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1188

1186: Right again. It's uncanny!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:00 PM
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1189

1187: You win at being the best little Walt Someguy ever. EVER.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:02 PM
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1190

When I was young I pronounced vehicle vesickle, like bicycle, tricycle, and motorcycle.

I also thought a francophone was a device like a sousaphone, a saxophone, or a telephone.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:07 PM
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1191

I propose the commenters stage a coup and end this thread ourselves, without Big Posters. We can do it!

Ssh.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:16 PM
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1192

Damn, I meant shh.

Shh.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:17 PM
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1178: The reason I question is that it's actually easier to access movies about a wider range of interests than it used to be.

No doubt. But yes, I'm taking as my compass the box office hits -- these are (somewhat religiously) attended by a subset of people, but that subset goes beyond adolescent males. Witness the number of commenters here who attest to seeing whatever the latest thing is.

John makes a good point in 1177.

My broader interest is in the possibility that we (leaving this 'we' unspecified) are at once all interested in nothing but the same things, and that these things are increasingly narrow in scope. It may be forced to use Hollywood as a measure of this.

I'm reminded in some of the political theory I read lately that our increasingly cosmopolitan society suffers from a sort of "spectator diversity," according to which we like diverse perspectives to be out there somewhere, to be sampled should we so desire, but we don't much find them among ourselves.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:19 PM
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1194

a saxophone,

SAX-O-MA-PHONE! SAX-O-MA-PHONE!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:26 PM
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1195

I'm not little! I'm big! Well, right-sized.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:35 PM
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1192: Dude, I can stop any time, since this thread is crashing my browser anyway(s). I can take my interest as expressed in 1193 over to, um, someplace else.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-20-08 3:36 PM
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