Re: Ask the Mineshaft - Sadistic Games Edition

1

A thread of questions?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:42 AM
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I believe so?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:44 AM
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Are you sure that is what you want?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:46 AM
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Are you sure you can deliver?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:49 AM
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Pick the person in the room to whom you're most attracted, and ask them "Why won't you sleep with me?"

If the answer is, "because you never asked", both players miss three turns.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:54 AM
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both players miss three turns.

....or more, depending how long a "turn" lasts and how long both players can... last.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:56 AM
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Move one space forward for each day its been since you showered.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:58 AM
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Move one space forward for each day its been since you showered.

I WIN!!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 7:59 AM
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Who's childhood probably was most torturous, and based on their personality, what would be the source of such torture?

people love bragging about this shit. For some crowds, asking who was most popular in high school would probably be more embarassing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:09 AM
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9: No, not asking someone to volunteer about their own childhood. Asking you to pick the person in the room, and describe why you bet they had it really rough.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:11 AM
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Amusing questions


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:13 AM
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As 9 says, the trick will be to find questions whose answers are genuinely awkward/humiliating rather than the faux aw-gee-shucks sort. What those questions are would vary quite a bit by, e.g., the age of the players.

(I mean, obviously this isn't true because it's supposed to be a party game and not something meant to make people genuinely unhappy, but you take the point.)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:14 AM
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10: Heebie is right, as usual!

How about just, "who do you like least in the room, and why"


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:14 AM
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Which member of the opposite sex in the room would you turn down sex with, throw out of bed, etc.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:15 AM
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why the game needs to be cruel or humiliating? i thought should be just foolish questions for laugh at the party complemented with some clever answer if one could think of it


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:20 AM
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This sounds like a truly cruel game. Still:

(1) Name the player whose success is most dependent on family connections.

(2) Name the player who has missed the most significant opportunity.

(3) Name the player whose spouse/partner is most likely to cheat or to have already cheated.

(4) Name the players who are faking an interest in something in order to appear sophisticated.

(5) Name the player you believe is probably the worst in bed.

All require detailed justifications, of course.

A game this cruel really ought to have a physical element, like throwing poo at each other.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:22 AM
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|| Commissioner of Labor Statistics just testified -- if I had to characterize this jobs report, I would say it is a *dismal* jobs report. This is one of the worst jobs report we at the BLS have ever produced

Congressman: ever?

Commissioner: ever. ||>

Awkward question -- when are you going to lose your job in this recession?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:22 AM
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I don't see this game lasting longer than five minutes, unless it has some peer-pressure element or other spur the way Truth or Dare does.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:24 AM
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awkward question - why would one send me a free voucher for the cruise in Bahamas during recession?
i really got the voucher, have to call them perhaps to see whether it's a real coupon
i think it's something a hoax like thing, so tempting though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:30 AM
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14: All of them.

18: Or unless the game is "who can lie most creatively and amusingly".


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:30 AM
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Take the player to your left, and identify their social or esthetic flaw that it is most inexplicable that they haven't done something about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:33 AM
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the


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:33 AM
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The sex-related stuff is obvious and entails too much arranging the bad light to your own or the other person's advantage. Real awkwardness without the truth/dare pressure would make the game unplayable. Regardless:

-- Pick the person you think is the most vain; explain.

-- Identify the player you think is most likely to have an eating disorder. Say which one it is and why you think they suffer from it.

-- Pick the person in the room you most recently had a negative conversation about with a third party, and truthfully recount the contents of the conversation.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:35 AM
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"Who would make the worst parent in the room? If different, who would you least want as your own parent, and why?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:36 AM
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Geez. Usually just injecting sex, religion, or politics into a discussion is enough. I lost both my sensitivity points the other day by saying that women's suffrage led to prohibition when coffee-clatch small talk waned.

Also, how many people really have self-perceived sexual inadequacy as a weak point? If the point is sadism, speak of the hate or scorn that professional colleagues feel for careerist fellow-players, or of parenting inadequacies for the parenty ones. Wait, isn't this game just practice for free-ranging marital exchange of views?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:42 AM
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Who's blog sucks the worst?


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:44 AM
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Fuck, *whose


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:44 AM
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28

You people have made me cry just reading these questions.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:45 AM
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I lost both my sensitivity points the other day by saying that women's suffrage led to prohibition when coffee-clatch small talk waned.

What the fuck, this is both true and interesting. Your crowd is dreary. I guess I could get in trouble like this too, though, so I should pay attention.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:46 AM
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@16 Fabulous questions.

This game sounds like the ideal present (Christmas or otherwise) to give to people, especially couples, that you don't like. Just make sure you're not there when they play it. I predict enormous success when it goes on sale.


Posted by: MiddleAgedMan | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:46 AM
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Sounds like a normal Thanksgiving dinner conversation in my family.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:46 AM
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Heebie should force all partygoers to read Tobias Wolff's "Leviathan".

How about: "What is the cruelest thing you ever did as a high-schooler to someone of the same sex?" And then "...of the opposite sex?" Better than popularity -- I was neither particularly popular nor particularly loathed, but I did some truly shittacular things to people because I was an adolescent and therefore heartless.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:46 AM
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28:On the contrary, you should view this game as potentially a great boon for business.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:47 AM
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Roll the dice. Everyone whose penis measures that number of inches, move that number of spaces.

The first person without a penis to say "Challenge" may call BS on any of the people who moved, and if proven correct, she gets to move that number of spaces.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:47 AM
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I lost both my sensitivity points the other day by saying that women's suffrage led to prohibition when coffee-clatch small talk waned.

Women's suffrage is the 19th amendment, prohibition the 18th. Beer companies did fight against women's suffrage, because women were more likely to support prohibition than men.

I'm not sure how to put that in the form of a question.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:48 AM
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Less mean, but it was really funny: At Thanksgiving, a girl I hardly knew said to her friend, "We should go play Bingo again sometime! It was really fun, and plus for two dollars, you have a chance to win $100! That's really good odds."

From across the table, I said coldly, "That's not how odds work."

I didn't think ahead of time, it just came out, and fortunately she thought it was hilarious that I called her out like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:48 AM
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and fortunately she thought it was hilarious that I called her out like that.

The next day she called her Ob/Gyn friend and dropped the hint that someone was really shoveling it in on Turkey Day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:50 AM
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"how much of your work time do you spend commenting on obscure blogs? How much of your free time?"


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:51 AM
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39

Your crowd is dreary.

Welcome to adulthood.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:51 AM
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40

I'm not sure I understand why this game is being created, or who would want to play it. Is this a homemade product (which would deserve a giant "wtf?!") or something designed for commercial distribution (presumably as a gag gift)?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:51 AM
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31: All the people saying to their family members "Why won't you sleep with me?" must be really awkward.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:54 AM
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40 is a good idea.

"You've almost won! To get the final wizard's key, question the premise of the game itself, and explain the mental defects of the person who chose to play it, including at least three examples from the past."


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:54 AM
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Women's suffrage is the 19th amendment, prohibition the 18th.

Women's Christian Temperance Union led to both, right? Holdover blue laws in the WCTU suburbs of Chicago, DC, and Boston at least made for zany local liquor laws in some places still unrepealed. Where was the WCTU strongest near NYC?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:55 AM
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44

Whose success would bother you the most and why?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:56 AM
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45

The questions cannot be self-disclosing because people will not generally let it all hang out.

The focus needs to be on being cruel to someone else in the room. Of course, this is rarely funny or fun in person.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:56 AM
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This sounds like the holidays with my family -- fun!

Identify the player whose mom is most likely to have lied about the player's paternity. One point for each reason, double if the player agrees. Ten bonus points if a bloodtest has confirmed your suspicion. Minus 15 if your own dad was implicated.

Also, the game should offer both good and evil questions, but with substantially better scoring for evil. Maybe you have to share "good"points with a player of your choosing and get to penalize a player of you choosing with evil points.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:56 AM
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47

34: But what if the verification process produces a discrepancy?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:57 AM
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48

one of my friends always had to sleep with her feet uncovered coz she felt she's not breathing otherwise, had trouble with her bfs according to her


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:58 AM
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Hello! I am the engineer of this doomed-for-failure project. I was deadlocked at 74 questions, but this post has inspired me once more.

A few thoughts: for those concerned about playability, the game is most certainly intended as a novelty. The point of the questions is to create and uncomfortable atmosphere, based on their offensiveness or pointlessness. To advance on the board, a player must answer a question - but unlike Truth or Dare games where there is an incentive to answer the question/challenge as a measure of bravado, it's more of a 'golly I stuck my foot in my mouth' game. It's a bored game. I'm looking for questions with few clever-answer options.

Players advance based on points indicated on the card, the number of reasons they provide for a 'why' answer (cap at 5), or how otherwise indicated. Players cannot reference themselves (except for 'fattest person in the room' and 'couples who should not be together'), and failure to answer within thirty seconds results in moving back one space. Other players can challenge cop-out answers or answers they know to be lies.

Other questions include, "Are you racist? Provide evidence to support your claim," "Explain how an ethnic/national stereotype fits the ethnicity/nationality of the person two seats to your right. Move ahead two spaces; three spaces if you are addressing this to a person you had not previously met before today," and my just-for-fun question, "Advance one space for every time you cheated or plagiarized in school. If you did so more than five times, do not advance now; after the person next to you has completed their turn, advance a corresponding number of spaces, just like how you got through school."

Thank you for the discussion, and the comments so far. Salutations!


Posted by: SR | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:58 AM
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50

Who farted?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:01 AM
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(3) Name the player whose spouse/partner is most likely to cheat or to have already cheated.

True story. The first winter break after we all went off to cololege, a bunch of my high school friends gathered for New Years' Eve. A bunch of us wound up playing some sort of Truth or Dare board game where the player would draw a question and then everyone else would have to throw either a pitchfork or halo card indicating whether they thought the person was lying. Rachel draws "Have you ever cheated on your boyfriend/girlfriend?" Rachel smiles sweetly at Ross and says, "Of course not." Half the room goes to the same college as Rachel and knows better. Everyone throws the pitchfork. Ross laughs goodnaturedly, "Oh, you guys!" I wonder if he ever found out we weren't just teasing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:02 AM
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You know, it would be extremely easy to adopt the "One person chooses an option, then another person tries to accurately predict what the first person chose" game (I forget what it's called) for maximum awkwardness.

Or a Family Feud style game where, for example, everyone writes down the person in the room whose looks have declined the most in the past two years, and then one person tries to predict what the consensus was.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:02 AM
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Ah, I see. The questions in 49 actually could be fun in the right open-minded crowd.

The questions in this thread have been more vicious. It strikes me the game could be a good workout for scriptwriters looking to write an agonizing domestic drama, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf style.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:03 AM
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The point of the questions is to create and uncomfortable atmosphere, based on their offensiveness or pointlessness.

Wow, sounds like a blast.

It's a bored game.

Not the word I would have chosen.

"Are you racist? Provide evidence to support your claim,"

Isn't the obvious answer here "no" and then a list of reasons?

This game is a terrible idea, and I can't believe you're investing real time and thought into making it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:04 AM
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Isnt this already a tv game show?

Subtlety might be more fun:

"Describe the general characteristics of whites, blacks, asians, hispanics" might get more revealing and interesting answers than "How are you a racist?"


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:05 AM
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Who can create the most awkward comment in an Ask the Mineshaft thread?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:05 AM
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This game is a terrible idea, and I can't believe you're investing real time and thought into making it.

thinking about it, that's true too, but it's giving us a good thread.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:06 AM
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This game is a terrible idea, and I can't believe you're investing real time and thought into making it.

Which is surely what sensible people told the writers of all the reality tv shows that are making boatloads of money.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:07 AM
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Are we playing it yet?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:08 AM
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28: At least we didn't throw poo at you.

Also, re suffrage: it was implemented piecemeal by individual states prior to prohibition, IIRC. I suspect that the suffrage states would have leaned pro-prohibition anyway, but lack data.

There's no question that the temperance movement was deeply connected to the women's movement, though. Husbands getting drunk and beating (or abandoning) their wives was one of the standard tropes of the temperance propaganda.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:09 AM
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It would actually make a much better TV show for Z list celebs than a parlour game.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:10 AM
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62

"Describe the general characteristics of whites, blacks, asians, hispanics" might get more revealing and interesting answers than "How are you a racist?"

"Name a stereotype which you have always believed is true, but never said so out loud. Two points for every person who raises their hand to agree."


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:10 AM
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61: Or debate format during the primaries. Oh wait ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:11 AM
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Actually, given how mind-bogglingly humiliating the reality shows, and Jerry Springer, and all that is, maybe there really is a market of people who are eager to eviscerate themselves and their friends in a smaller setting.

Not saying its necessarily a good idea to hand a loaded weapon to the humiliation-bound crowd, just saying maybe they'd be receptive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:11 AM
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65

|| Heebie, how'd it go with Pedagogy? |>


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:11 AM
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66

Well wait, Di, now we're back to 40--is this being producted commerically, as a sort of gag-gift? Because something that could make money, I guess, and might not be a terrible idea at all. But if someone's putting in real work to make this game just to sit around and play with friends, that's colossally boneheaded. Unless the inventor is 13 years old, in which case it's still boneheaded but is at least excusable.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:11 AM
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67

66 to 58.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:12 AM
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I cannot imagine a game I would have less desire to play.

It would actually make a much better TV show for Z list celebs than a parlour game.

I agree, but I don't even think I could watch it happen to people I disliked.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:13 AM
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69

Who would you least like to have prepare you a dinner?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:13 AM
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65: Kind of okay, although they weren't able to make heads or tails of the reading. We went through it point by point, and then they kind of rallied and participated on the discussion questions that I got from a colleague.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:13 AM
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the other day i've read about the online streamed suicide, that was horrible


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:13 AM
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72

- Pick the person in the room to whom you're most attracted, and ask them "Why won't you sleep with me?"

The assumptions behind this question are revealing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:14 AM
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73

72: they are?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:16 AM
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74

And following on 66, I maintain that the stupidity of this project is unrelated to whether or not your friends might enjoy sitting around playing a game like this. That wouldn't exonerate the game at all, it would just prove that you're sadistic tools.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:16 AM
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See?! Working already.

And for Brock: when all is said and done, I'll have probably invested 7 hours in this by tomorrow evening, when I plan to be done with most of it; that's about the same amount of time I spend doing equally useless things each week (internet, picking my nose, etc.). Could I have read a book? Yes. Could I have watched 9 episodes of West Wing? Yes. Would I be any better off? Probably not.

The idea came out of an invitation to a game night next week: there are a lot of games that try to put people on the spot, but there are too many 'outs,' so I thought I'd make a game where people really were just stopped-in-their tracks repulsed/bored/disinterested.


Posted by: SR | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:17 AM
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76

That wouldn't exonerate the game at all, it would just prove that you're sadistic tools.

Hey, sadistic tools need games too! They can't just sit around knuckle-punching each others arms all day!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:18 AM
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I thought I'd make a game where people really were just stopped-in-their tracks repulsed/bored/disinterested.

You could just drop your pants and you'd have saves yourself seven hours.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:19 AM
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Who should we not invite to the next game night?

Who is being overly earnest in this thread?

Who has had the most failed attempts at humor in this thread?

Who is doing the best job of sucking up to heebie?

Why is heebie always right?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:19 AM
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I agree, but I don't even think I could watch it happen to people I disliked.

This is why I would add a "nice person" question option -- who in the room do you find most strikingly beautiful? Who's advice would you most readily trust? Who in the room are you most grateful to have in your life?, etc. So that those who are squeamish about being mean can avoid having to do so. But just like real life, it should be easier to get ahead by being a dick. Would be interesting to see which people go straight to mean, which people cave and go mean to avoid losing, and which people would rather lose than be mean.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:20 AM
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80

Alright, 77 was unnecessary. Sorry. I'm done here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:20 AM
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Holy shit, I know the sister/cousin/daughter/mother of the engineer of this game.

My advice is: just ask her, she'd be brilliant at coming up with these questions.

"Who here would be the best at coming up with these questions?" might not be a bad one.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:21 AM
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I know the sister/cousin/daughter/mother of the engineer of this game. My advice is: just ask her

My goodness, what a lot of inbreeding.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:22 AM
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79: Who here can match the evil genius of Di?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:22 AM
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84

I was about to say myself, it never even occured to me that nice questions could be awkward too, though I think we've all been at weddings/parties/life where one person praising another didn't make us wish we were invisible or dead. Thank you for the help!


Posted by: SR | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:26 AM
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85

"Praise the qualities of the person you think needs it most."


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:27 AM
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86

Obvious example of the Dikotimy approach:

Choose one to answer:
"Which person in the room will live the longest?"
"Which person in the room will die the youngest?"


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:27 AM
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87

85 ftw


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:27 AM
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88

Ben, that would be a correct deduction!


Posted by: AC | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:28 AM
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89

Give complements to three people. The rest of the players will vote on which was a lie.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:28 AM
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85: Very nice.

I was thinking along similar lines. "Who in the room is so nice that people lie to them to avoid hurting their feelings?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:30 AM
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91

Whom did you vote for in the last (two? three?) election(s) and why?


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:31 AM
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92

But just like real life, it should be easier to get ahead by being a dick. Would be interesting to see which people go straight to mean, which people cave and go mean to avoid losing, and which people would rather lose than be mean.

But, to add some spice to the game, there has to be some downside to losing. Otherwise, the losers get the secondary benefit of being seen as nice people.

So, if you lose, you have to do something exceedingly mean or cruel.

Will the nice people prefer to be slightly mean during th game to avoid having to be really mean at the end?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:31 AM
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I find it hard to believe that a psych study has not been done on this topic.

I'll bet that W-lfs-n cannot find it in under 5 minutes.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:32 AM
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there has to be some downside to losing

At the beginning of the game, everyone writes down the biggest issue each other player desperately needs to fix in their life. At the end, the loser has to read all of his/hers aloud. Alternatively, at the end everyone reads what they wrote about the loser.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:34 AM
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95

I was thinking that they have to stand naked in front of everyone while people critique their body.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:36 AM
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72, 73: The assumption here is that a person isn't sleeping with the person that they are most attracted to.

Did I get that right, ben?

To extrapolate wildly, this would be like assuming that every person is more attracted to at least one of their friends' spouses than they are to their own.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:37 AM
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97

We can go real deep here. Which person in the room suffers from an addiction problem? Which person has the most serious mental health issues and why? Which person is the most likely to cheat? Which person makes up stories about their life to make them seem more successful/popular/better-liked? Which person deserves some pity sex and why? Which person is slutty enough to actually have pity sex with the pitied and why? Speculate about which male in the room has the smallest penis.

I could go on and on... That said, I would never play this game even for five minutes.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:38 AM
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98

And in 97, by "cheat" I meant not sexual, but like cheating at a game/on a test/etc.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:38 AM
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99

Did anybody here play "Scruples"?

That wasn't any fun either.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:39 AM
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99: That's the game I was thinking of in 51! Yeah, awkward....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:40 AM
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Whatever, scruples was totally fun. When I was, like 12.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:40 AM
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Which person is slutty enough to actually have pity sex with the pitied and why?

Slutty? Don't you mean nice enough?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:40 AM
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And suddenly I'm seeing this as a game that *would* be fun, yet irrevocably destructive, to play in one of these comment threads....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:41 AM
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I was thinking that they have to stand naked in front of everyone while people critique their body.

Jazzercise/Maoist self-criticism groups! "My hips are too big. I have not been diligent with my step routine. I retain my bourgeois running-dog attachment to cupcakes."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:41 AM
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93: Hmmm, thought this might be the place to find some research (Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies) ... but turns out no. (Although I'm pleased to see that "We use the structural conduciveness of the internet.")


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:42 AM
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Maybe this is the same as scruples, but we played a variation in college where you ask a question, "Who here is most likely to sleep with their TA?" and then everyone votes on who they think is most likely, and then they drink or something. We also played a lot of I Never. But both of these were more "air your dirty laundry" than "eviscerate your buddy".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:43 AM
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I was thinking that they have to stand naked in front of everyone while people critique their body.

Double fail on the "big-boned", dude.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:44 AM
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Slutty? Don't you mean nice enough?

Most people don't have sex with people they neither are attracted to nor interested in, just for the sake of it. I wouldn't say a person who had such "pity" sex iwas really a "slut", but most people probably would.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:45 AM
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Jazzercise/Maoist self-criticism groups! "My hips are too big. I have not been diligent with my step routine. I retain my bourgeois running-dog attachment to cupcakes."

That made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:45 AM
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104: Actually I think this might be a semi-standard sorority horror story. The version I've heard is that pledges get naked and older sisters take permanent markers and circle places on the pledges' bodies where they need to lose weight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:45 AM
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Which person is slutty enough to actually have pity sex with the pitied and why?

And having identified this player, which pitiable person would be sad enough to accept pity sex from the foregoing?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:47 AM
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103: that would truly be the end of Unfogged.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:48 AM
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106: This sounds more cruel and less boring than Scruples.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:48 AM
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Actually, I would love to see Ogged's take on this. He had such a subtle interpersonal sense, witty and cutting but with this touch of saving kindness. Sigh. I miss him.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:49 AM
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And having identified this player, which pitiable person would be sad enough to accept pity sex from the foregoing?

Is the pitiable person who accepts sex necessarily the same person that was named as the recipient originally?

"Andy is most likely to have pity sex with the wretched Bea, but Chris is most likely to try to bogart Andy's offer when Bea turns him down."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:50 AM
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110: And then the nerdy, smart girl grabs the marker and draws a circle around the neck of the ringleader and everybody laughs? It's so comforting to live in a just world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:50 AM
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And having identified this player, which pitiable person would be sad enough to accept pity sex from the foregoing?

This is starting to sound like Monty Python and the HOly Grail's Nunnery scene.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:52 AM
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115. Probably something like that. I was trying not to think about the details.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:52 AM
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Ooh, another question from the archives: "Who in the room is most likely to have their feelings hurt by this game? If someone already has, describe the characteristics that lead to their oversensitivity."

So what happened was that I told the host I was bringing the game, and so then I actually felt compelled to. And it would look stupid and half-assed if I just scribbled on index cards and made a board out of construction paper. I'm going through the effort to make a 'real' board game because a 'real'-looking bad board game would look marginally less stupid than a bad-looking, bad board game. That, and because I find "how hard can it be?" challenges interesting. Some work (cutting my own hair), some don't (DIY bike repair = 60 pieces on the floor, 1 wrench in hand).


Posted by: SR | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:57 AM
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I think Di's right that the game would only be playable if there were kind questions as well as cruel ones. In fact, there would have to be more of them to up the Russian roulette sense of the whole thing. As is the game would be impossible sober, and drunk would be hilarious for a while (assuming good-natueed teasy friends) and then tearful and scarring.

More akward suggestions:

Who in the room has the most distinctive body odor and what does it remind you of?
What is your greatest regret involving someone at the table?
When was the last time you cried yourself to sleep?


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:05 AM
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Who in the room has the most distinctive body odor and what does it remind you of?

This one should probably be prefaced with "Sniff the pits of each person in the room."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:11 AM
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115, do you math people habitually use the word "Bea" as the second perszon in your examples? Because for things like this it's not good to use a name that only belongs to 80-year-olds.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:13 AM
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122: I just liked the Andy Griffithness of Witt's example the other day where Andy slept with Bea. I should have said that Opie is the third who would bogart Andy's offer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:15 AM
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This game would be great to play, despite all the awfulness, if it revealed the identity of someone who had had a crush on me in the past. I have never been aware of such a person, and it's always made me feel unsatisfied.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:20 AM
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85: "Ben's brilliance is revealed in his insightful and succinct question."

(possibly pwned by OFE in 87)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:21 AM
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Move back one space for every day since you last masturbated or viewed pornography. If you have masturbated today, move forward one space.

What is the sleaziest thing you have ever done to get sex (or in the attemt thereto)?

If forced to choose on pain of death, which player's mother or father would you have sex with?

Which player would you least trust to apartment-sit your place, and why?

Which player do you think has committed the most grievous criminal offense? What is the offense you suspect (or know)?

If you were in the Donner party, which player would be the first to resort to cannibalism?

If the player on your left could trade places in life with any other player, which would it be?

Of which player are you most envious and why?

If you could achieve your life's fondest dream on the condition of causing unending misery to another player, whom would you afflict?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:24 AM
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So, SR, are you going to report back about how this actually goes?

I'm really torn, because I certainly come from a 68-ish radical background where cruelty is kind of an epatering the bourgeoises thing--think of Bunuel films or Weekend, where cruelty and discomfort are foregrounded in order to expose the horrible roots of the bourgeois forms of politeness, kindness, etc. If you had the right crowd, a kind of cruel, heroin-using, nihilistic-degenerate-left crowd (and I'm not really critiquing these categories) this game could be kind of awesome and productive.

But if it's just a bunch of upper-middle-class graduate students playing the psychic equivalent of gay chicken, eeeesh.

That sounds mean. But it just seems like a certain kind of really privileged person could get a sort of decadent kick out of a game like this precisely because the status quo would reassert itself afterwards--a temporary turning-upsidedown of social norms that would ultimately change nothing.

Also, I bet the most secure people would want to play this and the least secure would go along in order not to seem wussy...and it would hurt and it would be horrible.

I go back and forth on the bourgeois virtues, but I'm not willing to trash them just for kicks; there has to be something on offer in terms of a better tomorrow.

But a movie about people playing this game would have potential--can't you just picture it? Some French damn-the-bourgeoisie director, a lot of bleakness, a white-walled bohemian apartment....There'd be a failed murder attempt at the end which would only highlight the pathos and uselessness of everyone involved.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:25 AM
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"Is it my youth or my tits that make you think I am your secretary, notwithstanding the fucking J.D. hanging on my goddamned wall?"

Okay, maybe that had nothing to do with this game.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:28 AM
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Does this game have a name yet?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:33 AM
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But it just seems like a certain kind of really privileged person could get a sort of decadent kick out of a game like this precisely because the status quo would reassert itself afterwards--a temporary turning-upsidedown of social norms that would ultimately change nothing.

Because, really, what point is there to a game that doesn't immediately bring about a social and cultural revolution?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:34 AM
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128 suggests the horrible-awesome-horrible potential for this game to be used as part of "team building" exercises.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:35 AM
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Your butt?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:36 AM
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OMG, a sadistic questions thread? Don't you people realize that we are over the snarky, sadistic phase of life, and are on to kindness and peace?

I might read the thread now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:36 AM
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I am somehow reminded of Greg Costikyan's unfinished RPG Bestial Acts.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:37 AM
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128: Neither one. When I hire a secretary, I look for a woman who's both younger and bigger titted than you. But you'll do in a pinch, sweetcakes.

Jeezus, Kotimy! The header should be in Arial bold 12pt! Do I have to spell out every goddamned thing for you?


Posted by: Dickhead Partner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:42 AM
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Because, really, what point is there to a game that doesn't immediately bring about a social and cultural revolution?

No, what point is there to a game that will end up making the most vulnerable people in the room feel really bad and probably destroy at least a couple of friendships (FTR, I have actually played a game rather similar to this in college back before I was really a dirty hippie, and it was a really bad idea--we thought we were art radicals, but we were really just mean/jealous/stupid) unless there's some genuine good that will come out of it?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:45 AM
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Frowner gets it right.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:46 AM
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I don't believe that anyone would submit to this game. Maybe two or three questions, and then most people would wander to the buffet table and "forget" their turns.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:48 AM
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Frowner!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:50 AM
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129: The working title is "Awkward Silence: The Get-Together Game for Friends Who'd Like to Stay Apart"

I don't think it is a game that is meant to be played, rather, you just read the questions and laugh.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:50 AM
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Okay, 135 is a little scary, given that the rant in 128 was in reaction to a partner who (a) insists on Arial for headings, and (b) is sort of infamous for, uh, not exactly looking big-titted women at the firm in the eye.

I'll get back to that photocopying right away, DP!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:51 AM
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"Unfogged: The Home Edition"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:51 AM
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...a partner who (a) insists on Arial for headings, and (b) is sort of infamous for, uh, not exactly looking big-titted women at the firm in the eye.

I'm not a partner.

I hate Arial.

Damn it, I'm trying.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:53 AM
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I don't believe that anyone would submit to this game. Maybe two or three questions, and then most people would wander to the buffet table and "forget" their turns.

The thing is, my little group of friends all already sort of had a knives-out attitude towards each other--competitive over who was the smartest, most sexually successful, best at writing/being punk rock/whatever, and there had been a lot of intragroup dating/sleeping together/unrequited love. (And yes, everyone is competitive everywhere anyway, sort of, but this was a bit more so.) and the game was a great way to compete--who's toughest?--and to get back at or just attack others in the group. In a healthy social group, yeah, people would do the first round in a light-hearted way and then drop it...



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:54 AM
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I'm not a partner.

Don't worry -- you sound like you have all the right qualities. You'll make it big someday!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:54 AM
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103: that would truly be the end of Unfogged.

It would be kind of funny when all the people who were offline that day checked in and thought, "that's an awfully long comment thread, I wonder what they were talking about?"

It would be like survivors emerging into a post-apocalyptic wasteland


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:58 AM
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I know it's probably unjustified, but I can't help believing that anyone who insists on Arial as part of a document is simply demonstrating bad character.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 10:58 AM
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I go back and forth on the bourgeois virtues, but I'm not willing to trash them just for kicks; there has to be something on offer in terms of a better tomorrow.

Frowner!

That is a great line.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:00 AM
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And suddenly I'm seeing this as a game that *would* be fun, yet irrevocably destructive, to play in one of these comment threads....

Unfogd got dangerously close to an "Identify the commenter you think you would be most romantically compatible with" thread a couple months ago. I blame read, that Yente of the internet.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:00 AM
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Arial's no better justified.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:01 AM
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my little group of friends all already sort of had a knives-out attitude towards each other--competitive over who was the smartest, most sexually successful, best at writing/being punk rock/whatever,

See, I much prefer bourgeois values of courtesy to this kind of thing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:01 AM
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144 sounds like grad school.

79 is interesting: But just like real life, it should be easier to get ahead by being a dick. Would be interesting to see which people go straight to mean, which people cave and go mean to avoid losing, and which people would rather lose than be mean.

My whole freakin' life path has been trying to be willing to lose rather than be mean. Or, it feels like that into adulthood.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:01 AM
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149: ooh, I know! I know!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:02 AM
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"Who has the worst font choices/formatting skills and what leads you to say this?" That would be an apocalyptic friendship-ending question right there down amongst the graphic designer DFHs.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:02 AM
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I go back and forth on the bourgeois virtues, but I'm not willing to trash them just for kicks; there has to be something on offer in terms of a better tomorrow.

This is why I'm not going to CMU's Activities Board film series's special public screening of the new 30 million dollar porn movie tonight.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:02 AM
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149: Ned, I thought you always wanted a stranger to tell you about a crush? Anyway, that wasn't a mean thread. However, I will take credit for shifting it to a "most absurd pairing".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:02 AM
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I'm beginning to think that there is an ethical issue with bringing this game into existence. Healthy adults will treat it as a novelty, laugh at the questions, and avoid playing it in any serious way.

But teenagers and college kids will actually do this, the same way they play Truth or Dare or I Never.

By creating this game, we are enabling disastrous, misspent, cruel youth!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:04 AM
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I can't help believing that anyone who insists on Arial as part of a document is simply demonstrating bad character

When LizardBreath and I started at my firm, the standard for all documents was Arial. I spent two and a half years hearing her complain bitterly about it. In response, I got almost everyone to switch to Times New Roman. She left anyway. Apparently, the only reason she joined us was to change our font preferences and, her mission done, she moved on. Sort of the Lone Ranger of Times New Roman,


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:05 AM
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You did entire documents in Arial? Oh dear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:07 AM
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Times New Roman sucks.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:08 AM
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See, I much prefer bourgeois values of courtesy to this kind of thing.

And rightly so. But did you at that age? And if you didn't, does it matter?

In this country Arial is a brand of washing powder. It's quite handy for doing laundry, but it's neither green nor hypo-allergenic, so I'd recommend something else. San serif typefaces should never be used for printed matter unless you want people to think you got a degree in Communications Studies in 1985.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:09 AM
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See, I much prefer bourgeois values of courtesy to this kind of thing.

Well, I found an entirely new social circle shortly after the game and related events--the thing is, radical cruelty is never just about destabilizing bourgeois virtues; it's also about enacting bourgeois cruelties and getting a secret kick out of it.

152: It was, I think, like grad school. This is why I only hang out with my grad student buddies in very small groups, or when the DFHs have a significant numerical advantage.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:09 AM
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Between pairings threads and over-confessing threads, I'd say we've been victimized by this sort of game enough. Also, this means that we do not count as normal healthy adults.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:09 AM
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You did entire documents in Arial?

True. I kind of liked it, but came to accept that the more traditional Times New Roman choice was the better one.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:11 AM
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Which player uses shitty fonts?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:15 AM
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163: Also, this means that we do not count as normal healthy adults.

I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't want to get overly meta here (really, no), but what happens here from time to time mostly keeps the knives sheathed.

In general, if you know perfectly well how to hurt someone, it's your responsibility to keep that under protection.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:17 AM
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For each of the other players, write down two numbers: their annual income, and the fair value of the work they do.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:19 AM
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Garamond


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:20 AM
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Stupid game. Why don't you have your friends play a nice game of "Fuck You Clown", like normal healthy adults?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:21 AM
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radical cruelty is never just about destabilizing bourgeois virtues; it's also about enacting bourgeois cruelties and getting a secret kick out of it.

I don't think the bourgeois are necessarily all that cruel. In fact, I think radicals systematically exaggerate bourgeois cruelty in order to give themselves (the radicals) an excuse to be crueler.

I think ordinary people of any stripe -- and the bourgeois are pretty ordinary -- tend to be kinder than avant-garde artistic types. Because ordinary people are more resigned to living within their limitations.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:24 AM
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170 might have come off harsher than I meant it, I do sort of believe it at some level but I'm also just playing with ideas.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:24 AM
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163: Robert, do you remember the "Purity Test" moronic quiz thing that hit our senior year? Where we sat around in groups answering questions about whether we had pissed on someone, etc?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:25 AM
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I think ordinary people of any stripe -- and the bourgeois are pretty ordinary -- tend to be kinder than avant-garde artistic types. Because ordinary people are more resigned to living within their limitations.

Which, arguably, is what makes a game like this titillating to the ordinary people -- it offers "permission" to act outside of the normal limitations. Eg. My limitations/inhibitions would absolutely, positively preclude me from being able to actually play a game like this. But, gosh it was kind of fun to indulge my secret evil side and suggest questions via the premise that I am not *actually* being mean.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:28 AM
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Robert, do you remember the "Purity Test" moronic quiz thing that hit our senior year? Where we sat around in groups answering questions about whether we had pissed on someone, etc?

I thought that had hit every school every year since 1970.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:31 AM
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Another way to put it might that humility and kindness are deeply related, and people who decide to be revolutionary radicals who challenge the existing order of society are often not very humble. I mean, certain saintly types excepted.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:32 AM
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174: Surely it had. But our weird little school had never seen it. It had to be brought to us by miscreants from Wellesley, of all places.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:34 AM
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Also, re suffrage: it was implemented piecemeal by individual states prior to prohibition, IIRC.

If memory serves, a bunch of western states (Montana stands out, for some reason) has early suffrage because they were having real trouble drawing women there.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:37 AM
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Robert, do you remember the "Purity Test" moronic quiz thing that hit our senior year? Where we sat around in groups answering questions about whether we had pissed on someone, etc?

Check the Unfogged archives. I believe a similar test was discussed here.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:44 AM
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If memory serves, a bunch of western states (Montana stands out, for some reason) has early suffrage because they were having real trouble drawing women there.

Wyoming, I think.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:44 AM
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Wyoming.

Montana didn't go til 1914.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:45 AM
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Montana sent the first woman to the U.S. House -- Jeanette Rankin.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:47 AM
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The state motto of Wyoming is Equal Rights. Montana's is Gold and Silver.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:48 AM
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175: Another way to put it might that humility and kindness are deeply related, and people who decide to be revolutionary radicals who challenge the existing order of society are often not very humble. I mean, certain saintly types excepted.

You're testing out ideas, so I'll bite: while yes, humility and kindness are related, I think you're confusing types of what you call revolutionary radicals. What are those? DFHs? Or anarchists? The former are pretty mellow, you know (humble, kind); the latter I don't know many of, but my sense is that they share a lot of values with DFHs, so.

I gather what you're going on is the notion that challenging or rejecting the status quo is unkind in itself, if only in virtue of seeming arrogant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:56 AM
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Yes, I remember the purity test, and I remember the thread here that came from one, too. Lets not go back to those places.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:59 AM
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My theory on DFHs is that maybe half of them have social anxiety, and see DFHland as a less judgemental place with fewer rules to unexpectedly trip you up.

Similarly there's a certain type of person who's really into yoga and being all zen, that just makes me think that they're a total stress-bucket on the inside.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:02 PM
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PGD: When I think about the "bourgeois virtues" I think of the particular forms that virtue takes--not precisely that "kindness" is only practiced by the bourgeoisie or whatever, but that there's a specific set of kindnesses and cruelties that are class-linked and performed in ways determined by class. For instance (to oversimplify) , it's not polite among middle class people to ask how much others make. It's humiliating to admit that you don't make much and there's a noblesse oblige "don't make people feel bad about making less money than I do" thing. Partly this is the habit we grow up with; partly it's because we all tend to feel on some level that how much money you make strongly reflects your worth as a human being. I am given to understand that people who have inherited wealth don't feel this way; I know from recent experiences that among the working class (the gente, right?) this attitude is less common because there's more discourse about economic uncertainty and more acceptance of the idea that class determines wealth and success.

This isn't to say that we'd all be happier if we all constantly compared wages (although it would probably help unionization drives); just that one is tactful in different ways depending on one's class background.

Noblesse oblige-type stuff--that's obviously a class virtue; thrift has a stronger hold when you're making enough money to make saving meaningful; etc.

Middle class cruelties are also sorta-kinda loosely describable.

I wasn't trying to oppose bourgeois and radical so much as bourgeois, aristocratic and working class. The reasons to attack the bourgeois virtues (or whatever) are more about attacking how they prop up social inequality than about who is more punk rock, even though the discussion often devolves in that direction.

A really great example I just thought of: in white feminist circles, it's a common problem that when a woman of color gets mad about racism the discussion turns into "but you aren't being civil, how can you expect us to listen to you when you use that tone?" Now, yes, it's true that one catches more flies with honey, etc, but in this situation (and it's one I've actually seen in real life, not just on the tubes) "civility" (a virtue) trumps direct discussion of racism. White middle class feminists get to have a conversation about how to be polite when talking about racism (which is way more comfortable for them) while feminists of color don't have their concerns addressed.

Civility is a virtue, but it's often brought into play as a tool of whoever has the power. (Except DFHs; DFHs tend to prefer meanness under the guise of "telling it like it is". Although I want to add that my current bookstore collective is awesome and radical without being mean.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:02 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:02 PM
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I think what PGD is getting at doesn't have so much to do with radical ideas as the kind of personality that is able to organize movements that actually challenge the status quo. It takes a certain amount of hubris to, for instance, decide to set up an alternative intentional community. Often it turns out that people who found communes have very authoritarian personalities, even if their ideas are all peace and love. The Farm has been cited here as an example. I've seen some others as well.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:03 PM
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It would be like survivors emerging into a post-apocalyptic wasteland

||

Apropos of nothing but this comment, if you're in the DC area and you have free time this weekend, go see Boom at Woolly Mammoth before it closes. It's awesome, and I'm not just saying that because we're friends with the entire cast and many other people at Woolly.

|>


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:09 PM
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188: Although there is a huge tendency to buy into "but the left is just as bad as the right; social change just puts left authoritarians into power" discourses. Partly, yes, Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot (blamed in ways that we don't blame Pinochet or Franco, for example), but also partly a huge and intentional effort by right-wing public intellectuals to create a nation-building "anti-totalitarian" intellectual framework during the Cold War.

Also, I think, partly as a defense mechanism--as long as we're comfortably sure that significant social change just brings more authoritarianism, we don't have to worry about questions of social justice. (And seriously, that's not a despicable feeling to have; life is hard, work days are long, and working for social change is more work, it really is. It's not all drinkin' Black Label and watching documentaries.)

There are successful left projects run by groups who work to keep interpersonal stuff from getting screwed up. On a macro level, the Zapatistas and the radical movement in Oaxaca; locally, Peace Coffee, Communities United Against Police Brutality, my bookstore collective (Since 1993, baby! That's like a hundred in activist years!), the land trust project here....None of those organizations are perfect; all the ones I'm familiar with struggle with classic DFH problems. But they last, they do more good than harm and people honestly try to be decent to each other.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:11 PM
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186.last: Except DFHs; DFHs tend to prefer meanness under the guise of "telling it like it is".

This made me chuckle. But really, what else are you going to do? Sometimes you have to tell it like it is, because nobody else will. I wouldn't say DFHs prefer this, but sometimes, well, you know.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:19 PM
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190: I agree completely that there are important and successful radical movements that get around interpersonal issues, and that the American left hasn't had a serious problem with authoritarianism for 50 years, largely I think because of the good instincts of leftists.

Pete Seeger has a wonderful anecdote about his brief involvement with the American Communist Party. He went to a few meetings in the 30s and dropped out, not because he knew all about the abuses of Stalin. He was as naive about Stalin as the rest of the American left. Pete decided not to be a part of the CP because he didn't want to be a part of a secret society. "There was something about being so secret that just didn't sit right with me."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:20 PM
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Ask the Mineshaft


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:35 PM
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Sometimes you have to tell it like it is, because nobody else will.

Why, Parsi? I know dozens of people whose coping strategy involves drifting through life in a haze of self deception and pretty pink fictions. As long as they pay their taxes and stay out of the way, they do no harm. Why no leave them to it?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:47 PM
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Why no leave them to it?

People can be surprisingly moralistic about this sort of thing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:51 PM
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Sometimes you have to tell it like it is, because nobody else will.

Why, Parsi? I know dozens of people whose coping strategy involves drifting through life in a haze of self deception and pretty pink fictions. As long as they pay their taxes and stay out of the way, they do no harm. Why no leave them to it?

Surely these are not mutually exclusive; sometimes you don't have to tell it like it is.

And the key feature is "meanness, under the guise of telling it like it is"--getting a charge out of saying something unpleasant and an extra charge out of feeling that you're right to do so when it's not needed to achieve your ends and when being nice would work pretty much as well. Or even when being mean actively undercuts your efforts. "We should probably make sure the store is wheelchair accessible" or even "It's a bit crappy to be a radical bookstore that's not wheelchair accessible" versus "You ableist loons don't care whether the store is wheelchair accessible because you're blinded by your privilege."


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 12:58 PM
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194: There you go, 195 has the answer. Of course I'm not talking about throwing nasty truths in people's faces when it's just about, say, the personal shortcomings you might see in them.

But speaking out about excessively consumeristic behavior, about the ways in which people tend to raise their children to conceive of themselves as consumers or reproducers, the ways in which people divorce themselves from the natural world, thereby perpetuating their alienation from it and contributing to its destruction .... Sure, that's fair game on occasion.

Why? Because they're affecting the rest of us, and I call them to responsibility.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:04 PM
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I see that I was becoming exclamation-pointy. More mildly, reasonably, and directly, to: i>As long as they pay their taxes and stay out of the way, they do no harm.

The point is that they do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:09 PM
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Oops - consider the italics in 198 corrected.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:11 PM
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I've been thinking a lot lately about the point of speaking. Often, where someone has something difficult and non-obvious to say (years of mismanagement have created a culture of blameshifting at this organization, fixing the problem needs to begin at the top, say, or remarks about how some family pattern or deep-seated problem manifests in an SO or close friend), the benefit of speech is to the speaker rather than to the hearer-- that's why calling close friends to vent about work or love can be so nice, though at least for me, this gets harder to actually do with every passing year.

Problem-solving speech is different, but that's usually caginess and persistence and calculating, no feelings involved.

I think the main virtue of telling it like it is is often soliliquy, in other words. Not useless, but not the same as conversation.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:14 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:16 PM
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200: I think the main virtue of telling it like it is is often soliliquy, in other words. Not useless, but not the same as conversation.

Maybe; sometimes. The topic makes me grumpy, as will have become clear, but I do think about this quite a bit. I've become a lot quieter as time goes on as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:24 PM
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years of mismanagement have created a culture of blameshifting at this organization

Boy, am I ever glad I don't know any organizations like that!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:26 PM
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Isn't there a pursuit of kindness that is radical and progressive? A kindness that self-interrogates and all of that? Isn't ethical being-in-the-world a longer way of describing kindness?

I was very tempted to make this comment prescriptive and to sign it Opinionated Baby Jesus or similiar, but I want people actually to respond to it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:31 PM
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The problem is that actually believing and acting on that "turn the other cheek" BS is HARD.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:37 PM
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204: Of course I think there is. But I can't talk about it. You're such a hippie, by the way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:45 PM
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Yggles is referencing his roots, as it were.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:45 PM
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There are other styles of not speaking besides turning the other cheek. I found Deborah Tannen's book about talking, though intended as an exploration of differences between men's and women's styles of speech and occasionally cutesy, to be really thought-provoking. Goffman is good on speech also.

Obviously, what one thinks about the world affects how one talks; scorn is widely seen as a young person's style, but I'm having a hard time outgrowing it myself, and it seems popular enough here as well.

Also, my organization sure has problems, but happily not that one; just intending a widely-understandable example of purposeless telling it like it is. The old testament prophets are like this-- we're richer for Isaiah's having chosen to speak, but who did he help in his lifetime and how?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:50 PM
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i recall i thought once that Meekins was MY
a saying goes 'nyaluunaas shuluun n' which means better direct than sugar-coated
i'd prefer that method if i were the listening side
i called to the Bahamas cruise company and they said i will blow it out if won't register right away
i blew it out i'm afraid, so pity


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:55 PM
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strange, all my sentences open with i, when in my language it gets omitted usually, just verbs are sufficient


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 1:58 PM
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204: I think so, most of the time. But sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind, so to speak. That makes it tricky!

In my own political work, I try to be generous and loyal--that sounds dumb, but then I'm not from a philosophy background. Generous without regard for gratitude and without a great concern for "deservingness"--which on a material level means, for example, buying a sandwich for my horrible prat friend because I know he's hungry even though he's snotty about how bourgeois I am and not-so-secretly thinks I'm a sucker and that I ought to be all hardcore and tell him to go dumpster his own lunch; paying for stuff at the bookstore when I can and not insisting on repayment unless I genuinely need the money; not trying to gain power in a situation because I know something that other people don't, whether that's an academic thing, an activist experience thing or just a social thing (I know a relevant piece of gossip, for example, and I can either prevent someone from messing up an interaction by intervening or I can let them put their foot in it). All these things are more difficult than they sound because they require not being annoyed by people and not expecting reciprocity; my messed-up sad little friends will never buy me lunch or lend me a book or ask me how my day went or even be particularly polite to me (at least not until they have enough emotional energy to think about those things) but that's not why I try to be decent to them.

I often think about Orwell's essay on Tolstoy, where he observes (perhaps wrongly about Tolstoy but intelligently from a general standpoint) that if you give up power you can't do so while still expecting the trappings of power. If you're committed to real generosity and real loyalty, you stick to those premises even when people are total jerks, because you believe that in the long run generosity and loyalty transfigure your relations. If you make what Orwell characterizes as Tolstoy's mistake, you're generous and loyal as long as people are grateful right on back, and you stop when they're not. That's not generosity and loyalty so much as a transaction.

Virtues taken to the extreme, I think, break the system. Rather as poverty appears in The Name of the Rose, which I was just rereading last night, where the radical poverty of the heretics threatens to overturn all existing social relations. (For good and for ill, noted.)



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:00 PM
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211: Try is the operative; if I managed my tone a little better 211 would sound less like a pat on the back. It should read with the subtext of "I get pretty frustrated with my radical friends, sometimes, and I feel like they don't always have my back".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:02 PM
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Wasn't Yglesias supposed to start blogging here under a thinly-veiled pseudonym, like Merkin or Meekin or something? Whatever came of that?


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:02 PM
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IIR is ogged, my meekins detecting powers say so


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:08 PM
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The problem is that actually believing and acting on that "turn the other cheek" BS is HARD.

Well of course it is. Ethical kindness is the most difficult thing in the world.

purposeless telling it like it is

Honesty and directness are valuable, and I agree that sometimes you've "got to be cruel to be kind," but real kindness weighs pros and cons and impacts and effects, and generally tries to do more good than harm.

Virtues taken to the extreme, I think, break the system.

I agree, but I'm far too weak-willed in my own life and faith ever to act on that principle.

You're such a hippie, by the way.

Well, yes. Much more hippie than my particular version of Christianity had room for.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:10 PM
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Bleah, half the comments at the Yggles thread are by Ste/ve S/ai/ler


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:15 PM
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If your friends need a game to help them be mean to you, then you've chosen badly. Time to start over.


Posted by: DL | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:22 PM
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215: Kidding aside, "don't be a sucker" is so deeply embedded in our culture that a lot of the scorekeeping we do isn't even fully conscious. I make no claims to ethical kindness, but I do try to embrace suckerhood at least a bit.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:23 PM
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214: Huh, I totally posted 213 without having seen read's 209.

I'm pretty sure I'm not ogged; if ogged named himself after a flightless bird his handle would be Not-Gay-At-All Ostrich.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:27 PM
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Meekins' seekrit identity is far more fascinating than that. Not that it matters, given that s/he apparently intends never to post again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:29 PM
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218: I like the 'embracing suckerhood' phrasing. I don't do it as much as I should, but when I'm trying to be kind to people, that's what it feels like -- cutting loose from reciprocity and scorekeeping (or, rather, trying to keep better score in terms of my obligations, and not keep score in terms of other peoples.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:33 PM
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I know I've given money to beggars who've gone off and bought booze or drugs with it, and I'm fine with that. Maybe they really were hungry or needed bus fare to get to the shelter or whatever, but if all I provided was an hour or so of numbness, that's fine too.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:37 PM
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Meekins' seekrit identity is far more fascinating than that

The Powers That Be will go to any lengths to cover up Yglesias's dark history of iced tea blogging.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:38 PM
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You know, I never knew about cold-brewed iced tea until I read the Meekins post, and now I make it all the time. So, godspeed, Meekins, you have done well for the world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:48 PM
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Yay, Friday guessing game! Is Meekins...ScarJo?

(This could take a while).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:53 PM
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So when the new posters were recruited no contract was signed committing them to a minimum number of posts? For shame.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:54 PM
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When my friends and I are all together, we watch football and argue more passionately than you might expect of anyone outside Detroit over the virtues of various automotive industry bailout packages. The nasty stuff we save for IM/whenever someone is foolish enough to miss a group activity.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:55 PM
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Meekins' seekrit identity is far more fascinating than that.

Meekins is alameida's in-laws?!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 2:55 PM
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But sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind

But only in the right measure.

I also find that it's productive to think about the tension between "generosity" and "don't be a sucker." The problem for me is that, recognizing that one needs to maintain some habits of valueing one's own time, energy, and money, how do you keep those habits from manifesting at the wrong time.

For example, it is appropriate for me to be annoyed at someone who wastes my time for no reason -- because my time is worth something; so it is right to be annoyed at companies who, for example, make you spend 40 minutes on the phone when you call support before you can talk to someone who knows anything.

At the same time it is natural, but foolish, to be angered at standing in line when the line is running fairly and efficiently.

It is difficult to train oneself to have both habits -- to be patient in line, but not just blindly accept every restriction placed on oneself

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch, / He said to me, you must not ask for so much. / And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door, / She cried to me, hey, why not ask for more?

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 3:06 PM
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211 is pretty cool. I'd only add that there's not particularly any turning the other cheek going on in that; you can perfectly well speak your mind at some felicitous time, making it clear what's bothersome. Should you choose.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 4:24 PM
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Meekins is Th


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 4:27 PM
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229: As a wise man once said, "I want it all. Escalator of life."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 6:59 PM
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I think ordinary people of any stripe -- and the bourgeois are pretty ordinary -- tend to be kinder than avant-garde artistic types. Because ordinary people are more resigned to living within their limitations.

This is a very funny comment. And also, I think, basically true (with all due allowance for notable exceptions, of course).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:14 PM
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Evidently md 20/400 came too close to the truth.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 8:54 PM
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Meekins is Thomas Friedman?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:21 PM
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Oh, come on, MC. You come from a criminal Fenian family.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 9:29 PM
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236: Now hush up, Emerson, will you? We don't like to talk about that branch. At least not in mixed company.

(I've looked into the records, and it's actually sort of, well, basically, true. But nobody in the family will ever give me the straight story).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-08 11:11 PM
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Nada Surf was an excellent show, tight band. I love you all ! You especially, Frowner, you thoughtfully refuted my crude generalizations and after the revolution I will speak up in the consensus deliberative process to suggest that you be given an important role in the collective.

I'm not sure whether its a good or bad thing that a post about saying mean things has morphed so quickly into a thread about kindness.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 7:25 AM
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if you're in the DC area and you have free time this weekend, go see Boom at Woolly Mammoth before it closes. It's awesome, and I'm not just saying that because we're friends with the entire cast and many other people at Woolly

Fedward, you must know my cousin then. He's the one who also just played Mercutio.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 9:09 AM
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Small world. We just heard he's been cast in the next play my girlfriend's doing, too.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 9:35 AM
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Small world indeed! It also turns out that one of his best actor friends is the sibling of an old grad school colleague of mine.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 6-08 5:06 PM
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