Re: No entity could be more proud of its outline.

1

There's a present in that post for neb.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:38 AM
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given that it's a national chain

Headquartered in Minnesota.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:46 AM
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My theory is that Texans are so overflowing with nationalism that they need at least twothree objects for it, America and Texas and Jesus.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:49 AM
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This kind of crap just perpetuates the notion that there's something inherently great about this state, which just undermines any discussions about how much we're doing wrong.
So you're arguing that Texas is to the United States as the United States is to the world?
Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:51 AM
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which just undermines any discussions about how much we're doing wrong, but increases the odds that we'll secede.

(I know, I know: wait a little while and the Latinos will wrangle it back to Democratic. Or are they Hispanics out by you?)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:52 AM
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4: You know, that is spot-on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:52 AM
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3: I think you have to include a few sports teams in that list, too.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:58 AM
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7: you think Texas is extra-rabid about sports? Sports mania seems pretty universal.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:02 AM
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This is kind of off topic, but the mention of Texas made me think of it. You know the genre of jokes about everything in Texas being BIG, and Texans bragging about it? (Texan: "I can drive all day, and all night, and all day again and not get from one side of my ranch to the other." New Englander: "Ayup. Used to have a truck like that myself.")

I am told by a Uruguyan friend that there is a precisely similar class of jokes (often the same joke, in fact) told in the Latin American context with Brazil in the role of Texas (and Mexico in the complementary role of the place where everything's small). Do with this knowledge what you will.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:03 AM
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I know, I know: wait a little while and the Latinos will wrangle it back to Democratic.

This is actually happening pretty fast: State House of Reps is is only 76 Republicans to 74 Democrats now.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:06 AM
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mi pais no es tanto pequeño


Posted by: opinionated mexican | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:07 AM
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They have a DQTexas website with an opportunity: DQ® is collecting your stories to be featured on our packaging. Please let us know what you like about Texas by clicking Submit Story. Or of that is not lame enough for you, download The DQ That's What I Like About Texas Ringtone (I cannot make out all the lyrics). Apparently Texas has the largest number of DQs in the US and they *are* special, Most locations in Texas, including those which otherwise resemble the Brazier or Grill & Chill formats, use a separate menu branded as Texas Country Foods. Among other differences, "Hungr-Bustr" burgers are available in place of the Brazier and GrillBurger offerings.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:08 AM
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10: I credit Willie Nelson.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:09 AM
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I don't know. The commercials sound idiotic, but a special pride in one home place (whether home/neighborhood/city/state/nation) seems to me to be one of the more attractive features of genuine (as opposed to shallow, modern/political) conservatism. And doesn't have to "undermine" discussions about what's wrong. (And honestly--I don't know Texas politics well, but I'd be a little surprised if it actually does. My guess is that a preponderance of stupid conservative political ideas are what tends to undermine discussions about what's wrong, rather a genuine love of everything that's special and unique about Texas.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:10 AM
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Among other differences, "Hungr-Bustr" burgers are available in place of the Brazier and GrillBurger offerings.

Wow.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:10 AM
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The DQ That's What I Like About Texas Ringtone

I kind of really, really want this, the way I always thought it would be funny to get the McDonald's golden arches as a tattoo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:11 AM
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I like the little Texas-shaped shaped ice cubes. They're much more interesting than the default Colorado-shaped ice cubes.

And 4 is indeed spot on, although I also think that Texas and Australlia have a lot in common in terms of being inordinately proud both of what is actually a very short, rather appalling history, and of things that aren't actually unique at all.

Yes, Mr. Texan/Australlian, every other place in the whole wide world also has cute sayings, distinctive accents, colloquial names for things, etc. etc. etc..


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:16 AM
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My guess is that a preponderance of stupid conservative political ideas are what tends to undermine discussions about what's wrong, rather a genuine love of everything that's special and unique about Texas.

Probably so. But I have definitely had conversations where the other party does not agree to the premise that anything needs fixing, despite our school system being in shambles, some of the highest rates in the country of women and children living in poverty, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:18 AM
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Ice cubes even better than Texases.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:18 AM
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Re: DQ, it is still the default fast food place for any Texas town small enough to only have one fast food place. I seem to recall reading that they specifically adopted this as a strategy, focussing on smaller markets that McDonalds, BK, etc. wouldn't touch.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:20 AM
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Now I want to launch a Web 2.0 startup called hungrbustr.com. Selling hamburgers over the Internet! With Ajax!

(When that article on the decline and fall of Argentina was going around -- Argentina being a country that at the turn of the last century was as wealthy as first-world nations like Australia and France -- I kept on thinking that it was what would have happened to America if America had been settled by Texans.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:20 AM
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Actually, seeing Texas was an eye-opener for me. Away from the towns, the population is so sparsely distributed and the landscape so vivid an approximation of barren hell that I finally understood why people there want a society with minimimal interaction and minimal regulation. Other places any sane person would flee that have a local history are also insanely attached to a dead past, so it's not just a Texas phenomenon, though most pronounced there in the US. Ohio actually is pretty rich in pointless regional pride, though definitely much less so than Texas. Even the BBQ isn't that great, NC is much better.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:21 AM
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Texas is 12 hours with 4-8 inches of rain on clay soil, flash floods, 2-12 thousand lightning strikes, 70-80 mph winds without hurricane or tornado...followed by endless 100+ degree days not counting dewpoint.

Fuck Texas.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:24 AM
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2: Headquartered in Minnesota.
Back in the old days, long before Warren Buffet bought it, Dairy Queen was headquartered in a small, unprepossessing brick building on East Lake St. in South Mpls. This happened to be right across the street from my grandparents' house, and my father wound up working at the Dairy Queen retail location next to the headquarters -- the flagship store! It's still open, although the headquarters building has morphed from massage parlour to Spanish-language video rental place to (IIRC) an insurance agency serving the Latino population. Nowadays it's just another multinational, and I'm pretty sure most Minneapolitans are unaware of the world historical importance of their city w/r/t soft-served ice-milk confections.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:25 AM
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But I have definitely had conversations where the other party does not agree to the premise that anything needs fixing, despite our school system being in shambles, some of the highest rates in the country of women and children living in poverty, etc.

Sure--"I love Texas [or "___"] just the way it is. If you don't like it, move someplace else." That's a common conservative-sort of line, heard all over. I'm just not at all convinced that it's got much to do with "WHOO TEXAS! YOU'RE THE BEST!", despite the rhetorical similarities. One of driven by pride in one's home region, the other by general resistance to change (often coupled with stupid conservative political ideas).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:25 AM
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Fuck Texas.

You should sell that as a bumper sticker, along with additional comprehensive insurance.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:26 AM
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Furthermore, I've been to the Dairy Queen in Topsham, ME (right down the road from my aunt & uncles's house) where LBJ once stopped for a treat.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:26 AM
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This is something that's always puzzled me. I don't know much about Texas, but the Lyle Lovett tune That's Right (You're Not From Texas) seems to me to have a distinctly un-Texas attitude. Or maybe an Austin, Texas attitude.

More typically, I think of Texans as saying, "That's right, you're not from Texas, so fuck you."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:26 AM
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The (otherwise) national ad campaigns tailored for Texas was one of the things that struck me as really odd when I moved there in the early 90's. I came to find it (and the whole "Texas Pride" thing) sorta charming, actually: it mostly seemed to me more self-consciously goofy than anything else (unlike Austin boosterism, which though not unjustified I found irritatingly earnest), but maybe that was the subset of natives I knew, or maybe things have gotten uglier/meaner in recent years since I left.

Also, having been made to sing "I love New Jersey and I'm proud about it...." in elementary school (the internet tells me this is the NJ state song, written by one "Red Mascara"), I guess I have trouble taking any expressions of state pride all that seriously.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:28 AM
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Away from the towns, the population is so sparsely distributed and the landscape so vivid an approximation of barren hell that I finally understood why people there want a society with minimimal interaction and minimal regulation.

What part of Texas are you talking about? The western desert? And "minimal interaction" with who? Each other? Does not compute.

Even the BBQ isn't that great, NC is much better.

You probably went to the wrong place. But anyway, TX vs NC barbecue is comparing apples to oranges. There would be no dispute if they didn't happen to have the same name.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:28 AM
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Even the BBQ isn't that great, NC is much better.

Agree about NC being much better, but "isn't that great" is a pretty damn relative statement. It's better than most places. If you want BBQ that objectively isn't that great, move to Boston.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:28 AM
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you think Texas is extra-rabid about sports? Sports mania seems pretty universal.

Yes, I do, but this may be an artifact of my experience. The two universities I taught at in the South were basically sports teams with small institutions of learning attached. Also, there ain't shit in Lubbock but football, red meat, and Jesus. There's a reason why so many great musicians moved to Austin from Lubbock.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:29 AM
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There's a reason why so many great musicians moved to Austin from Lubbock.

What about Lubbock makes it so good at producing great musicians?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:31 AM
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TX vs NC barbecue is comparing apples to oranges

Especially given that they are made from different animals.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:32 AM
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What about Lubbock makes it so good at producing great musicians?

Oppression and unbearable tedium. The Mississippi Delta is that way, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:37 AM
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What about Lubbock makes it so good at producing great musicians?

Sorrow and dust, I imagine.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:39 AM
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"Sorrow and dust" is the better answer, I think.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:41 AM
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Headquartered in Minnesota.

Because nothing makes you want to eat ice cream like sub-zero temperatures.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:43 AM
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When I am dictator of the universe, I'm going to pick a random ethnic group to oppress, just to see if I can plant the seeds of a high-quality musical tradition.

Would it be more effective to enslave a single ethnic group, or should I force a diverse group of people to suffer together to facilitate cultural cross-pollination?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:44 AM
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Oppression and unbearable tedium. The Mississippi Delta is that way, too.

Also Mali, Roumania, and 19th-century Ireland.

However somehow the Australian aborigines generated the worst "world music" known to man.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:44 AM
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I think it was a DQ where some friends and I got ice cream in Marfa, stoned on pot and minimalism. We asked where the nearest public pool was and the girl behind the counter laughed at us. But how could you have all that heat and no public pool? Texas sucks.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:46 AM
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a special pride in one home place (whether home/neighborhood/city/state/nation) seems to me to be one of the more attractive features of genuine (as opposed to shallow, modern/political) conservatism.

1. Affection for home, yes. Pride? As if one deserves credit for being born somewhere? Problematic.

2. There's a distinction between "I love where I'm from" and "where I'm from is better than where you're from, boo-yah!"

3. Loving one's home (state, region, town, country) is not exclusive to conservatives. *Pretending* that one has a monopoly on such love, is.

4. I confess that I am often guilty of the "boo-yah" attitude w/r/t the west coast, but that's because it really *is* better than any place else.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:47 AM
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Does Mali really fit?

I mean, the music is amazing, but Mali was once an empire of it's own and wasn't under the colonial yoke for that long.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:48 AM
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a special pride in one home place (whether home/neighborhood/city/state/nation) seems to me to be one of the more attractive features of genuine (as opposed to shallow, modern/political) conservatism. And doesn't have to "undermine" discussions about what's wrong.

I've never lived anyplace progressive, so I have no idea what that civic dynamic looks like. But I'll say that Pittsburgh, a small-c conservative yet Democratic city, has a very strong sense of local pride (tempered by self-loathing, but that's neither here nor there), and it definitely infects discussions about how to fix things. Actually, the interaction between the pride and self-loathing means that the discussions go as follows:

Old Pittsburgher: I love this town, but it's a dump!
Young Pittsburgher: Well maybe if we-
OP: What'sa matter with you? The way we do things is fine! Are you from here or what?

There's definitely a sense that the only motive for introducing new ideas is hatred of everything that Pittsburgh has ever stood for.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:48 AM
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re: 42

IIRC, LB argued at length in previous threads on this that 2 is false.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:49 AM
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Because nothing makes you want to eat ice cream like sub-zero temperatures.

My dad visited Moscow in the winter of '63-64 and reported that people were standing in line for ice cream. His explanation was that, due to the absence of market forces, the butterfat content was really high, and so the ice cream was fucking delicious.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:50 AM
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9: I've heard that same joke in South Africa, with a Texan as the butt and an Afrikaner delivering the punchline.

Texans strike me as so self-impressed that I really want to hate the whole state, but the people I know well who live there or are from there are really nice. Of course, the ones I've met who do fit my stereotype I avoid like the plague, and the ones who don't are overwhelmingly from the People's Republic of Austin.

I've encountered Texans in Botswana boasting about how big and dry Texas is. In a country that is mostly composed of the Kalahari Desert, with the remainder made up of semi-desert scrubland and a tiny little sliver of green where the desert consumes an entire fucking river that just dries up and vanishes. Don't lecture us about desert, Mr. BigHat!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:51 AM
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45.4: Have you noticed how everybody's tripping over themselves to help y'all out right now? No? You might want to think about that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:52 AM
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the landscape so vivid an approximation of barren hell

What's the Mark Twain line? Something like "If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas"?

And generally, I'm committed by prior postings about NY to Brock's position that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with affectionate chauvinism about one's home. That doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with Texas chauvinism specifically, but there doesn't have to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:53 AM
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There is no "45.4".


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:53 AM
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There is no "45.4"

You'd better call the Math department and let them know.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:54 AM
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boasting about how big and dry Texas is.

"I'm going to make it so BIG and DRY for you!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:54 AM
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Huh. That crossed with nattarGcM's 45 -- which, while it's not unjustified by stuff I've written, I don't actually agree with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:56 AM
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At least rhetorically 42.2 is true. IOW, it's perfectly possible to express hometown pride without putting down others*. Whether there's a distinction in underlying sentiment, I'm not sure.

* The fact that, presumably, Texans don't have a monopoly on local/regional pride, yet do have a monopoly on actively insulting the rest of the Union**, is evidence for this

** overstatement, of course


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:57 AM
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Bah. 42.4. I got distracted by ttaM.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:57 AM
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I confess that I am often guilty of the "boo-yah" attitude w/r/t the west coast, but that's because it really *is* better than any place else.

Yeah, this is just a fact. I say this despite never having spent more than six months at a time on the west coast, so I must be an objective observer.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:58 AM
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Because nothing makes you want to eat ice cream like sub-zero temperatures.

The original Ben & Jerry's used to (may still) have a penny-off-per-degree-below-zero deal on ice cream cones. JRoth is right; butterfat is delicious no matter how cold the weather.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:58 AM
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I was impressed that JRoth goes to the numbers keypad for so few digits.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:00 AM
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"minimal interaction" with who? Each other? Does not compute.

Living on enormous tracts of land and seeing the neighbors rarely leads to self-sufficiency: cook your own food, fix your own stuff. Do people on ranches even gather to pray, or only to buy and sell? The attitude to local history is something different, but the contribution of the landscape and a resource economy (cattle then oil) to the mindset seems pretty clear.

I was in hill country and then Llano.

Probably I didn't go the right places, no, I just picked ones with more customers than the previous-- the meat was slow-cooked, great, but the spices were nothing special. Better than KC style, which is just gross. How can I find a good place as a stranger in a stranger land on the ground?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:01 AM
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I confess that I am often guilty of the "boo-yah" attitude w/r/t the west coast, but that's because it really *is* better than any place else.

I spent most of the year in CA and it effectively cured me of any desire to ever live in the Bay Area.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:01 AM
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I was also thinking that even though Californians are as parochial as anyone (and I try to personify that here), I don't see a ton of Californiana marketed here. We definitely don't get outline-based kitsch.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:02 AM
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know, I know: wait a little while and the Latinos will wrangle it back to Democratic.

As of a few years ago, Texas is majority minority. (Ssh, we're trying to keep it a secret from the R's until we crank up voter registration and turnout.)

Who can guess the other min-maj* states without googling?

*I just invented this term, and I think I like it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:03 AM
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Shoot, Gonerill. The year's come and gone? I had intentions of inviting you to eat whenever I got to the South Bay and I guess a year passed without my traveling down that way.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:05 AM
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min-maj

s/b "mi-ma". Rolls off the tongue much easier.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:05 AM
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re: 53

Hmm. In the past when I [and others] have been mocking a certain kind of 'yay' patriotism about place [city/town/country, etc] and made that distinction you've always argued that one can't believe one's place is great without also believing everywhere else is a bit crap. Or did I completely misread you?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:07 AM
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I confess that I am often guilty of the "boo-yah" attitude w/r/t the west coast, but that's because it really *is* better than any place else.

West coast? Do I detect some embarrassment about admitting to living in California? Are we seeing the first signs that the current crisis will put an end to the California Uber Alles smugness?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:07 AM
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64: "Mi-ma" sounds like somebody's grandmother.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:08 AM
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But I have definitely had conversations where the other party does not agree to the premise that anything needs fixing, despite our school system being in shambles, some of the highest rates in the country of women and children living in poverty, etc.

As a follow-on to 25 and a further response to this statement:

For further evidence that damaging aspects of this particular attitude are driven by stupid conservative political ideas and not by a general attitude of "there's absolutely nothing that should be changed about Texas", how do these same people tend to feel about illegal immigrants?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:10 AM
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You'd better call the Math department and let them know.

There would probably be more interest from certain quarters of the philosophy department.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:10 AM
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Fuck Texas.

Go ahead. Texas will be the best lay you ever had.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:10 AM
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16: [DQ rington] I kind of really, really want this,

Then leave your phone on "accidentally" during an important departmental or administration meeting and have Jammies or someone call you. Then they'd understand exactly who the fuck they are dealing with; then they'd know to back the fuck off.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:10 AM
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a ton of Californiana

Similarly there is no upper-west-side kitsch or rive droite kitsch. The tourists go elsewhere, and the idea of comparing a culture that self-defines as superior to the neighbors just never comes up-- why bother?, in contrast to the defensive stance of an accidentally wealthy armpit. I expect there's a lot of Saudi pride too.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:11 AM
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Further to 57, that's degrees below zero Celsius. Just like the People's Republic of Burlington to use the metric system.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:11 AM
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62: C'mon, guess!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:12 AM
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DC, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, California.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:12 AM
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Go ahead. Texas will be the best lay you ever had.

"I'm going to make it so BIG and DRY for you!"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:14 AM
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Agree about NC being much better, but "isn't that great" is a pretty damn relative statement. It's better than most places. If you want BBQ that objectively isn't that great, move to Boston.

Blue Ribbon in Arlington and Newton is excellent. Of course, the two guys who run it are from North Carolina. (The person I know from South Carolina has placed her seal of approval on it.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:16 AM
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"Mi-ma" sounds like somebody's grandmother.

I think you mean abuela, racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:16 AM
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58 is an impressive deduction (inference?).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:17 AM
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75: You forgot Hawaii, but gold star anyway!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:17 AM
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Yeah, Blue Ribbon is good, and Redbones isn't bad either. In an MSA of 4.5 million people.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:17 AM
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81 to 77.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:18 AM
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65: I'd have to actually reread those conversations to be sure exactly what I said, so I'm not sure if I'm now saying you misread me or I misspoke, but for arguments' sake assume it's I misspoke. I think a chauvinistic affection (an irrational belief that everyplace else in the world is an inferior place to live) for ones home is, while silly on some level -- not every place can be the best place in the world if we're grading them all on the same standard -- natural and can be (although isn't necessarily) harmless.

I get a little pushy about NYC boosterism partially because we get a fair amount of regional hostility -- it's the target city-haters (with all that implies about snotty liberal elites, racial/ethnic antagonisms, and so on) like to throw darts at, with the assumption that no one would have the gall to admit in response that they love the place. But that's internal American stuff, and probably doesn't come across clearly outside that context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:18 AM
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Naw. What else would get you a 2/5 substitution?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:19 AM
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Even the BBQ isn't that great, NC is much better.

Oh god, let's not start this again. (There's a more recent and, IIRC, more heated discussion of this, but I can't find it.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:19 AM
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Is Hawaii really a state? Obama's from there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:20 AM
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84: Idiocy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:21 AM
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Because nothing makes you want to eat ice cream like sub-zero temperatures.

I don't know whether this is still true, but for a long time Massachusetts had the highest per capita consumption of ice cream in the country.

Now I want to go down to the Brrigham's headquarters restaurant which is right down the street and get an ice cream cone.

* Weird Eastern Massachusetts usage. In addition to calling milkshakes frappes, we also call chocolate sprinkles jimmies. I was pretty unselfconscious about this until my acquaintance from South Carolina pointed out that in most places this is a term for condoms. I knew that, but somehow I hadn't made the connection.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:21 AM
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with the assumption that no one would have the gall to admit in response that they love the place.

Looking at this, it looks a little absurd given the existence of the "I ♥ NY" t-shirt. But that's a tourist thing -- it's I ♥ NY as a place to go visit for a weekend, not as a perfectly reasonable place to call home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:22 AM
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85: Things that people are bigger dicks about than their state: BBQ, chili, music, Neal Stephenson.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:22 AM
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Speaking of local pride, fucking A.

It'll be an interesting as hell redevelopment site.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:24 AM
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BBQ, chili, music, Neal Stephenson.

And in Pittsburgh, we don't have any of those things! It's why we're so easy to get along with.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:25 AM
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in most places this is a term for condoms

I've never heard this before. "Jimmie protector," yes, but that's after a specific reference to the penis by the name "Jimmie."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:27 AM
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89: We moved away at the peak of the original campaign, so for me it was always about loving a place to live (we were right outside Yonkers, but still).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:28 AM
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Or "Jimmie hat." Your Jimmie is your Johnson, so to speak.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:28 AM
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90 reminds me that the Texas cuisine discussion I was thinking of was in fact about chili.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:29 AM
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I vaguely remember the conversation ttaM is referring to. I remember how much it shocked me to find out that some people just live in a place without thinking it is the best ever place for them. Like, they acknowledge that other places would be nicer places to live but they just live where they do. I guess I had always thought that people had maximized to their own peculiar tastes and knew things about their home places that I couldn't understand as an outsider.

The day I thought a different place would be a better place for me to live is the day I'd start packing. There is so much in life you can't control, but living in your favorite place is achievable.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:29 AM
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I have only heard it with "hat", not "protector", but one need not have introduced the behatted extremity into conversation at all, much less via the denomination under which it is said to sport a chapeau, in order for this to be a licit conversational move.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:30 AM
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95: Right. I was actually wondering a minute ago, whether jimmies were just something which covered something else up. When you put jimmies on an ice cream cone, the ice cream is encased.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:31 AM
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There is so much in life you can't control, but living in your favorite place is achievable.

Assuming you are a single person with freely transferable job skills. Which knocks out a lot of people.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:32 AM
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One wonders if Jimmie Johnson knows about this.

But yes, I knew sprinkles as jimmies. People in eastern MA also call soda "tonic".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:32 AM
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Assuming you are a single person with freely transferable job skills. Which knocks out a lot of people.

Also, that you don't have family or friends in any particular place, whom you would like to be near to.

Basically, Megan is the only person I've ever heard say things like this. Maybe there are others in California.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:33 AM
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76 made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:34 AM
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There is so much in life you can't control, but living in your favorite place is achievable.

Well, not achievable always for everyone. I can think of reasons I'd move out of NY, but I'd either change my mind about the relative qualities of the new place and NY, or I'd think of myself as living away from home, and be thinking about possibilities for getting back. I'm surprised by people who don't have a home-place they want to get to, even if they can't for practical reasons.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:34 AM
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103: because of 52, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:36 AM
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a special pride in one home place (whether home/neighborhood/city/state/nation) seems to me to be one of the more attractive features of genuine (as opposed to shallow, modern/political) conservatism.

From way back up at 14: I dunno, Brock, I don't think I'd be a conservative no matter the rubric, but I'm rabidly fond of my adopted state of Minnesota. I used to own and wear a Minnesota tee shirt, and I don't really wear tee shirts, especially logo ones. And I can bore you silly with Minneapolis/South Minneapolis/Phillips pride. Minneapolis is nicest city in the whole darn US, and tops everywhere I've visited in Canada too. Our folk customs are delightful to me, and if I weren't vegan I'd celebrate them by consuming funnel cakes at various local events all summer.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:37 AM
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re: 102

Yes, exactly.

Or, there are different places you'd like to live in for different reasons. If someone could locate the west end of Glasgow somewhere on mainland Europe, that'd be nice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:37 AM
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I should think if I also think this is true among my friends, which might imply that it is a western attitude.

But when I was picking cities, my friends had all dispersed. I didn't have a concentration in any city. I do think the dispersed family model is deeply flawed, but so is living in a city that doesn't make you sigh in love at least every few days.

My sister and her friends colonized a neighborhood, intentionally choosing to buy houses within blocks of each other in a city they love.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:38 AM
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M/tch objects to my "Texans for Obama" bumper sticker on the grounds that, despite my residency, I'm not a Texan.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:38 AM
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109: But Texas wants you anyway.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:41 AM
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I am pretty sure no city makes me sigh in love every few days. I'm a grumpypants.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:41 AM
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Funnel cakes aren't vegan?

I'm guessing dairy in the batter?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:41 AM
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"I ♥ NY" was super-New Yorker Milton Glaser's response to all the New York hatred of the late '70s, wasn't it?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:42 AM
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They have funnel cakes in Minnesota? Oh, why don't I just admit it, they have funnel cakes everywhere.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:42 AM
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I remember how much it shocked me to find out that some people just live in a place without thinking it is the best ever place for them.

For people who have moved between two or more countries, this "best ever" is often never achievable. There are always things in the other place(s) you will miss. I have that relationship to Germany, and I have relatively little foreign experience compared to a lot of my friends.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:43 AM
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Certainly no other state is named in as many songs, if only because country music makes a point (albeit an endearing one) to be as gimmicky as possible, and they lean heavily on Texas pride.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:43 AM
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One more stupid song about Texas .


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:44 AM
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And while plenty of people say "I love New York" the same way one might say "I just love Venice," there's also something about the I ♥ NY t-shirts for tourists that's poseurish: "I love New York just the way people who live there do, except I could never stand living there with all the noise and the rats and the crazy people on the subway."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:45 AM
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My sister and her friends colonized a neighborhood, intentionally choosing to buy houses within blocks of each other

AB has a fantasy called Pittopia in which her dispersed friends all come and live on our street. There's still a chance that one of them will (maybe not on our street, but nearby). Meanwhile, our best friends would love to move to our neighb, but the husband's dad lives on our street (how we met, in fact), and they can't be living within drop-in distance of Jim, so that's that. They did, however, just buy a house within a 5 minute bike ride, so that's a huge plus. I intend to lobby the city for a bike lane from here to there.

Also, we just heard that a house on our street is in foreclosure. If anyone's interested, I could extoll the virtues of my street.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:45 AM
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But some songs mention 22 different states, and NOT texas.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:46 AM
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h all the noise and the rats and the crazy people on the subway

Stop, Bave, you're making me nostalgic.

I'll actually be in NYC in July, but I doubt I'd be able to manage a meetup, alas.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:47 AM
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"Best ever" isn't perfect, but I still think it should be maximized. The way I see it, living in a place that you love is one of the cheapest thrills you can get. You swoon for the street scene or the trees or the skyline on a regular basis and you get to do this just by being where you are. (Once you recognize it and move there.) Forfeiting that thrill is giving up easy gains.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:48 AM
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117 is so cute that I feel a teensy bit of pride watching it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:49 AM
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107: Huh. Maybe what I think of as a norm is more that the place I like living for grownup reasons is also the place I grew up and love because of that -- I can see that if those were split; if I didn't have the childhood affection in addition to the quotidian experience of being pleased with the place, that this wouldn't seem like such an obvious reaction. But sighing with love, as Megan says, is it -- riding the J train over Brooklyn as I returned to work from the courthouse in Jamaica had me cooing with delight at how beautiful it is, and how beautiful lower Manhattan is when you're seeing it from over the river.

115: Not having enjoyed my experience in Samoa much probably helps here -- I get waves of nostalgia, particularly when something smells rainforesty, and there are things I miss, but I know I don't want to live there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:50 AM
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For people who have moved between two or more countriescities, this "best ever" is often never achievable.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:50 AM
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I have definitely had conversations where the other party does not agree to the premise that anything needs fixing, despite our school system being in shambles, some of the highest rates in the country of women and children living in poverty, etc.

And the United States has the best health care system the world has ever known.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:51 AM
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118: Yeah. Those people can fuck all the way off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:51 AM
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66: the California Uber Alles smugness
If Jerry Brown was elected governor again, do you think he would make California Uber Alles his campaign theme song? That would be awesome.

93: "Jimmie protector,"
I've only heard this from the Beastie Boys, do other people use it? Non-ironically?

Minneapolis is pretty great, pace Frowner. I've been hearing scary reports of what other cities are like recently, e.g. St. Louis is patrolled by packs of wild dogs. Minneapolis is much nicer than that. To the OP: Garrison Keillor once wore a Minnesota lapel pin on a TV appearance and made Dan Rather try to guess what it was and Dan Rather couldn't guess! That's like the Ur-Minnesotan anecdote.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:52 AM
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118: When I say "I love New York," I mean that I can't believe Flavor Flav didn't pick her.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:53 AM
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Like, a lapel pin in the shape of Minnesota? Dan Rather's really not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:53 AM
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For people who have moved between two or more countries cities are trying to balance family, friends, education, jobs, partners, partners' jobs, housing prices, nature, culture, diversity, and resources, this "best ever" is often never achievable.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:54 AM
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123: The Austin Lounge Lizards are definitely a legitimate source of Texas pride.

By God we're so darn proud to be from Texas - yahoo! Even of our pride we're proud and we're proud of that pride, too Our pride about our home state is the proudest pride indeed And we're proud to be Americans, until we can secede



Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:55 AM
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Shit, so much for line breaks.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:56 AM
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130: Yeah, just the outline of Minnesota. Which is fairly distinctive. It's not like trying to figure out Nebraska versus Montana, or two or more of the squarish states.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:56 AM
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Please close the tags for 131 properly in your mind.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:57 AM
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109,110:Texas wants everybody, especially progs of course, but we got room & resources for the rest too.

Sorry, too many sunk costs and no free land in New York, and California has the earthquakes. With our sun & wind and vast open spaces, Texas will be where the arcosantis and space elevators and self-sustaining domes are built.

Just give in and come on down, y'all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:58 AM
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Hmm. Weather Channel says the evacuations are beginning. Never mind those people freaked out by a little summer shower.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:00 AM
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space elevators

These sorta kinda have to be on the equator, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:00 AM
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My criticisms aside, I'm sympathetic to Megan's broader point, in that I really, really want to move "home" (generically--not literally my home town, but somewhere near there, much closer to friends and family and with a similar culture and climate). And I actually love lots of things about Boston--there are uncountable ways in which it's a nicer place to live than "home", honestly. But still.

Unfortunately, no one anywhere wants to hire corporate lawyers right now, so I'm stuck here for the foreseeable future.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:01 AM
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Actually, 139 wasn't Megan's point at all. So nevermind. Megan gets no sympathies from me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:02 AM
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23: Texas is 12 hours with 4-8 inches of rain on clay soil, flash floods, 2-12 thousand lightning strikes, 70-80 mph winds without hurricane or tornado...followed by endless 100+ degree days not counting dewpoint.

Fuck Texas.

136: With our sun & wind and vast open spaces, Texas will be where the arcosantis and space elevators and self-sustaining domes are built.

Just give in and come on down, y'all.

bob, you might want to tighten up your recruiting pitch just a little.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:03 AM
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Frowner, funnel cakes are common as dirt. Celebrate your inability to eat mini-donuts.

I indeed had no idea about Dairy Queen originally being from MN (which is odd, because, as the Canadians of the US, we obsessively keep track of who and what is from here), but I'm from St. Paul originally, so, you know.

I do indeed love living in Minneapolis, but, having lived elsewhere, various aspects of MN culture do tend to grate, particularly the passive-aggressiveness and the parochialism. Typical MInneapolitan "Oh, I never really get over to St. Paul." It's ten minutes away, asshole.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:03 AM
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I've only heard this from the Beastie Boys, do other people use it?

I assume not.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:05 AM
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Forfeiting that thrill is giving up easy gains that for me, Megan, are easy, but might not be for people in other life situations.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:06 AM
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I don't need sympathy. I can go outside and see beautiful trees.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:07 AM
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Yeah, Megan, other people aren't lucky enough to live in Sacramento. Where's your empathy for them?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:10 AM
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The gains of loving the city you are in should be equally available to people. Moving to that city may be hard for people in different situations, but once in a city you love, being reminded of that is easy and reliable. It happens just walking down the street.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:10 AM
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||

I just got a petition from a pro-se litigant who, from his name and syntax is an African (first name starting with 'Dji' is pretty unambiguous, right?) immigrant, with the most gorgeous handwriting. I want to hire him to letter things for me. I wonder if it's individual, or a feature of the school system where he came from.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:10 AM
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Well, I used to think they had different tastes and wouldn't want to live here even if they could. There's no call for sympathy in that case.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:11 AM
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Most everybody loves their home. It's hard to express in words how deeply connected I feel to North Carolina. I can imagine living somewhere else for a while (though at 40 with small children, I doubt I will), but I can't imagine retiring anywhere else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:11 AM
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I do not feel that connected to Texas, but I am completely in love with our neck of the woods.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:14 AM
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151: too bad you can't find beers with outlines of your neck of the woods on the cans.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:16 AM
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136: I do still have a hate/love/hate from my time spent living there. There are some aspects of the culture* that are rather appealing despite my dislike of so much of the politics (and in particular, the utter awfulness of smug Texas suburbanites—Texas+modern suburbia=really bad badness). Food, music, an engaging forthrightness, the landscape** (mostly for the appreciators of the subtle change); all pretty nice. And where else can you get beer in longnecks? huh, huh?

*For instance coming across a Lyle Lovett at Anderson Fair in Houston when he was just some geek from College Station opening for Nanci Griffith.

**A fond memory of mine is of sleeping on top of Enchanted Rock one night. A bit uncomfortable, but Texas at its best; I had left Houston earlier that day on a driving trip to LA*** and snuck out of the campground at duck and hoofed it on up.

***Backroads and great Southwest stuff all the way there, but had to hustle back home via I-10. I was charmed (well, actually a bit pissed at the time, but charmed in theory) that when I entered Texas near EL Paso I was barely halfway home (and still closer to LA than the where I-10 crossed the Texas/Louisiana border).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:16 AM
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Moving to that city may be hard for people in different situations, but once in a city you love, being reminded of that is easy and reliable. It happens just walking down the street.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I had no idea it was so simple.

Look, the thing is, I'm also in favor of living in a place that you like. I also favor certain cities, and return to them for that joy-of-walking-down-the-street feeling. But this "just follow your bliss!" attitude drives me fucking insane.

I'm overreacting for whatever reason, so I'll bow out of this thread before I become uncivil.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:17 AM
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Yeah, Texas seems too big to love in the way I'm talking about -- I don't really know Texas at all, but there are at least three or four major chunks of it that are very different from each other, right? NYC is almost too big to love, except that the family resemblance between the parts I know well and the parts I don't is still pretty strong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:17 AM
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I had a roommate from Plano, TX who kind of annoyed me. She was also fond of saying thinks like "Everything happens for a reason." Our other housemate from Texas (houston, I think)grew up had family who were Democrats, but he had become a Republican, because he'd gotten his start in business by joining the college Republicans, which, at his school, was mostly about having parties. Though he was freaked out by the anti-abortion crowd, mainly because he thought it would affect his chances of getting laid. He knew enough about the reality of being a light-skinned hispanic and police harassment to not want to live there and to plan his life around having enough money to send his kids to private school.

She thought public schools were great--but, oddly enough--public health care not so much.

What really annoyed me was when she said things like, she didn't understand why DC had so many problem with homeless people, that this just didn't exist in Texas. (I think that she thought that people were better about taking care of their own there.) I said that a lot of the ones she saw on the street were mentally ill people who needed treatment.

He was able to point out that they had laws against vagrants in Texas, and that they picked up the homeless and took them out of the expensive neighborhoods. He wasn't particularly concerned about the problem. He figured that homeowners' associations should make people take care of their gardens, but he was more aware of reality.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:17 AM
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Most everybody loves their home.

But lots of people don't have one - this is something AB & I have in common. When I was 28 y.o., I had spent almost exactly 1/4 of my life each in NY, Miami, NJ, and Pittsburgh. There are various reasons this place has become home, but the absence of a contender is one of them.

AB is much more ambivalent about Pittsburgh, but she's happy that our kids will have a home, unlike her (although she has now spent more time here than anywhere else - 10.5 years).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:18 AM
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150, 157: It's funny that this feeling doesn't have much to do with having had a blissful childhood. I had kind of a crummy childhood by a lot of standards, but that didn't interfere with putting down roots.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:21 AM
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The Coca Cola bottle is inordinately proud of its outline.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:22 AM
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"Everything happens for a reason."

God, that saying is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. Whenever I hear it repeated, I want to punch the person hard in the stomach. Just so when they ask, "Why did you that?" I can answer, "No reason."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:23 AM
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Except you did do it for a quite specific reason.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:24 AM
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/would be doing it/

fscking subjunctive.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:24 AM
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AB is much more ambivalent about Pittsburgh, but she's happy that our kids will have a home, unlike her

I know this is hugely irrational, but this is actually a big part of the urgency I feel about getting home--it would be fine if we were staying here forever, but we know we're not, and since we're not I want my children to identify with there as their home, and not think of their childhoods as split between there and here. (Irrational because (1) there's really nothing wrong with childhoods that are split among locations, and (2) they're still very young for this to be a real consideration.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:24 AM
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161: But they wouldn't know that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:26 AM
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142: ten minutes away, asshole
Ten minutes and two decades.
Actually, I quite like St. Paul: Axe-Man, Midway Book, the Central Library, Everest on Grand, The Trend Bar, amazing street names (Syndicate, Grotto, Laurel), the woodwork in otherwise-uninteresting houses off Selby, the deserted streets of Downtown, the Science Museum. Unfortunately, w/o a car, going to St. Paul means long bus rides, and it's not super-walkable, except for Midway, and even then.

Also, Minneapolitans have been nice enough to give St. Paulites the gift of the Barebones Hallowe'en Extravaganza for the past several years, so we can't be all that bad.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:27 AM
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"Everything happens for a reason."

God, that saying is like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

Really? Isn't that pretty much the fundamental theorem of science?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:27 AM
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I'm kind of a location slut. I tend to bond easily to the lovable elements of places that I live. It's funny what I like and don't like though -- a place needs a scrappy underdog quality.

I wasn't able to bond to Boston, despite its objectively fine characteristics. But I was able to bond to Cleveland and (especially) Sacramento. California is an easy place to love. I have a troubled relationship with DC...like a beautiful woman who turns you on like crazy, but whose personality is too shallow/venal to truly love.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:29 AM
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148: I believe the "Dji-" at the beginning of a name is almost certainly Francophone African. Schools are of different quality in different places, but it is a system where they still practice penmanship.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:29 AM
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Being proud of one's geographic place has an unfortunately close association with xenophobia and racism. "I love Texas" tends to blur into "I hate furriners" which slides into "We gotta stop the yellow peril!." Historically, I think it has all sort of blended together.

On the other hand, I'm probably just overreacting to being hassled, harrassed and threatened on the streets by people who liked to say "America, love it or leave it" and wanted to prove to me that this is the country of the free, and that the only thing I was free to do was leave.

I know, too earnest, but it's important to remember these things.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:29 AM
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"Everything happens for a reason."

I would prefer it if people just said "get the fuck out of my face with your stupid problems, you loser" rather than responding with this line of crap.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:30 AM
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142: Even though it's only ten minutes away (or about a million years by the slowest bus in the world, or anywhere from five to ten miles by bike depending on where I'm going)....well first one has to have a reason to go to St. Paul. And what would that be?

No, seriously, St. Paul is nice but most of the things I like about St. Paul aren't really destination locations--a couple of nice coffee houses (including the fellow-traveling Black Dog), a lovely but very pricey fabric store...now that the Hungry Wallet is closed and there's a perfectly good Nepali restaurant in Minneapolis, I usually don't have any reason to go over there. That said, I was at a training in St. Paul a couple of weeks ago and I do tend to get over there to go to the Jo-Anne fabrics for fabric dye.

I try to get to the State Fair most years, though. Maybe this year I won't inquire too closely into the dairy content of the batter on the fried things. I could really do with some batter-fried non-dairy edible things right now. Batter fried yam slices would be just about perfect.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:31 AM
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Really? Isn't that pretty much the fundamental theorem of science?

People who say that are talking about divine providence, not physical causation. If you say "yes, given the prior arrangement of matter and the physical laws of the universe, I'm certain there was no other outcome possible" they will look at you funny..

Besides, our basic physical theory these days, quantum mechanics, is indeterministic.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:31 AM
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"get the fuck out of my face with your stupid problems, you loser"

Too wordy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:33 AM
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the fundamental theorem of science?

Not once you hit quantum physics, no. But it grates on me because it isn't ever employed to say that every effect has a cause, but instead to express something along the lines of: "This suffering exists because God has a greater good that's going to come of it as part of his big-ass celestial design."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:33 AM
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164: But not knowing wouldn't stop them from believing it. Which is probably even more annoying.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:33 AM
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172: "In a universe immediately adjacent to ours, the opposite thing happened."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:34 AM
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||

I've just learned that my mother, mid-sixties and single since 1983, is planning a wedding this fall to a man she's known for about four weeks now, who himself is still in grief-counseling over the loss of his wife of 32 years (which happened less than a year ago). She's already making plans to put her condo on the market (to be sold furnished with some of his furniture, which has been moved out of his place to make room for some of her furniture). I want her to be happy, but I'm feeling very, very nervous about all of this.

|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:35 AM
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Not once you hit quantum physics, no.

This is a good point, and seems like it would also be a good response.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:36 AM
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||
Heebie, I think I may have become a "fan" on facebook of one of the teams you play soccer against. Just by searching for the name of a certain bird which I understand is a nuisance in your area, I came across the team named for this bird.

|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:37 AM
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174: Although when you press "everything happens for a reason" people on what they mean, they often have trouble distinguishing their belief from physical determinism, and are genuinely incapable of understanging any potential conflict between either sentiment and the existence of free will.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:37 AM
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I have some cousins who moved from Connecticut to Texas while they were in high school. The report from them that really stuck out was that their new classmates were surprised that they hadn't had a Texas history class in Connecticut.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:38 AM
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Most everybody loves their home. It's hard to express in words how deeply connected I feel to North Carolina. I can imagine living somewhere else for a while (though at 40 with small children, I doubt I will), but I can't imagine retiring anywhere else.

I like New England a lot better than the Central Valley of California,, but there's still a lot that grates on me, and I think I could be pretty happy in NYC, Maryland or Northern VA. I liked DC a lot. I thought I would like Northern California, because it's not as dark in the winter.

At the same time, part of what I love about the East coast is a sense of rooted-ness and the older buildings (plus the coast). But I think I love some of the older buildings in Europe more, and I could be very happy in the UK. (Well maybe not, because I'd like a bit more sun, though I love the lushness.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:38 AM
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177: Oy. Oy, oy, oy. Erm, this is totally none of my business, and I'm thinking about this in terms of your mother's interests rather than in terms of any future interests you might have, but are there any assets to worry about protecting? Maybe email Will for a form prenup?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:39 AM
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181: I was pretty parochial that way too in CA. I noticed that the kids there had pioneer days while we had colonial days. Not sure why we didn't have 19th century Boston days, though my school did have a class where we had to follow the path of Irish immigrants to Boston.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:41 AM
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177: I'm sure it's happening for a reason, Brock. (I'd be nervous about that too, but not much you can do.)


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:43 AM
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177: do a background check. Find out how many outstanding warrants, credit history, bigamy comvictions, 14 previous wives who died suddenly under suspicious circumstances, etc. Interview his children.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:44 AM
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183: There aren't assets worth protecting in any traditional sense. She's got enough to scrape by (assuming no hiccups) for a good while, but no more. Of course, if she lost that, she'd be fucked. (Although I could probably help her.) But a quick marriage/divorce could even be a net gain--I don't know. I haven't seen his balance sheet. I'm more concerned about her rapidly entangling herself and then having things fall apart. Everything about the situation screams "slow down!" to me, but I'm not sure she's hearing anything I'm saying, and I'm not even sure she should be listening to me anyway.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:45 AM
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If Jerry Brown was elected governor again, do you think he would make California Uber Alles his campaign theme song? That would be awesome.

I think I've mentioned before that he works out at my gym. The temptation to start singing that song is nearly overwhelming every time I see him.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:46 AM
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177: Brock, your Mom is something like bipolar I, isn't she? She needs to see a shrink before she takes this step, but I can totally understand that she might be completely unwilling. It is so painful watching someone destroy herself and not being able to intervene.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:47 AM
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141:Endless variety in Texas! Al things to all people! Dont like the weather, wait a couple hours! We even like people who don't like us! Come on down, y'all.

167: I tend to bond easily to the lovable elements of places that I live.

Yup. I mean, if y'all absolutely need snow skiing, or 150 Thai restaurents within walking distance, or 74 inches of rain a year, you not only limit your options but are going to be really crazy for where you settle.

Austin, Austin,Austin. Next block over a house has two semis parked in front weekdays, because that's where the Mexican big band rests its equipment. Got what appears to be lesbian leather bar in walking distance. Vietnamese churches. You don't think we have painters, musicians, writers, gays in this 20 millon metrosprawl?

You think you know Texas? I have lived here for thirty years and I don't know shit about my corner of the Metroplex.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:50 AM
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Also, to the OP: plenty of national companies tailor their advertising to California, too (although not quite to the same extent as in Texas). I think it's Chevy or GMC that has what they bill as a "California version" of one of their trucks, and it's not unusual to see ads that tout companies as California's #1 choice.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:50 AM
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During my youthful soujourn in Texas (an experience I have no desire to repeat), I recall reading in the paper about a study that sought to explain the variations in the strength of the Texas accent among Texans. The key finding was that neither Texan birth, nor rural upbringing, nor length of residence in Texas were good predictors of how strong a person's Texas accent. The single best predictor was how strongly the individual identified with Texas, as measured by attitudinal surveys.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:50 AM
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Y'know, though, she's been single for 25 years. I suspect she's probably got a pretty clear idea of what she wants. It's the guy I'd be worried about. Less than a year out of a 32-year marriage, almost nobody could be ready for Act II.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:51 AM
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88, etc.: I grew up calling them jimmies, until I was told that it was racist. The etymology is not completely persuasive, but the fact that enough people think it is racist, and that a perfectly good substitute term exists, have encouraged me to switch. I don't have the iron-clad level of "taboo" in my head that I do for words that I initially learned as slurs, though.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:51 AM
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186: You know, while Schneider's being intentionally over the top, but would it be geographically impossible to propose/host some big 'let's get both families together' events in the next month or two? There's a lot to be said for meeting people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:51 AM
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OH GOD DON'T GET ME STARTED ON HOW QUANTUM MECHANICS IS DETERMINISTIC


Posted by: OPINIONATED ESSEAR | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:53 AM
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I can't find it online, but Michael Lewis had a great essay in TNR years ago ("Don't Cry for Me, Guacamole" was the title, IIRC) that hilariously pointed out the unflattering similarities between Australia and Texas.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:53 AM
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165&171:
I love Minneapolis and I'm happy to be living here right now (even though professional reasons will almost certainly cause me to relocate), and there's plenty of parochialism in St. Paul as well, it's just that much more jarring coming from Minneapolitans who put down St. Paul as small-towny.

I go to St. Paul a lot because I work there , my mom lives there (part of the reason I live in Minneapolis) and some of my friends live there. There are plenty of destination places in St. Paul (History Center, Science Museum, SP Farmers Market, SP Saints, Heartland, Turf Club, Como Park etc.), though certainly fewer than Mpls. The thing for me is that they aren't really separate cities, other than politically, and there's no reason not to take advantage of the whole urban center thing.

And yes, Minneapolis has it's own Nepali restaurant now, but St. Paul now has TWO!


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:53 AM
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a certain bird which I understand is a nuisance in your area

The heebird-geebird!?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:54 AM
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Apo,

I think you're right on about the guy not eyt being ready for a second marriage. (I mean, Warren Buffet got married pretty much right after his wife Susan's death, but he and Susan were mostly just friends at that point, and he'd been living with Astrid for a long time.)

Still, don't forget that Brock's Mom is known for doing somewhat crazy things. I mean, she showed up to his wedding with a young male escort.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:55 AM
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It's the guy I'd be worried about. Less than a year out of a 32-year marriage, almost nobody could be ready for Act II.

I don't actually know timing, but widowhood is very, very different from divorce, and seems to be less scarring in terms of entering into a new relationship (probably more scarring in other ways, of course). I spent a decade watching my friend who died on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago date after his wife died, and he kept on getting all puzzled about what the divorced women he was dating were all jumpy about; nothing stuck until he met another widow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:55 AM
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150: Most everybody loves their home. It's hard to express in words how deeply connected I feel to North Carolina.

However, I do notice that the "love" manifests itself differently in people who have continued to live there compared to those who have lived elsewhere as adults and whose memories tend to be more nostalgia-tinged. I am still quite attached to <mid-sized joke city in NE Ohio>, but I find that my sense of what is good and bad about the place often conflicts with those who have actually lived there since the mid-70s. I tend to be more worried about "my city was gone"* types of things while their concerns are more pragmatic/economic (not that these are unrelated). I realize that in some sense I am now a tourist in my hometown (and a nostalgia tourist to boot. Yuck.)

*A song, for instance, that was not at all well-received there when it came out, although she has subsequently become "officially" embraced by the city**.

**Not uncommon. Oakland receiver Fred Biletnikoff grew up in Erie PA, when the city declared a Fred Biletnikoff Day, or something like that, he responded by saying the day he got out of Erie was the best day of his life. But now, many years later, his HS stadium is named for him and apparently it was all just a misunderstanding.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:56 AM
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You know what? I just figured out why some here prefer NYC of Austin or San Francisco.

It isn't about the gays or the arts or the restaurants. All big cities have lots of those things.

It's about a concentration and density of your preferences to the extent that everything else is excluded. You want gays without homophobes, restaraunts without Walmarts, indierock without bluegrass. Whatever.

It's about keeping those wrong kind of people out of sight and out of the way. It's an anti-tolerance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:56 AM
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I like New England a lot better than the Central Valley of California [...] I thought I would like Northern California, because it's not as dark in the winter.

Central Valley != Northern California.

(Pay no attention to B or Megan on this topic.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:57 AM
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I remember how much it shocked me to find out that some people just live in a place without thinking it is the best ever place for them.

but once in a city you love, being reminded of that is easy and reliable. It happens just walking down the street.

I'm fine with the sentiment in the second quote, it's the one in the first that I find annoying. I've lived in quite a few places, and visited many more, and in almost all of them there were things about them that would make me very happy just walking down the street. Some places had more of these than others. But automatically going from "I'm (very) happy here" to "this is the best place ever for me" just seems incredibly blinkered to me.

But perhaps I should go join Blume in the timeout room.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:58 AM
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It's the guy I'd be worried about.

Agree completely, for the reason you say and a host of others (although not as much the 186 sort of things as the fact that my mother can be an extraordinarily difficult person to get along with (she's heavily borderline), and I doubt he knows what he's getting himself into).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:59 AM
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ndierock without bluegrass.

Austin explained! Jesus, bob.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:59 AM
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it's just that much more jarring coming from Minneapolitans who put down St. Paul as small-towny.

But they're twins!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 11:59 AM
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Jesus fucked up my tags and quoting.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:00 PM
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201 is helpful.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:00 PM
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Brock, would they be OK just living together? Very common and pragmatic these days. An actual useful gift of the boomers to their aging parents.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:01 PM
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210: Admittedly, it's a generalization from one guy. (Well, two -- his second wife said she felt the same way.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:03 PM
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211: Sensible at that might be, she's actually already informed me (against my wishes) that they're "courting the Biblical fashion and saving sex for after our vows".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:03 PM
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My Father-in-law does this in a relationship that would be DOA if it required marriage (due to asset/insane family members/a bunch of other shit concerns).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:03 PM
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It's about a concentration and density of your preferences to the extent that everything else is excluded. You want gays without homophobes, restaraunts without Walmarts, indierock without bluegrass. Whatever.

Well, the bluegrass part isn't true.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:04 PM
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I can't imagine finding a "best ever place". There are a lot of local maxima. Right now I live in the best ever place for me as far as work goes; I have amazing colleagues and people to learn from. But it isn't the best by any other metric; it's not even close. Once I get a more permanent job, I would like to move somewhere that is closer to best ever on other axes, but not if it would require me to do a different sort of work. And even if I were independently wealthy and free to move anywhere and do what I like, I think I would always feel tugged to other places at least part of the time. Chicago, Seattle, the Bay Area, SoCal, New York: they all maximize some things and not others.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:04 PM
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I doubt he knows what he's getting himself into

My multiple experiences with dating teh crazy is that they can keep it under wraps for about six months, then it pops like a champagne cork. Eesh. Good luck with it all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:04 PM
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I was going to ask the shacking up question too, but figured that was going to be the answer. Different generation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:05 PM
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I don't have anything helpful to suggest about Brock's mother's situation (except, listen to your instincts, but don't stress too much because it's out of your control). But I have seen a half-dozen widowers marry again within a very short time (12-24 months). These were guys who were in long-time, basically happy marriages. The second marriages generally seem to have worked out.

In contrast, widows seem a lot more diverse, both in what they want, and in what they end up doing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:07 PM
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experiences with dating teh crazy is that they can keep it under wraps for about six months, then it pops like a champagne cork

My multiple experiences with people meeting my mother support this. Should be just in time for the honeymoon.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:07 PM
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When I went to summer camp around age 12 I learned that some people called sprinkles "jimmies". But it wasn't specific to the negroid sprinkle.

I think it's Chevy or GMC that has what they bill as a "California version" of one of their trucks

Isn't that because of different emissions standards, not for advertising branding purposes?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:09 PM
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My FIL called his friend his fiancée at first out of some sense of propriety. Given the concerns in 214, most everyone was relieved when it turned out just to be a cover story. "Oh good, you're not really going to get married."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:09 PM
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204: Sorry, that was unfair. I was right near Sacramento. I do like San Francisco proper and Berkeley to a lesser degree, but even just outside those places all the housing is so new. I mean, there's so much postwar construction. I kind of like some of the old county seats. Where I live now there are a lot of segregated expensive towns, but there aren't that many gated communities. I find gated communities deeply disturbing.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:10 PM
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still in grief-counseling over the loss of his wife of 32 years (which happened less than a year ago)

Widowers. Every damn time.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:11 PM
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The day I thought a different place would be a better place for me to live is the day I'd start packing

Surely a joke. I want lunch in Izmir once a week, sunset in Utah every once in a while, Hawaii or Costa Rica when I wake up, particular neighborhoods or people in Prague and Chicago regularly.... A place I could be content is one step away from the grave, no matter where it would be.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:11 PM
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not specific to the negroid sprinkle


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:12 PM
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220: I had a roommate once that could make it about two hours. I'd bitch about her to people, they'd meet her, and on meeting her they'd glare at me for being so mean about such a lovely person. Then about two hours into the evening, they'd reliably make eye contact again with an apologetic shrug, and apologize for thinking ill of me once we were alone. She was really impressively weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:13 PM
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Isn't that because of different emissions standards, not for advertising branding purposes?

Nah, the days of the 49-state vehicle are pretty much over (there are still a few motorcycles that fit, but I don't know of any cars). The "California version" is just a different options package.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:13 PM
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Hey OPINIONATED ESSEAR I know you don't want to talk about it, but can you point to a good layperson's explanation of why QM is deterministic?

Is the idea that the indeterminism goes away once you allow nonlocal properties? Has the theory changed since Einstein objected to its indeterminism?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:13 PM
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205 was me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:15 PM
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pwned by 219.

In contrast, widows seem a lot more diverse, both in what they want, and in what they end up doing.

A lot of widows (at least of my parents' generation and eariler) seem to generally feel forced to become more independent people, and sometimes find that they like it. Whereas widowers seem to generally feel that somebody ought to cook them dinner.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:20 PM
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I think it's Chevy or GMC that has what they bill as a "California version" of one of their trucks, and it's not unusual to see ads that tout companies as California's #1 choice.

I think they do this everywhere, though. I certainly recall seeing "Colorado's #1 Pickup" when I was out there. I think Fuddruckers goes even farther and comes up with location-dependent cutsey names for their burgers.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:21 PM
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148: In a conversation a couple of weeks ago "He went to grade school in Nazi Germany, so he has really good penmanship."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:22 PM
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I am still quite attached to , but I find that my sense of what is good and bad about the place often conflicts with those who have actually lived there since the mid-70s.

LEBRON is good! LEBRON! Most everything else is bad.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:23 PM
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The single best predictor was how strongly the individual identified with Texas, as measured by attitudinal surveys.

This is really common with regionalisms, isn't it? There was a similar study regarding some vowels on Martha's Vineyard.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:27 PM
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234: Hah! My html-code quoting bomb worked!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:27 PM
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I tend to be more worried about "my city was gone"* types of things

Although she & her band are great too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:27 PM
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Besides, our basic physical theory these days, quantum mechanics, is indeterministic.

Ooh! Ooh! I know someone writing a dissertation on metaphysics and physics who I'm sure would love to take issue with the "our basic physical theory" part of that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:28 PM
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I'm with Megan to the extent of being a little bit baffled by the idea of letting one's work drive location decisions rather than the other way around, but with everybody else in being way too slutty to relate to one place as the best ever for me. Having deep connections to a couple of very different places fucks with "I want to go home" but is otherwise rewarding, and there are lots of other nice spots as well.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:31 PM
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I have to admit I'm a total St. Paul homer (moved here from South Dakota for college--I just realized that in October I will have spent half my life here. Geez.). Minneapolis is nice and all (especially Nordeast), and you've got the good restaurants (except for Heartland), but your Farmer's Market sucks, and everything is too damn spread out there, and your traffic blows. And St. Paul's side of the River is better too. (Winking emoticon should go here.) Plus I'm nuts for a few of the restaurants along University and/or Snelling--Black Sea, Fasika, Saigon Cafe, Big Daddy's barbecue. And our neighborhood bars are pretty great (in a different way than NE's are great).


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:32 PM
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238: Yeah, I'd love to have a conversation about this. I yearn to do real philosophy again.

Amazingly, someone just emailed and asked me for the abstract and table of contents for my dissertation. It was probably random and means nothing, but I was flattered.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:33 PM
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240 being said, I would totally move to Portland or Seattle, or (dream) London or Sydney.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:34 PM
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Whereas widowers seem to generally feel that somebody ought to cook them dinner.

That may be part of it, but I also think it's that men, especially of the generation that's 70+, are less likely to have close friendships outside their marriage and they may have relied on their wives for keeping social connections. It gets lonely a lot faster.

According to my therapist, men who were happily married tend to get remarried pretty quickly.

It's the 4-week acquaintance, not the 1-year-out-of-widowhood, that's troubling to me.

Brock, there's only so much you can do, but maybe you can convince her that they should live together before getting married -- much less messy to untangle. Or at least that they should keep separate checking accounts.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:34 PM
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almost nobody could be ready for Act II

I also meant to cite this in particular. I just don't think it's a helpful or accurate generalization.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:37 PM
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Around here they hype the "Northland" edition of Chevy (I think) trucks. Which is funnier if you have some connection to Northland College, a hippie environmentalist school.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:38 PM
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I know someone writing a dissertation on metaphysics and physics who I'm sure would love to take issue with the "our basic physical theory" part of that.

Wait, what? I mean, it is what all of physics is based on -- and spectacularly confirmed experimentally -- for 80 years now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:41 PM
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Kraab, does your therapist realize you are not a recently divorced or widowed man considering remarriage?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:42 PM
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I only feel comfortable opening up to her a little at a time.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:44 PM
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It concerns, I believe, how "theory" and the postulates of the theories are likely to be construed by, on the one hand, metaphysicians interested in ontology and, on the other, by physicists, or something, and it involves this book, or something. Something!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:45 PM
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Hey OPINIONATED ESSEAR I know you don't want to talk about it, but can you point to a good layperson's explanation of why QM is deterministic?

Not offhand. Maybe Wikipedia on decoherence?

The gist is this: all of the indeterminism in QM arises from "wavefunction collapse"; everything else is unitary, deterministic evolution. But there's no reason to think actual nonunitary processes occur; "wavefunction collapse" is just a nonunitary approximation to decoherence, which is the unitary evolution in the presence of a large, approximately classical environment. For any practical macroscopic purpose, QM is not deterministic, because decoherence keeps us from probing the other approximately classical branches of the wavefunction. But certainly the most parsimonious, and the only physically and mathematically reasonable, interpretation of the theory is the one where all the evolution is unitary. (This is close to what some call "many worlds", which seems to add extra layers of interpretational baggage and confusion.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:46 PM
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Um, on second glance, that Wikipedia entry very quickly goes into things that don't look like "layperson's explanations".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:47 PM
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244: We'll have to agree to disagree on this. Putting a multi-year relationship behind you requires a shitload of sorting and processing. I don't see how a multi-decade one could be any different.

It's the 4-week acquaintance, not the 1-year-out-of-widowhood, that's troubling to me.

My guess is that the former is a glaring symptom of not having adequately processed the latter. On the other hand, I'm intimately acquainted with all parties involved and you see my counseling degree on the wall over there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:47 PM
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You want gays without homophobes

Wow, what elitist scum we are.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:48 PM
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I'm wary of anyone with a counseling degree.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:48 PM
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Me too, having had a psychiatrist father.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:49 PM
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I don't see how a multi-decade one could be any different.

I defer to your demographically diverse longitudinal study.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:52 PM
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Nevermind! Apparently they exist. I thought they all had degrees in psychology or psychiatry or social work. Hadn't previously heard of a Ph.D. in "counseling".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:52 PM
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250: essear does not play dice.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:54 PM
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Maybe Heebie just doesn't like outlines.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:54 PM
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For any practical macroscopic purpose, QM is not deterministic, because decoherence keeps us from probing the other approximately classical branches of the wavefunction.

This sounds muddled. Obviously the interactions of macroscopic objects are basically Newtonian and thus more or less deterministic. Things like radioactive decay, though, are for any practical purpose not deterministic, as the decay products quickly interact with their environment and decohere. In principle, though, they're deterministic.

So I would say that, to the best of our knowledge, we find ourselves in the curious position of living in a deterministic universe that is to extraordinarily high precision well modeled by a set of nondeterministic laws. At any rate, the deterministic/nondeterministic question is a subtle enough question in physics that it seems unwise to me to pin any deep philosophical significance to one answer or the other. Not that I know the first thing about philosophy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:56 PM
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degrees in psychology or psychiatry

I'm wary of those as well. But I recognize that my wariness isn't quite based in rationality.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:56 PM
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But I recognize that my wariness isn't quite based in rationality.

Interesting. Tell me about your father.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 12:58 PM
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Interesting. Tell me about your interest in Apo's father.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:00 PM
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Must... not... feed... troll....


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:00 PM
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Putting a multi-year relationship behind you requires a shitload of sorting and processing. I don't see how a multi-decade one could be any different.

It doesn't have to be, but the person in question may be more willing to begin a new relationship with the understanding that the grief-processing is going to be simultaneously occurring on a parallel track.

I truly have no opinion about the wisdom of this, but I've seen it happen a handful of times and it seems to work well enough for the parties in question.

Maybe it's also about having -- well, not *lower,* exactly, but certainly different expectations of your spouse's role. If you want someone who is going to be companionable and affectionate, ask how your day was, share meals and bills and holidays and sex, but you're perfectly fine with her having her grandkids and rich history, and you having yours, and the twain are rarely going to meet...again, doesn't work for everybody, might not work for me, but seems to work okay for some.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:03 PM
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It concerns, I believe, how "theory" and the postulates of the theories are likely to be construed by, on the one hand, metaphysicians interested in ontology and, on the other, by physicists, or something, and it involves this book, or something. Something!

Something! Okay. I'll leave metaphysics to the metaphysicians. (But why "metaphysician" instead of "metaphysicist"?)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:04 PM
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264 -> ?? (a wealth of possibilities)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:04 PM
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Ham-Love, I think essear is completely sincere in his positions on the deterministic nature of wave-collapse functions.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:06 PM
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(But why "metaphysician" instead of "metaphysicist"?)

Beats me, but it's what's said.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:06 PM
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I find it really hard identifying with an area as large and arbitrarily defined as a state. A city I can sort of understand - most cities have an actual feel to them. But states? Even Rhode Island is big enough to encompass some wildly different areas and regions with wildly different inhabitants. What does it mean to identify with New York, the state? Does anyone really believe in the existence of a meaningful identity that comfortably fits both Manhattan and Utica, but excludes people living in, say, Boston?


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:06 PM
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266: They're "healing" the world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:06 PM
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267: Don't feed the troll, JP!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:07 PM
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270: States may be large and arbitrarily defined, but they're defined nonetheless, and people construct narratives and affiliations and identities based on those definitions.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:09 PM
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267: It's like a Rorschach test, innit.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:10 PM
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I find it really hard identifying with an area as large and arbitrarily defined as a state.

You think that's bad, what about those Earth First! bigots?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:11 PM
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273 Neatly rejoins the quantum physics thread and the OP thread.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:11 PM
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274: AHA! So it's apo's aspersions against psychiatrists/ologists that you're objecting to!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:12 PM
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I'm a physics ignoramus, but essear is far from the first physic-y person I've heard describe quantum mechanics as deterministic.


Posted by: inaccessible island rail | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:14 PM
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I was just struck with a sudden fear that apostropher has become a Scientologist!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:14 PM
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279: Can we talk about that fear, M/tch? In this e-meter, preferably?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:16 PM
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280: Shhhh! Don't bother me. I'm taking a free personality test.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:19 PM
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281: Let me guess, ENTJ?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:21 PM
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Essear, your explanation in 250 is beyond my comfort level in complexity.

I learned at some point that, say, radioactive decay events were "random" or "non-deterministic" - that the time of the next decay event out of a certain lump of Uranium or whatever was not predictable.

If QM is deterministic, that means to me that the decay is not random. So either you're saying:

A, the Universe has some rules that we know today, that determine when the decay events are, but it's impossible or impractical to measure all the factors which are input into those rules, so the decay event is unpredictable in practice

B, the Universe has some rules that are unknown to us, but their existence is asserted or implied, that determine those events

or C, damn, Ham-Love, that's not even wrong! You're so confused I don't even know where to start educating you!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:23 PM
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Essear, your explanation in 250 is beyond my comfort level in complexity.

I learned at some point that, say, radioactive decay events were "random" or "non-deterministic" - that the time of the next decay event out of a certain lump of Uranium or whatever was not predictable.

If QM is deterministic, that means to me that the decay is not random. So either you're saying:

A, the Universe has some rules that we know today, that determine when the decay events are, but it's impossible or impractical to measure all the factors which are input into those rules, so the decay event is unpredictable in practice

B, the Universe has some rules that are unknown to us, but their existence is asserted or implied, that determine those events

or C, damn, Ham-Love, that's not even wrong! You're so confused I don't even know where to start educating you!


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:23 PM
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As if to illustrate the problem, Ham-Love's comment is at the same time both 283 and 284.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:27 PM
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285: But what I want to know is whether Ham-Love's cat is alive or dead.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:28 PM
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at the same time both 283 and 284

You'll notice, as well, that 283 spins counter-clockwise and 284 clockwise.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:29 PM
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some people just live in a place without thinking it is the best ever place for them.

Come to South Carolina! Our expectations are low.

I can't imagine moving anywhere else at the moment because, well, there's the job, and the house, and my friends, and it's exhausting just to think about trying to put all of that back together somewhere else even if I liked it all a lot less than I do, which I don't. Depending on my moods/the weather, I have some/a lot of affection for my crazy state, similar to the affection for an entertaining, but no-account, relative, but it's truly far from "best place ever," and more like "not so bad, considering."

I might like Texas, though; having lived in South Carolina and New Orleans and having spent a lot of time in the more desolate parts of south Georgia, Texas sounds fucked-up in very similar ways. I might even feel at home there.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:31 PM
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286: Schrödinger's Cat blogging.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:32 PM
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289: Blocked here at work, so I still can't tell!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:34 PM
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The "everything happens for a reason"-esque phrase that bugs the ever-living shit out of me is that drivel about God opening windows when he closes doors. It has always - always, even in childhood - registered with me as someone saying that God was playing hide and seek with people's happiness. It isn't that I doubted that, either, it's that it made me have significantly less interest in hanging out with the guy and yet paradoxically, from my perspective, it was only ever said by His cheerleaders. I realize that its intent is as a message of hope, etc., but whevs.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:39 PM
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286: Alive, I can see her from here.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:39 PM
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290: But your curiosity was not without consequences!! Thanks a fuck of a lot.


Posted by: Schrödinger's Cat | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:40 PM
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270, 273: In fairness, New York is probably the worst example of this. New York city is maybe the quintessential metropolis (then again, maybe that's American exceptionalism too), rural upstate New York is basically Vermont with billboards, and upstate New York also includes half a dozen small and medium-sized cities with long histories by American standards and Rust Belt economies. And the downstate/Long Island area is the part of New York I'm least familiar with (which isn't saying much) but I gather it/they have yet another character distinct from any of the previous.

The idea of New York State having a single, coherent identity is probably more absurd than that of any other state having a single coherent identity.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:40 PM
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253:You said it.

See, there's this Korean family wjo operate a little drivethru sausage & biscuit place on the next block. I of course don't know if they are homophobes or not, but the biscuits are good.

But I was wondering, presuming they were homophobes, how I could keep them out of my community without requiring a test or confession, how I could pre-emptively control my neighborhood demographics.

Certainly this method of exclusionary concentration isn't limited to the swpl yuppies of Austin and NYC and some other urban or coastal areas. George W Bush lives...well the neighborhood is only discriminatory by income I think.

A lot of us Texans don't think want to live that way, locking out people not like us.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:40 PM
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292: Alive, I can see her from here.

Reports some electrical impulses coming to my computer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:42 PM
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probably more absurd than that of any other state

Chauvinist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:44 PM
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If QM is deterministic, that means to me that the decay is not random.

There's one sense in which at atom is either decayed, or not. There's another sense in which - VERY loosely - an atom is 5% decayed and 95% not decayed. Using the second sense, radioactive decay is deterministic, and proceeds according to very rigid rules. After one halflife, the atom is 50% decayed. In some ways, the second sense is the "more accurate" one.

But if you ask the question "is this atom decayed or not", the second sense no longer applies and you get a "yes" or a "no" with a particular probability.

We operate in the world of "yes or no", hence the thinking of QM as non-deterministic.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:45 PM
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And that's why most of y'all hate Texas, isn't it?California's hot, and NYC ain't really verdant.

It's all those people not like you down here.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:45 PM
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295: One of my favorite Texas quotes was from an article on how Dallas was ooming as a financial center in the late 70s/early 80s. One of the newly transferred was gleeful, "You don't even have to pretend to like the symphony here."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:46 PM
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299
And that's why most of y'all hate Texas, isn't it?California's hot, and NYC ain't really verdant.

If Vermont were flattened out, it would be bigger than Texas.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:49 PM
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This may be the most obvious trolling I've ever seen. Not even twisting people's words. Not even paraphrasing or quoting selectively! Just making stuff up.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:52 PM
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295: What you think about gay people in the privacy of your drive-through sausage joint is your business. I just don't need to see it in public.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:53 PM
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The best bit is the identification of NYC as a place to avoid people who aren't like you (with Koreans singled out). I suppose it's just as funny when applied to California, but the picture of NY as a place to, guaranteed, avoid Koreans (homophobic or not) is cracking me up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:56 PM
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What you think about gay people... drive-through sausage joint

Oh, I think we all know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:57 PM
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284: Hamlove, I can't follow Essear's explanation either (or the article he linked to) but I think I've got a few leads.

When he talks about "unitary" and "nonunitary" "histories" or "processes" I think he is talking about whether the history of a system branches out with multiple possibilities. The pop sci description of atomic decay and Schrodinger's cat and stuff was "nonunitary" because it involved two possibilities, dead cat and live cat, only one of which could be actual. In the pop sci version of QM, people generally start using the phrase "waveform collapse" about this time, and everyone acts like they know what that means.

BUT! sometime in the 80s, Real Physicists stopped saying "waveform collapse" all the time and started saying "quantum decoherence," because it was much more fun to say and no one had any mistaken pop sci ideas about it. Somehow when you start using the word "decoherence" you can talk about the history of an atom decaying without any branches. But don't really understand how, because decoherence is something only people with an extra lobe on their brain can understand.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:57 PM
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But everybody loves Austin, and I doubt it's the hills and the Guadalupe. Climate sure ain't that different than Dallas, Houston, El Paso.

SWPL.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 1:59 PM
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298 helps, and I think fits with what i said.

There was a point in graduate school where I thought I would write about the philosophy of physics. I look back on that and laugh.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:00 PM
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decoherence is something only people with an extra lobe on their brain can understand

I used to understand it, before my extra lobe decohered. Now I just get distracted by the rattling sound every time I try to think about it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:02 PM
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299: Got it in one! That's exactly why I hate Texas. Minneapolis is full of people just like me, what with my Native-Somali-Norwegian-Mexican-Tibetan heritage, my Green-Democrat-Ron Paul-supporting politics, the intense albeit conflicted Christianity that takes me from the UCC one week to the small Baptist storefront church down the road another, my preference for good meaty barbecue and my intense, intense dislike of large independent bookstores. It's a good thing I'm surrounded by people like me, because if I lived with Texans, I wouldn't know where to turn.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:02 PM
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A lot of us Texans don't think want to live that way, locking out people not like us.

So Lyle (per 28) has it right after all? Color me skeptical.

Blue and Red states are sorting out for reasons that seem pretty obvious to me - the same sort of reasons that Mississippi blacks, say, went to Chicago so often.

Well I prefer Chicago to Mississippi, and I prefer the Blue states to the Red. It seems perverse to suggest that this is prejudice.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:03 PM
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OK, wait, if there are Koreans in NYC, forget what I said in 121. If you want to meetup in my dad's family room, I'll be there with the shades drawn.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:04 PM
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Frowner, you might want to see a doctor. You're retaining multitudes.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:04 PM
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312: If it turns out you do have an evening free for a meetup, do mention it. I haven't been getting out with Unfogged people hardly at all the last year or so, and I feel like I need a good excuse to call a bar night.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:07 PM
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313: I am legion!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:08 PM
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am legion

Them too?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:08 PM
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So jelp me out here, explain to me this visceral loathing of a state like so many states, with cities not so different from other cities. People in Arizona or Ohio don't drive cars, don't have Walmarts? Y'all think everybody here votes for DeLay and some of us can't stand our yahoos? Why not the hating on the idiots of Tennessee and Kentucky, the assholes of Indiana?

Why fuck with Texas?

Y'all can just fuck off, I'm going to walk my dogs down to the Pakistani video store.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:09 PM
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314: Will do. Maybe I'll be the excuse, but only actually cruise by long enough for Iris to recite the Odyssey.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:11 PM
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Actually, I only hate boomer Texans.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:11 PM
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I remember hearing Willie Brown's inauguration speech when he was first elected as mayor of SF. It was a sunny day, and he said something like "Greetings from San Francisco, where there are no clouds and no Republicans." There is a certain truth there.

There's surely some liberal-enclave sorting going on, although it's obviously different for metropolises like NYC or LA than it is for places like Berkeley, Austin, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:13 PM
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Hating boomer Texans is very swipple. Especially if they have dogs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:13 PM
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Arg. I said don't get me started. These things are hard to explain, and I'm not so good at it.

298 and 306 are on the right track.

With the radioactive decay example: a radioactive atom sitting around in empty space would sort of continuously decay; over time, more and more of its wavefunction would be in the "decayed" state and less in the "undecayed state". So it would be a superposition of atoms that decayed at all different times, with decay products moving in random directions. This is a relatively clean quantum state, the kind that easily comes out of the math of QM.

In the presence of an environment, though, things are messier. If it decays, one of the decay products might smack into an atom at some point, and that atom then careens off into something else, and so on. So instead of just a superposition of atoms decayed in different times, it's a superposition of "atom decayed at time t0 and interacted with other atom at time t1 and those pieces hit something else at t2 and those hit something else at t3" and by time tN not too long after t0, the states it's a superposition of look nothing at all like one another because zillions of different atoms have been affected. These collisions sort of amplify the signal, as each atom moving away is saying "whoa! something happened over here!", and thus one particular direction out of the whole quantum soup of possible directions gets singled out. We say the different states have "decohered", and the state of the environment is "entangled" with the state of the decay. In reality, it's still true that the atom decayed at every possible time and the quantum state is a superposition. But now it's a huge, messy superposition, and because the big classical state of the environment is tied up with where the decay happened, it starts to make sense to pretend that the decay happened in a particular place, because the branches of the wavefunction where it happened somewhere else are different not only in the state of that one particle, but of zillions of particles. This means the two branches of the wavefunction are so different that we can effectively pretend they are different, independent universes that don't talk to each other. That's an approximation -- QM tells us the other branches still have tiny effects on us -- but it's a very good approximation. If we do that, then it looks like the decay happened at some particular, random time. And because we can't really mathematically keep track of the zillions of pieces, we sort of abstract them away and say the wavefunction has "collapsed".

Because we, ourselves, are made out of zillions of atoms, pretty much anything we interact with has gone through this sort of process. So we lose sight of the fact that the universe is a superposition of zillions of possibilities, all happening at once in a completely deterministic way; we only see signals that are massively amplified from the tiny quantum-level stuff, and by the time all that amplification happens, we see just one of the many possibilities, and which one we see depends on which branch of the big wavefunction we're in.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:14 PM
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Sometimes I forget how awesome people who hang out with homophobes at the Pakistani video store completely out of your mind you are, bob. Thanks for the reminder.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:14 PM
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304
The best bit is the identification of NYC as a place to avoid people who aren't like you (with Koreans singled out).

Actually, it would make sense if you're thinking about similarity based on ideology rather than demographics. What's the big deal about Koreans? Bob gets down in the trenches and interacts with conservatives all the time. I'll bet you namby-pamby liberals moved all the way to New York just to avoid them.

311
It seems perverse to suggest that this is prejudice.

Sure it is, you're being prejudiced. Prejudiced against the intolerant.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:16 PM
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317: If it makes you feel any better, bob, I don't hate Texas. Just you.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:16 PM
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I AM INTOLERANT OF YOUR INTOLERANCE


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:16 PM
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Yes my swipple roots, like so many others, were forged vulcanized in the rubber factories of Northeast Ohio and I was sent to Texas as a young man specifically to scoff and belittle the put upon denizens of Texas and their dogs and Pakistani video stores. Exposed at last!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:18 PM
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Is it a plausible ocnjecture that the "sleepy" in this thread is bob? Comment 53 seems like it contains a tell.


Posted by: bizzah | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:18 PM
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Why fuck with Texas?

Wait, I was told we couldn't *mess* with Texas. Now we can't fuck with it either? Texas has too many rules.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:19 PM
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explain to me this visceral loathing of a state

What "visceral loathing"? Texas could be my home. I conceded that.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:19 PM
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So jelp me out here, explain to me this visceral loathing of a state like so many states, with cities not so different from other cities. People in Arizona or Ohio don't drive cars, don't have Walmarts?

People in Arizona and Ohio don't have nearly as many electoral votes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:19 PM
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331: Size queen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:20 PM
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291: Have a blessed day, McManlyPants.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:20 PM
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So if you look at all the possible worlds at the same time, the whole thing is deterministic. I think I understand it, but I also suspect that it is cheating somehow.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:21 PM
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328: sleepy isn't bob, no


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:23 PM
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333: You're only saying that because it's so damn much fun to say.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:23 PM
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I shouted it out the window that god opened for a reason.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:25 PM
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God thought it was getting a little stuffy?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:26 PM
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332: I've got like 30 goddamned electoral votes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:26 PM
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328: bob doesn't quote French. Though I'm sure there are quite a few Texans who do!

God, I really loathe those periodic "let's us philosophers talk about how we 'communicate better' with the humanities" threads on CT. Never seems to occur to people that maybe the problem isn't that they're just failing to communicate their fabulousness.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:27 PM
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338: Global warming is God's way of trying to get us to take off all our clothes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:28 PM
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Why fuck with Texas?

Because it's been long enough for us to forgive Pennsylvania for Buchanan.


Posted by: Duvall | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:28 PM
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Wow. That's weird: In spite of having no Unfogged people in my network, Facebook just suggested I make an Unfogged-related person my friend. How does Facebook know I read Unfogged?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:29 PM
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On the topic of experts in regions and regionalisms, has Emerson been missing lately or have I just not been around when he is?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:29 PM
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Emerson moved to Portland (I know they have the internet there, though). He might be busy. I hope he didn't fall under one of those strange Portlandish buses or something, though.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:31 PM
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333: For reasons unknown, that phrase doesn't bother me at all but probably because a friend of mine uses a charming variation on it whenever we hang up the phone. However, I can see how it would send someone through the roof.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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bob doesn't quote French. Though I'm sure there are quite a few Texans who do!

The only French we Texans mess with is to note that Texas is bigger than France.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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Q: Why did the boomer Texan cross the road?
A: To do something bigoted and racist.

OK, I'll quit there. I've got to leave to go buy some SWPL native plants from people just like me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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334 So if you look at all the possible worlds at the same time, the whole thing is deterministic. I think I understand it, but I also suspect that it is cheating somehow.

Right. But one of the key points that tends to get muddled when people talk about "many worlds" or possible worlds or whatever is that in quantum mechanics, there's no sharp separation between different worlds. There isn't some instant where a wavefunction branches into two completely independent pieces. That's the old "wavefunction collapse" picture which is at best an approximation. Wavefunctions are constantly resolving into almost-independent branches, but they're not completely independent, if you take QM seriously. Which is why I don't think it's cheating -- you can't, within the formalism of QM, separate out one "possible world" completely from all the others. There's no sharp boundary anywhere in sight.

It's still true, for all practical purposes, that there are events that look random, of course. Which is why I think it's a mistake to assign too much import to determinism vs. nondeterminism; it's possible to have something deterministic that looks nondeterministic to extremely high precision (or vice versa).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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332: I've got like 30 goddamned electoral votes.

We're talking about Texas, not Washington.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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Pre-emptive: 332 to 347.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:32 PM
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The main thing that annoys me about the god opening windows for a reason spiel is that it quickly devolves into victim blaming. "It's your fault for not knowing how to make the best of this situation. God doesn't throw anything at you that you can't handle, so if you don't handle it, its your own damn fault."

The other main thing that bothers me about the god opening windows for a reason spiel is that the people who give it to me generally haven't had to deal with anything much more serious than a bad break-up with a high school boyfriend. Just once I'd like to see someone say "I'm sorry your entire village was massacred by members of a rival ethnic group, the fields were salted and a corpse was thrown in the well. But you know, everything happens for a reason. God doesn't throw anything at you that you can't handle."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:33 PM
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sleepy's a longtime disgruntled CT poster with a relatively recent new pseud -- does bob use pseuds, even?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:33 PM
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345: Thanks! I hope that if he were to fall under a strange bus that he would at least be brought good pie.

352: Yes, this, also. It suggests that people just aren't squeezing their lemons hard enough, and whose fault is that, anyway? Hmm?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:35 PM
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The "everything happens for a reason"-esque phrase that bugs the ever-living shit out of me is that drivel about God opening windows when he closes doors. It has always - always, even in childhood - registered with me as someone saying that God was playing hide and seek with people's happiness.

God moved your cheese.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:35 PM
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340: I can't count how many times I've been told by physicists in academia that getting a PhD in physics means you can do pretty much any of the engineering professions. The best was the tenured theorist who got a chance to put his mad engineerin' skillz to the test on a device I worked on and completely screwed the pooch in a way that simply couldn't be blustered away or blamed on someone else (which is how these things are usually handled). Good times.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:37 PM
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352
Just once I'd like to see someone say "I'm sorry your entire village was massacred by members of a rival ethnic group, the fields were salted and a corpse was thrown in the well. But you know, everything happens for a reason. God doesn't throw anything at you that you can't handle."

Well, that's stupid. Once the fields have been salted, no one is going to make a living in the area, so it doesn't really matter if the well water is drinkable. Think, people! What a waste of a perfectly good corpse.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:39 PM
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You don't even have to pretend to like the symphony here."

In fairness, Dallas cultural institutions are pretty innovative. I understand that it was a Dallas museum that invented the practice of buying works of art by the pound.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:39 PM
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340.2 -- Couldn't agree more. For all of his craziness, I'm a little bit in love with Bob for his first comment here.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:40 PM
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Global warming is God's way of trying to get us to take off all our clothes.

Alas, it's June in the tropics and it still ain't happening. And I'm not entirely sure naked Texans would be a good thing anyway (present company excepted, of course).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:40 PM
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I understand that it was a Dallas museum that invented the practice of buying works of art by the pound.

"Lead Balloon #7" is a particularly innovative piece.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:41 PM
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340: I can't count how many times I've been told by physicists in academia that getting a PhD in physics means you can do pretty much any of the engineering professions.

On the other hand, I'm pretty confident that I can catastrophically break any delicate apparatus within a hundred-yard radius without really trying.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:42 PM
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362: Stay away from my lab. This is your only warning. Use of deadly force has been authorized.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:46 PM
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362: I'm not worried. My apparatus is [Juggernaut Firm].


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:46 PM
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I've had a number of 343-like friends suggestions recently. I'd like to know the trick. One was a relative with a different last name who has no FB friends in common with me. One was a friend of a relative. A couple of other similar things.

Both would have my email address in their address books, but then they would have just friended me. It's a puzzle.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:46 PM
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343, 365 - My wife just had something like this happen. I assumed that she just had the relevant address in her e-mail, but maybe there is something more sinister going on.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:49 PM
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Brock, my grandfather re-married in very nearly the exact same situation as you described. I don't think it worked out very well for them (she found that the perks of being re-coupled (which included being able to join the Yacht Club that doesn't allow single women!!!) didn't compensate for the fact that someone expected her to pay attention to him all day long (he's a talker)), but it brought me some freakin' excellent cousins.

You have to look at it from the right perspective if you want to find the reason things happen.

(I sat at their wedding with tears streaming down my face and choking on sobs, trying to be happy for them but missing my grandma. Sadly, they'd put me right up front and arranged us in a semi-circle. Sorry 'bout that.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:56 PM
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bob doesn't quote French. Though I'm sure there are quite a few Texans who do!

At the French immersion school I attended, the two largest demographic groups were the Norwegians (because their Queen went there, apparently) and the rich Texans.

There was one Texan, a rich older guy, who came back year after year to accompany his wife, but never advanced beyond the beginner level.

Now the policy of the school was that if a member of staff caught you speaking a language other than French, you were fined 10F (with the proceeds going to finance the end-of-session party). Legend has it that this particular Texan got so frustrated one day that, when an instructor demanded the 10F penalty, he took out his wallet, pulled out a wad of large-denomination banknotes, and said, "Just run me a tab, will ya'?"


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 2:58 PM
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#365,366. The weird thing is, the suggested friend wasn't even someone who comments here very much any more (as far as I know). I only recognized the name from the Flickr group. Very strange.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:08 PM
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322: Thanks! I think I managed to fold most of that explanation into my intuition. So the answer to my multiple choice is "mostly A, but it's a fudge to talk about a decay event like it's a thing that happened at a particular point in spacetime, because it's all large-number-statistical and intertwingly."


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:35 PM
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Also, I have to revise my theoretical theological hypothetical of God The Bored Simulation Programmer now.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:41 PM
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Hating Texans is like hating vegans or hippies. No one hates them each individually. Just those of that tribe that behave in certain anti-social ways.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:48 PM
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371: Me too, on my knees.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:50 PM
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Emerson moved to Portland (I know they have the internet there, though). He might be busy. I hope he didn't fall under one of those strange Portlandish buses or something, though.

I knew this was coming, and I've been wondering about something. Didn't he move to Wobegon to live with his sister and save money? Where's he going to live now cheaply in Portland? Can his brother put him up? Maybe he could get a part-time job in the coffee shop.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:52 PM
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70 made me laugh.

372 is true.

I like Tommy Lee Jones.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 3:58 PM
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358: In fairness, Dallas cultural institutions are pretty innovative.

Combining that with the French Texans, I will say that the de Menils (the Schlumberger folks) have really done some good things in Houston. This little area between Rice U.and the Montrose area with the Rothko Chapel and several museums is very nice. (I lived in three nearby places west, east and south of there, but it looks like they've added a lot since then and I've not been back.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:06 PM
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375.last: It is a very fine coffee shop, and I regret that I didn't get by there last time I was in Portland.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:08 PM
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340:I wish I could quote French. With my 100 books on the revolution, learning French is on my mind. Complete Michelet is available for free download in French. And more.

No I don't spoof or use pseudos.

I connect the current Holbo CT threads to his attacks on Slavoj Zizek and "Theory". It's about controlling the forms of discourse in order to limit the range and content. Emerson was on this from one direction. I'm not mad or anything at Holbo about it. It's an argument.

The recent CT threads have taught me some things.
I wondered if analytic philosophy is pre-ethical or sub-ethical in a Kierkeggaardian(sic?) sense, as a flight from subjectivity.

And then was the question for Lamont. I like feminists. Feminists are focused.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:08 PM
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You know the genre of jokes about everything in Texas being BIG, and Texans bragging about it?

Texas: Almost big enough to be a Canadian province.


Posted by: like this one? | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:09 PM
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374:I get arounf and I haven't seen Emerson. Maybe at Kotsko's, but probably not.

I though he and dsquared got fed up in the same thread a while back. Not that he hasn't renounced his renunciations before.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:11 PM
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I'm pretty sure he was around for a while after the Read blowup, which is when dsquared decided we were too self-satisfied to talk to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:13 PM
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I miss read.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:18 PM
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We are too self-satisfied to talk to, especially the read attackers.

Holbo is an annoying fuck.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:23 PM
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That really was a sucky set of events there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:38 PM
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OTOH, if we knew how to agree to disagree the whole Unfogged business model would collapse.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:43 PM
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But yes, it sucked. The shit-giving of old was much more fun than explaining at length how another commenter really does suck.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 4:49 PM
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re: the analytic philosophy threads at CT. It's a no-win situation.

There are certain people who expect nothing but constant self-flaggelation from the philosophers and the philosophy people just end up digging themselves holes. They are being trolled. Even the mildest attempt at self-justification or defence against the constant 'When did you stop beating your wife?' rhetoric only makes it worse.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:18 PM
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Why not the hating on the idiots of Tennessee and Kentucky, the assholes of Indiana?

Oh, I do, but they mostly have the decency to stay up in the hollers drinking shine and screwing their cousins. Texans have this unfortunate habit of creating assholes who live on the national stage and do all in their power to make the world an objectively worse place. (Austin excepted. I like Austinites a lot.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:23 PM
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I've been wondering about Emerson, too. Jesus McQ, shouldn't you be checking up on him or having him pick grapes or something?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:24 PM
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Re: NYC meetup: It has been too long.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:26 PM
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We're supposed to get together, but I've been preoccupied preparing to get the hell out of here for a couple of weeks. I'll check in with him. And I need pie.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:37 PM
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387: Yes, this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:38 PM
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387:John C. Halasz is one of the reasons I read comment threads.

I take it more seriously than that. I don't know if the Empricism/Analytic Philosphy is a cause or more likely an effect of the differences between America/UK and Continental Europe but people have been talking about differences of temperament etc at least since the mid-18th. Hume vs Rousseau. Sumpin's goin on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:41 PM
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JE can certainly seem ubiquitous when he is rolling. Not too long ago I was reading EvolutionBlog, which I catch up on maybe once a month and almost never read the comments, but did go to the comments on this occasion and sure enough there was a big weighty JE comment a short way in.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:46 PM
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389:Oh, he also might be very down or RL challenged. Last I remember, his brother was in immediate jeopardy of losing his place.

I mean, shit could happen to me, and I wouldn't necessarily want to share it wth the whole freaking internet or put up a brave & cheerful front. And I probably won't.

Emerson will let us know what & when & if he wants.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:47 PM
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393: Read that comment and right below there is a discussion of, wait for it, Stephenson and SnowCrash, is he this month's strange attractor for the whole freaking web?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 5:48 PM
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393: Slack comments in that thread! I am amused, or amazed.

Halasz's lengthy comment is cogently written, yet glosses mightily: not least is that philosophy becomes identical to analytic philosophy (of a certain sort) quite early on*, albeit with repeated caveats thereafter captured by the phrase "under the above premises."

Here's the thing, though: the few comments I've read upthread from Halasz's suggest that the discussion is more interesting up there. And since Halasz is frankly combative in his comment, here I am losing my sense of humor.

* With the statement "Academically speaking, once philosophy is de-throned from its overweening pretension, philosophy can be characterized as a discipline as specializing in the elaboration of grounding arguments."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:06 PM
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I'm sure 387 is right, but it's still incredible how badly the philosophers come across. The Holbo post linked to above really, really looks like nothing more than a long-winded way of saying "Hey, we're not assholes, that's just how we roll" which is, of course, the classic defense of assholes everywhere.

There's also an undercurrent of "Hey, literary types, what you do is worthless and you don't know how to argue, and I really think you'd be able to see this if only our style didn't come across as so mean, so I'm trying to put it to you nicely." In other words, the philosophers really do seem to think that everything done in the English department is crap, but are hoping that a change in style (note: not there is no substantive argument made against literary-style analysis) would somehow persuade the folks in the English department to realize their own worthlessness.

I have absolutely zero stake in a debate between philosophers and literary theorists, nor do I have enough knowledge to participate usefully in a substantive discussion, but from an outsider's perspective the philosophers in that post really come across badly.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:11 PM
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There is a certain kind of smug / arrogant assholism that comes with being a philosopher.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:24 PM
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some philosophers, sometimes. Some of my best friends are philosophers. Just saying I know where Halford is coming from.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:25 PM
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||

I've started planning a trip to Portland. Not for several months yet, but it's always nice to have an ambition.

|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:27 PM
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383: OTOH, Holbo and Waring (who, I have it on excellent authority, is a total babe) have a translation of Plato out with nice original illustrations.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:32 PM
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398: from an outsider's perspective the philosophers Holbo in that post really come across badly.

Fixed that for you.

And rob, I hate to say it, but the lack or possession of babitude on Waring's part is not relevant.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:36 PM
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398: I read a number of comments in that thread, and I've come to the sober conclusion that I have no earthly idea what they mean by theory.

One of these decades when I have some spare time, maybe I'll do an Ambrose Bierce-esque exploration of words which have violently different meanings in different fields. I already knew "theory" was a source of militant tension in the evolution/creationism worlds, but it's moving into notable territory if it also carries some weighty, controversial meaning in another field.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:38 PM
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That's why I put it in parentheses!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:38 PM
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405 to 403.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:39 PM
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401: Portland meetup at last? Mark your calendars, people.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:40 PM
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Yeah, there was something about the translation announcement that I didn't get, namely, that it seemed as if Ms Waring proceeded with an English trot? But why should that have been necessary either for her or at all and not, rather, a distraction?

(No, not in the announcement but in the book itself, that she went from a colloquial & loose "english to english" translation by holbo. Huh? To what end?)

403.1's correction is, well, correct. Holbo has a knack for coming off extremely poorly and thinking he's being clever and witty or, indeed, gadflyish. When really he's just acting like an alienating dick.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:43 PM
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Boy, it's a good thing no one closely associated with Holbo is also closely associated with this site, huh?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:43 PM
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At least you didn't insult him on the main page this time.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:50 PM
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Emerson moved to Portland

Holy shit.

Woebegon misses you, John.
I would imagine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 6:55 PM
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Boy, it's a good thing no one closely associated with Holbo is also closely associated with this site, huh?

Mei Mei'll cut you, man.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:02 PM
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Slack's comment 99 in that thread is, on the other hand, to die for! What a babe.

I'm kidding, fooling around. The disagreement between (some, many?) academic philosophers and literary/political theorists has been going on for a while, and we all know about it. The Amanda Anderson book Holbo quotes from is pretty interesting -- I confess I didn't read the entirety of John's post after the quotation, but am not sure he's putting her to the use she'd intended. But I see that he acknowledged that. She's talking, right, about divergent directions in political theory; she's interesting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:03 PM
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One brilliant accomplishment can make up for a lot of triviality and silliness. I'd argue that James Watson is still primarily a discoverer of DNA, and not (primarily) a racist twit.

As I'm sure y'all know, Holbo is responsible for this classic takedown of conservative loon David Frum. With that accomplishment to his credit, I can forgive him for a lot of wordy, smug foolishness.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:34 PM
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||?

The dairy queen has melted
Having laid all her eggs
Amd the sporting good store
At the corner under the overpass

With an ice cream hot mouth
She smiled a carnation pink
Into the root canal music
Of a prom night disaster that sink

On roads paved with liver and onions
As the ginger ale tickled her nose
And the power lines traced with a finger
Where gray turning gold

Jokingly blowing a bubble
As the teenagers slammed on their brakes
And sucking her teeth
She insisted on raising the stakes

Now the dairy queen is quiet
Sweating brown vinyl seats
With a need for directions
And candy that's never too sweet.

|>?

came up in the randomizer


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:39 PM
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pf: the only outstanding question is whether that is the best, or the only good, thing holbo has done.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:42 PM
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Boy, it's a good thing no one closely associated with Holbo is also closely associated with this site, huh?

Holy shit, is _____ a pseud for ______?

Am I saying holy shit a lot, or what?

Iris just called me back in to her bedroom, very concerned about what happens to the shirt and cloak that Calypso gives to Odysseus before he leaves on the raft that gets wrecked. "Couldn't he just throw them ashore?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:50 PM
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416: Thomas Dolby, after being derided by a smug observer as a one-hit wonder, inquired, "How many hits do you have?"

Someday, neb, I am confident we will be able to forgive you, too.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:55 PM
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Holy shit, is ______ a pseud for ______?

Yup. But let's keep it that way.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 7:58 PM
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416, 418: Oh, for cripe's sake. I'm here to tell you that hardly anybody in the world has heard of John Holbo. So it is and will be for the vast majority of us, 'til the day we die.

I talked to someone recently who blogs in several places on the nastiness and behavior of the far Christian right, and he had never ever heard of Matt Yglesias! It's shocking.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:02 PM
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OT: There have got to be better ways of spending a mid-week holiday than fucking about the internet all day while occasionally making ineffectual gestures at a way-overdue project. OTOH, history suggests that such a day is sometimes necessary to tamp the guilt-induced aversion to the project down to a level where it can actually be completed, so it's not totally unproductive (given the background level of unproductive work habits).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:03 PM
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420: Lotta folks ain't heard of Thomas Dolby or James Watson, either. What's your point?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:08 PM
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let's keep it that way.

Everytime I see this phrase, I think of the clever "WELCOME TO OUR OOL" sign at the pool back when I was a kid.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:09 PM
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Also, standard arguments in less edumacated parts of the internet are even less productive than standard arguments here.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:09 PM
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Did "edumucated" come from anywhere besides the Pharcyde song? Or did they make it up?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:12 PM
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Sorry, that was actually intended as a joke.

Holy shit!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:13 PM
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425: don't ask.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:14 PM
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I took it as a joke also - because though I am a big fan of both pseuds, it never occurred to me to connect them, even after JRoth did so.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:15 PM
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I don't know anything about such a song. I just like fucking up words in honor of Our Former Leader.

More OT, from the "people who need to get the fuck over themselves" file: passengers from the flight that landed in the Hudson whine about not being compensated sufficiently, get a sympathetic ear from the NYT.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:16 PM
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Oh. I like jokes!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:23 PM
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I always assumed edumacated, like saxomophone, came from Homer J Simpson. I fear that's what Sifu's link is a bout, and I wash my hands of the whole thing.

On a separate note, the whole shopping-with-food-stamps thing is so freaky. Our monthly allowance (allotment?) is more or less exactly what our food budget already was. Which makes it feel like free money. Now we can afford wild salmon and free range chickens and grass-fed beef and the like. Plus, like, snack food. Really weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:26 PM
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Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To show the armadillo that it could be done.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:26 PM
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OT: I'm too macho to read Cute Overload, but if I weren't, I'd be laughing my ass off at the clip of the wolf cub being taught to howl. He's trying so hard!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:27 PM
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427: Why thanks!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:29 PM
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Congrats on the stamps, JRoth. That's a lot of food.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:29 PM
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The Simpsons episode looks like it aired five years after the Pharcyde album came out. So it's at least not Homer's invention.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:32 PM
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Can you buy seltzer?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:34 PM
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437 to 431. Sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:35 PM
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420:I was fucking promised 15 minutes. Fucking promised!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:36 PM
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435: It really is amazing to think that I can just buy fruit without worrying about $1 or $2 a pound. Although I'm a bit distressed that I may backslide on hard-won thrifty habits.

||

I can hardly express how much shit like this irritates me (specifically the main pic). I'm a huge - HUGE - fan of green roofs and earth shelter, but shit like that just strikes me as eyewash and greenwashing - "Ooh, look, we've made our soulless housing blocs chunky and green!" Fuck you and go design something humane, you worthless fucks.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:37 PM
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436: Did you read Tweety's link?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:38 PM
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And I thought I was slow to figure out what's through the wardrobe.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:39 PM
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437: Yes, if the seller can take the Access card. We were very tentative at first - can we really buy a bag of potato chips? Yes we can!

The next question is who, if anyone, in the Strip will take the card. Maybe everybody (which would be beyond awesome), but I'm terrified it will be no one. My entire week and food life revolve around Saturday shopping trips there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:39 PM
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440.last: yeah but they're not even going to think about building it, so hey: bonus!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:42 PM
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AB has happily written a new post. See my family.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:42 PM
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441: I did, I did. I thought that 431 was disputing the Popeye angle, although now I see that I didn't read it that closely. So I was saying that if you throw out Popeye, you still have to place Pharcyde before Homer chronologically. But now I don't need to say anything at all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:42 PM
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440: Seriously. Fruit is our biggest budget-killer. My daughters just seem to inhale it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:44 PM
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446: A well-fed baby.

(P.S. I didn't actually call to buy the Seltzer plant.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:46 PM
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448.PS: Your city needs you!

Your current boss hates you. He doesn't appreciate you. Your coworkers are all idiots.

You need freedom. You need flexibility. You need hundreds of beautiful, vintage seltzer bottles.

One word, MH: Carbonation!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:50 PM
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Q: How many armadillos does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Depends. Do they have to cross a road to do it?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:50 PM
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Oh, and that picture doesn't begin to express what Kai looked like after he was done with the mulberries. He was turning violet, Violet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:51 PM
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451: He was turning violet, Violet.

What's the vector, Victor?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:52 PM
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Popeye! I knew I'd heard it before most of you people were born. Homer Simpson, indeed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:56 PM
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452: Wow, I wonder if Netflix On Demand (or whatever it's called) has Airplane! That would be great.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:57 PM
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CC, good timing. There is a book you've recommended here several times (and recently if I recall) which sounded intriguing. Have you? And what is it? I'm on Powell's right now building an order.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 8:58 PM
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A book? Jesus. What's it about? Why?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:01 PM
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I thought it was you, maybe I'm wrong and it was someone else. Some re-working or retelling of an earlier play or something. Now I have no confidence it was you. Sorry if it wasn't.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:03 PM
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There is a book about Jesus, now that you mention it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:03 PM
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Geez, CC, don't tell me you've read more than one book. Bloody renaissance man, aren't you? Think you're so big?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:03 PM
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Shit. I recommended something to Bob the other day.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:03 PM
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I think it was me, but I'm drawing an embarrassing blank. No wine tonight, the sure cause.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:05 PM
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When you guys are done thinking about books, there's a sad sack on the anniversary thread, wondering if this lonely fifth bottle of rye, drunk alone with newspapers covering the floor so that he can pee without getting up, makes him an alcoholic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:06 PM
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If a fifth doesn't last at least a couple of weeks, that can't be a good sign.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:12 PM
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463: what? There's always more.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:15 PM
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Well, yes, but.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:16 PM
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If a fifth doesn't last at least a couple of weeks, that can't be a good sign.

Uhhhh....

But I don't drink beer!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:18 PM
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OK, I may be wrong. With liquor, two strongish drinks is about all I'm good for, three maybe in unusual circumstances, but mostly I drink beer and wine, so my yardstick for rapid liquor consumption is my wife's Scotch bottle in a really bad week, and she doesn't weigh much. (Two beers is apparently sufficient to bring out the Comma Shaker.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:26 PM
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For the record, what I intended to say in 462 was that he had already polished off four bottles, and was working on his fifth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:28 PM
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However, they were little hotel room bottles, so no biggie.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:28 PM
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3-4 ounces of liquor a night will kill a fifth in a week. That's not very much liquor, by any standard. If that's on top of 3-4 beers or half a bottle of wine, it's maybe an issue. IMO.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:30 PM
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MAYBE NOT FOR YOU!


Posted by: OPINIONATED HOBBIT | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:31 PM
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3-4 ounces of liquor a night will kill a fifth in a week.

The poor fifth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:32 PM
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Don't worry, there'v plenty of fifth in the thea.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:34 PM
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Ned FTW!

Night, all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:37 PM
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JP -- It was Gilligan's Wake.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:38 PM
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470: I was told there'd be no math.

But comity and all that. 2-4 ounces of liquor is how much liquor I drink when I drink liquor, and one or two beers or glasses of wine a night is not excessive, so yeah, you're right.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:39 PM
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Yes, that's it thank you. In the cart.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:40 PM
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475: Thanks again. Makes up for my other book frustration of the night. I had apparently found this great out of print book, Color and Light in Nature, for ~$20, but did not click quickly enough and now all I see are prices from $160 and up per usual. (There probably was a catch on the $20 one, there is one place in India selling it for about that (995 rupees), but only ships to India or Sri Lanka.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 9:49 PM
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475 Wrote it down this time.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-11-09 10:11 PM
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There is a certain kind of smug / arrogant assholism that comes with being a philosopher.

I'm prettty fucking tired of this, I'm fucking telling you. Here and at CT.

I have degrees in more than one subject, and, surprise surprise, there are fucking assholes everywhere. In my experience philosophy is no worse than anything else, and I've been educated at what is -- if CT threads and elsewhere are to be believed -- is the global epicentre of a particular style of assholery.

The philosopher is an asshole theme is fucking tired. It's no fucking surprise if someone philosophers get quite fucking pissed off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:14 AM
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4 ounces of liquor is a pretty stiff drink.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:20 AM
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I recently read a nontrivial part of a recent book by someone with a very prominent position at that global epicenter, and I have to say I am inclined to agree with the scathing review of it by someone with a less prominent position but also less insane commitments who is also affiliated with said epicenter.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:21 AM
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re: 482

Now I am very curious as to who the people are, and which book.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:24 AM
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I tried to email you said information but have got, apparently, an out-of-date address, so I resort to aggressive measures: T/m W/ll/amson, author of _The Ph/losophy of Ph/losophy_, reviewed by PMS H4x0r in the Ph/losoph/cal Quarterly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:33 AM
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re: 484

I need to remember to start linking a working email from my name here. I've changed it now.

Ah, yes, I've not read the TW book, but PMS H4xor is the sort of bloke to do a take down. His seminars are very fun indeed, or used to be: I've not been to one since I finished the Bee Phil. He'd smoke furiously while doing a Wittgensteinian take down -- often a very good and very witty Wittgensteinian take down -- of just about anything and everything written in the past several decades.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:39 AM
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Thanks, btw, I'll check out the H4xor review later.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:42 AM
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Re 480, it may just be that philosophy has particularly poor spokespersons in the world of blogs. Brian Leiter is, at least in his weblog personality, quite demonstrably an asshole, and that Holbo post was a weirdly terrible passive-aggressive non-defense of assholishness. Speaking personally as someone without real knowledge of the field, I have no idea whatsoever whether or not philosophers are more or less assholish than other academics, but the discipline's prominent online defenders are not really making the case for non-jerkiness.

Of course, if all I knew about American law schools was from blogs, I would think that law professors are moronic right wing creeps, so there's that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:33 AM
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Well, condeming an entire discipline as full of assholes because of the online comments of two people might be a little ... hasty, no? There's several philosohers who comment here, for example, who are demonstrably not assholes of that type. Chris B at CT continually makes moderate and, I think, fairly well thought through comments but he might as well be pissing into a well for all the difference it makes.

The problem on the CT threads and elsewhere is that there is no scope for any moderate defence of philosophy as currently practiced as some of the more regular critics of the discipline aren't remotely arguing in good faith and there is no possible answer that would satisfy them.

Here on Unfogged several of us: Cala, myself, Parsimon and others, have disputed some of the factual claims made about the practice of philosophy. Factual claims where we are in a position to know, and the critics are not -- where, in fact, the critics demonstrate their near total ignorance with almost every lined typed -- and that testimony is just dismissed outright. Some of us have been really quite patient when the 'critics' have been, essentially, engaged in third-rate trolling.

Furthermore, when the philosophers concede that there are problems with philosophy as practiced,* or admit that certain critiques may be overly-strong but aren't crazily out of line, that's just seen as a spur to further accusations of assholery and demands for self-immolation.

And it's really disappointing that people take the critiques advanced by the trolls as somehow accurate or reflective, so the discourse has essentially been framed around the perception of the discipline by people who, literally, don't know what they are talking about. It's a no-win situation for those who think that philosophy has some sort of value; especially for those who think philosophy does have problems that need addressing, because there's no way to have a good faith discussion of those issues without the Greek chorus of people who are only satisfied by a constant reiteration of how we are all assholes continually side-tracking or stamping all over any possible discussion.

So, frankly, fuck a bunch of that shit.

* and I think all of us would.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:56 AM
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Yeah, I get and basically agree with everything you say in 488, and personally don't even begin to know enough to "condemn the discipline" at all. (And, obviously, it's totally dumb to base any actual academic judgment on the world of blogs at all, much less on the generally godawful CT comment threads.)

Still, people should be allowed to make fun of Holbo's "No, you see, I'm not really being an asshole, that's just my 'no bullshit' style", which is, like, the lamest defense of assholishness ever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:19 AM
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re: 489

Actually, I do sort of get what Holbo was clumsily trying to say. All disciplines have their styles, and it's wise to be aware when judging another disciplines' rhetorical style that one is doing so from within the rhetorical scheme that one has been educated within. There is no rhetorically neutral standpoint, and they can all appear odd or annoying to outsiders and, furthermore, not all of the ways in which they can appear odd or annoying are constitutive of being an asshole.

I just don't think he made a very good job of being persuasive on this point and it got wrapped up with his own characterization of other disciplines which, I can see, could easily be pretty annoying to people from those disciplines.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:11 AM
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480: There's something to it (not much, but something). Never having met an academic philosopher until I started hanging out on blogs, I found myself gravitating to the parts of the web where philosophers hang out. And part of it is that my argumentative style, which I tend to tone way down in real life precisely so as not be thought an asshole, seems to come across as unexceptionable, or less exceptionable, in philosopher-heavy environments. Now, I don't think there's anything fundamentally wrong with the way I argue, but it does come off as awfully aggressive to most people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:28 AM
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re: 491

Oh I don't doubt there's something to it.* But it gets massively overstated and used a cosh by those who really have no business pointing fingers.

* I've been on the receiving end of people whose rhetoric was sliding into assholeishness, and I've certainly been guilty of the odd moment of it myself ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:42 AM
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400 to 480.

Seriously, though: I don't have much to hold against philosophy as a discipline except in that its engagement with other humanities disciplines -- and most especially with "Theory" -- really is excruciatingly poor on average.

Theory is not blameless in all this, nor do all other such disciplines necessarily play well with each other, but look. Historians engaging with Theorists might not do all the reading they should, or do it as carefully as they should, and Theorists often aren't up to historians' standards as researchers. But I'll give them this much credit: when attempting to engage, it's a hell of a lot rarer to see either of those parties come to the table declaiming as a point of pride that they won't condescend to do the necessary reading in the other's discipline because it would be a waste of their time*.

That's still a commonplace on CT threads about Theory. Holbo, annoying though he is and as much as I hack on him, at least does actually read some of the "Theory" he bangs on about, for all that I think his conclusions are mostly wrong. That's a distressingly uncommon virtue.

Got a problem with how philosophers are being regarded? Look first, brother, to the troll under thine own bridge.

(* unless they're Keith Windschuttle)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:32 AM
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(And 488: I miss Emerson too.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:39 AM
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I haven't caught up on the thread yet, but my late grandmother (PBUH) said "edumacated" and used other forms of homeric infixing for at least as long as I was alive, and I'm 41. It was, for her, a little joke that had been ossified into a unconscious habit. She actually had a lot of those.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:48 AM
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re; 493

I think some of the people on that thread are really bang out of order -- and I don't mean you -- and aren't remotely acting as good-faith interlocutors which makes any real substantive discussion nearly impossible.

re: the relationship with 'Theory' -- I don't think there's any general obligation on members of either broad camp to engage with the other, but I'm with you that if they do want to express opinions they'd better have some substance to back it up and not just rely on empty prejudice about stuff they haven't read, and I think that cuts both ways in this particular stupid internecine squabble.

By way of autobiography, as it happens, I am also a philosopher who engages a bit with theory because the area my research has been in overlaps with it a bit, I also have an English degree, so have had a reasonable amount of exposure to lit. theory at source.

I refrain from drawing any Holbo-style general conclusions because my reading is i) fragmentary, ii) wildly all over the place in terms of how good I think the material is. I have been part of various seminar groups on, for example, feminist theory/gender theory in which philosophers from both sides of the 'analytic'/'theory' divide were present, and I think it was a pretty useful experience for me to engage with the material and with the approach, so I'm not at all antithetical to it as a general thing. Again, the quality of the stuff we were reading varied wildly in quality, at least from my point of view, ranging between stuff that was alien to how I usually work but which I thought was really impressive once I got into it, to stuff that I thought was embarrassing that the conveners even asked us to read it.

I'm not really interested in rehashing any theory versus analytic debate. I don't really have a dog in that fight.

Where my primary point of contention is, is with all of the descriptions of i) what philosophers work on, and ii) how they work on it, that are wildly at odds with actual practice. Particularly when those descriptions are then used to draw stupid general conclusions about the assholery of entire disciplines.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:19 AM
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||
The scene: Leaving my apartment building this morning, heading to my car
Barrel Chested Dude, flashing badge: "May I have a moment, I'm with the Department of Homeland Security and I'd like to ask you some questions about your neighbor"
(I hear: "Halt! Gestapo! Have you seen this Jew?")
He shows me a badly photocopied picture with a name written underneath.
Me: "Nope, never seen the guy"
BCD: "kthxbai"
Getting into the car I realize the first name under the picture readily yields a contraction that is the name of the guy who lives next door to me. The guy who, now that I think of it, might be a much older version of the guy in the picture. I do not go back to BCD (standing not ten feet away), I just get in the car and go.

Now I'm wondering if I did the right thing. Could easily be that it's a routine thing like getting a security clearance. Could be an immigration issue. Could be a genuine threat, though given the neighbor's demeanor that seems bloody unlikely.
|>


Posted by: I know nothing | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:27 AM
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You'll know the answer when they come for you as an accomplice.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:35 AM
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Consider the track record of DHS and similar agencies as to stopping actual, dangerous terrorists to harassing innocent people and harmless cranks.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:43 AM
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Could easily be that it's a routine thing like getting a security clearance.

Now trying to remember who it was who was offered a very senior White House job, only to be told that he couldn't take it because he had failed security - they'd been unable to verify his past history. "What do you mean? I grew up in the Bronx! I lived there all my life!"

And then he went back home, to be greeted by his neighbours: "What the hell have you done? The FBI was over here asking all about you last week! But don't worry, we all said we'd never heard of you."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:45 AM
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As for the original topic of the thread: I'm not saying that a Texan can't be a patriotic American, but I'm saying that any claims of being a patriotic American should be viewed with a wary eye. For most Texans, their first loyalty is elsewhere.

Plus, the Metroplex, noted land of tolerance, features within its borders the town of "White Settlement", named for the fact that once upon a time only white people could live there (I don't know about now), and Highland Park, which is notorious for rigorously enforcing the laws against Driving While Black. Tolerance for churches that tell you to vote Republican is very high.

480: I agree that you, Cala, parsimon, and Holbo are not assholes. But judging from the evidence of online, analytic philosophers are disproportionately assholes. I think the main form of assholishness is that they come across as leaning on some imagined authority as card-carrying philosophers, combined with a contempt for the rest of the humanities. This is something that you, Cala, parsimon, and Holbo never do, which is why you're not assholes, but it's certainly not rare in AP threads.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:51 AM
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500: Charlie Rangel told that story about his vetting to be an Assistant US Attorney. It's apparently shown up a bunch of other places: either they picked it up from him, he picked it us as a good story, even though it didn't really happen to him, or it's the kind of thing that's likely enough to happen multiple times.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:54 AM
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re: 501

Everyone has these stories of the assholes, but when pressed it's always just 'some guy on a comment thread', or Leiter.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:01 AM
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480: I agree that you, Cala, parsimon, and Holbo are not assholes.

Neb and I, on the other hand, are total pricks. And don't get anyone started on Labs.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:02 AM
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504: No, rob, we like you so well, we don't even think of you as a philosopher.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:09 AM
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505: Yes, we think of you as articulate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:11 AM
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497: The rule where I come from is Do-Not-Talk-To-Cops, no matter how friendly they seem, no matter how harmless the question. And Homeland Security is just another kind of cop. The odds of a bad outcome for you or the other person are much, much higher than you think; if the guy's an immigrant who is caught up in any way shape or form in WOT nonsense there is an outside chance that he could be hauled away and detained without access to medical care or meaningful access to a lawyer for months if not years (this happens; it's not GITMO, it's just ICE). I say this not just as a DFH with a lot more cop experience than many but as someone who's actually done a reasonable amount of work on immigration issues. Do Not Talk To Cops, unless you are virtually certain that the worst consequence they can inflict is better than consequences of not talking to them--and interpret that rule as narrowly as possible.

I don't know too much about how security clearances are obtained, but I assume that there's some more organized procedure than simply going around and asking a random assortment of folks from the neighborhood. Not that I will ever be requesting a security clearance, but in my own case that would just produce "Huh, don't know who that is. Wait, maybe it's that weird white chick I see riding her bike at odd hours, could be her, but she's older and heavier than that." I canNOT believe there isn't at least a fall-back.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:19 AM
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508

For most Texans, their first loyalty is elsewhere.

I think this is pretty common, though. I identify much more as a North Carolinian than I do as an American (and more as a resident of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle than of NC at large), because the former is much more concretely real to me than gigantic America, the vast majority of which I have never visited. I tend to be suspicious of people whose first loyalties are to U!S!A! U!S!A! anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:19 AM
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I identify much more as a North Carolinian than I do as an American

Dude, you guys lost the war. Give it up.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:21 AM
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re: 509

Where I'm from the war that was lost predates the founding of your country. People don't seem especially keen to give it up yet.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:23 AM
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Charlie Rangel told that story about his vetting to be an Assistant US Attorney. It's apparently shown up a bunch of other places: either they picked it up from him, he picked it us as a good story, even though it didn't really happen to him,

You mean he picked it up from us.

Hi Congressman Rangel!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:33 AM
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507: Actually, walking around the places where you claim to have lived and talking to people is one of the things involved in getting a security clearance. I was all lined up to start that process when I got my current job, which not only doesn't require an SC, it also doesn't require periodic pissing in a jar.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:35 AM
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512: Yet another reason not to work for the Feds, I guess. Not so much for the intrusiveness but for the many, many ways in which it could fail.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:37 AM
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Where I'm from the war that was lost predates the founding of your country

The '45? I was always brought up to believe that that wasn't a Scotland v England war, but a Jacobite v Enlightenment one - there were Scots and Englishmen on both sides...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:37 AM
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And I admire the way that the two paragraphs of 507 combine total distrust of the Feds with blind faith in their efficiency and diligence.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:39 AM
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508: I miss Durham every time I have to pay my Pittsburgh property taxes or need beer and realize that I can't get it in the grocery store.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:40 AM
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re: 514

Me too, and it probably wasn't a bad thing that it turned out the way that it did. But for the petty nationalists of some stripe, they do see it as England versus Scotland.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:42 AM
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On the 'theory' issue: DS's point in 493 is taken. To the extent that some philosophers come to the theory table without having read the damn material, they're obnoxious.

But per ttaM's 496, I think that cuts both ways in this particular stupid internecine squabble: yeah, it does. Philosophers do find themselves similarly impatient with theorists whose familiarity with the subject matter at hand is less than satisfactory. (I've put that snottily, partly as an an exercise, but it just means: please read and study some fucking Wittgenstein if you're going be all 'Wittgensteinian' about normativity or whatever. Someone in that CT thread said something along these lines in terms of people's assessment of what's "Lockean.")

I should maybe say that I've read a fair amount of theory, political and otherwise, wound up spending as much time in the political science dept. as in my own, for a while, so it's possible I'm a bit defensive on the whole 'you don't know what you're talking about' front.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:51 AM
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(These arguments drive me mad, because they seem like exactly the sort of thing I'd want to be opinionated about, but I don't actually know anything at all about Theory. Or philosophy, come to think. Not that this is interesting to anyone else.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:55 AM
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For most Texans, their first loyalty is elsewhere.

I'm French, parle vous, then whichever Int'l we're up to, then a loyal Citizen of the Galaxy. None dare call this treason.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 8:57 AM
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519: Not that this is interesting to anyone else.

But thanks for not showing the rest of us up by not posting it. The community thrives on following the lack of such standards rigorously.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:04 AM
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Mostly, I'm trying to keep myself honest. I live in fear of the day that, maddened by a recurring argument on a topic where I really know nothing at all, I'm going to start wading in on one side or another and make an utter idiot of myself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:13 AM
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521 -> 522.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:15 AM
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re: 518

Yes, to all of that.

The one that particular annoys me is when people say things like, "well, the problem with analytic philosophy of such-and-such is that they've never really addressed the problem of blah-blah", when in fact the problem of blah-blah has been a central issue in the literature for decades. Or being accused of crudely following dogma $foo when, in fact, no-one actually believes in $foo anymore, and the standard argument in the mainstream literature against $foo is much stronger than the half-arsed shite being trotted out by those who think their opposition to the dogma in question is radical.*

* this again cuts both ways. I've read bits of interesting stuff recently on 'continental' approaches to some issues in philosophy that I wasn't aware were even being addressed in that literature. Which reveals my own ignorance, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:28 AM
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515: Efficient and diligent to work evil! No, seriously, I don't think that what goes wrong with police work is the result of incompetence. I think it's the result of a system which is actively designed to create and support bad behavior and bad ideology. (That is, my experience with immigrants' rights work suggests strongly that people are detained unjustly not by mistake but very directly because of racism, anti-immigrant sentiment and the desire for more funding and power on the part of the detaining agencies.) This has very little to do with the belief that the cops have a functioning way to recruit staff.

But yeah, if the cops are inefficient enough that they can't recruit a promising candidate if the candidate's neighbors aren't forthcoming....Hm, I'm not sure how I feel about that. Is it always-already true, so that we have a police force already comprised of folks with chatty/conservative/unwise neighbors? Probably. Is it becoming more true as the WoT progresses, so that there's less ideological/social diversity in the police force? Dunno. Either way, my enthusiasm for cops is remains low.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:33 AM
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522: Yeah, without ever having noticed myself consciously adopting this stance, I've realized that somewhere along the line I developed a policy of shutting up about things I'm not familiar enough to weigh in on. It's frustrating -- the Neal Stephenson / Chabon / etc. thread recently had me frowning: I haven't read these books! I can't agree or disagree! Dammit!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:47 AM
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524. The late lamented Mr Davies has a couple of cracking posts up at CT, the first of which ends:

It all reminds me of that old-fashioned journalistic cottage industry of the 1980s, where one used to take a passage of Derrida or Irigaray out of context, quote it in all of its jargonistic glory, pronounce it gibberish and move on to a fierce dismissal of "postmodernism" as meaningless. In a lot of these cases, the dismissal was warranted, but there was always a worrying feeling that the author's inability to understand a technical piece in a specialist journal wasn't actually the gold standard of meaning... Just as there were good and bad literary theorists in 1980s France, there are good and bad economists now, and you can't actually tell the good ones from the bad ones simply by looking at the equations they use.
And, presumably, analytical philosophers.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 9:51 AM
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518: But of course. As you'll note from my remarks on the CT thread, I'm hardly letting Theorists off the hook for being often unfamiliar or poorly familiar with the philosophy they claim to be utilizing.

522: See, I'm almost never concerned about making an utter idiot of myself.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:08 AM
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527: This recurring argument (call it "analytic philosophy v. Theory") is a particularly maddening one from outside, because it's really, really hard to pick up what's at stake. Holbo and Dr. Slack have gotten to an impasse in one one of the current CT threads, where Holbo is saying that he can't argue anymore, because he just doesn't recognize the things Slack is saying as a reasonable picture of reality. Usually, even without a whole lot of technical expertise in an area, you can pick up enough about a topic to figure out who appears to be arguing in good faith. Here, I don't have a shot -- it seems impossible that someone's not blowing smoke, but I couldn't venture to form an opinion on who it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:10 AM
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527: d you can't actually tell the good ones from the bad ones simply by looking at the equations they use.

...hmmmm


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:10 AM
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529: It's all dreadfully involved and, when you get right down to it, rather dull. The only thing that keeps drawing me back is the curiously amorphous quality that Holbo tends to demonstrate in defending a claim, the very amorphousness (oddly enough) that he claims to be critiquing.

I've decided to refrain from pointing it out on the CT thread, but I'll note that Holbo usually resorts to "we'll have to agree to disagree and we probably agree anyway without knowing it" when he can't substantiate a claim or series of claims he's making about how Theory and the people associated with it supposedly act. This isn't the first time, it's a constant pattern going back, at the least, to a "book event" he and a few others did about the anthology Theory's Empire.

If you look at Loren's remarks afterward in that thread, that's describing something I can relate to actual, real-life theorists I've encountered. Holbo's descriptions have no such quality for me. If I'm the one of us who's living in bizarro world, then my delusion is very deep and being reinforced by many, many figments.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:20 AM
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re: 529

Yeah, I just get tired of being called an asshole and pissed off with factual inaccuracy. I think it's pretty clear on the earlier CT that there was at least one person not arguing in good faith [not Holbo or Slack], but this is one of those topics where even fairly reasonable people ending up going in circles.

At the level of actual content, I think there are decent arguments to made on both sides of the theory/analytic debate* and also arguments for the 'a plague on both your houses', and the 'let's just ignore each other and get on with it' sides. I can't say I personally worry much on a day to day basis about what people think about how I go about 'doing philosophy'.

* in the sense that I can recognize bits of what the theory people seem to be doing as both valuable and largely missing from current 'analytic' practice, and other bits I can look at and find deeply annoying, and I assume that fair minded 'theory' types prob. think something the same in the other direction.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:20 AM
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519: I feel your pain. This tiff seems like one where I could have very strong opinions and would enjoy arguing vociferously in their support, but I have no fucking idea what people are talking about. The closest I come is having had a girlfriend read me parts of a book by some litcrit bigshot that were absolutely unintelligible. We spent a good half hour trying to disentangle a single sentence. Good times.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:20 AM
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The word "Theory" really puzzles me. Like, is it the same word as used in Critical Race Theory or Critical Legal Theory? Because those, while I wouldn't call myself an expert, make perfect sense as intellectual disciplines, and seem vaguely connected to some stuff that gets said about "Theory".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:23 AM
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(And 'wouldn't call myself an expert' there means 'really wouldn't call myself an expert.' I read some CRT and CLT in law school, and thought it made sense, but haven't kept up.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:26 AM
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534: The word "Theory" really puzzles me.

You're not alone.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:27 AM
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Or Evolutionary Theory.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:29 AM
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(For the sake I've argument I was sort of letting "non-philosophers' use of philosophy" stand in as Theory there, but that's far from satisfactory -- though it's at least a component of many forms of Theory. Literary theory of course has traditions of its own that have nothing to do with academic philosophy, which some people aren't comfortable calling Theory today. All quite messy.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:30 AM
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(For the sake I've

(For the sake of


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:31 AM
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Okay, this is really elementary, but I understand you (not clearly at all, I could be totally wrong) to say at that link that "Theory" isn't an intellectual discipline/movement such that people would use it to non-controversially describe what they do? That the term itself is an oversimplification or a pejorative, and so that part of the disconnect in the Holbo conversations is that he's talking about Theory and Theorists as if those were terms with a coherent meaning, but they really aren't?

Because that would make the apparent breakdown in communication make much more sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:33 AM
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540: Yeah, pretty much. Or rather, it's common for people to understand that they're doing theory, but not common for them to consider themselves all part of a single style or mentality or school of thought named Theory. Except to the extent that there's a sort of general, very vague feeling that some sort of interdisciplinarity is a good thing.

Whether that description still holds true, well... I've been out of circulation for a while and get the feeling that the bloom is coming off the interdisciplinarity rose, which if that's happening may well be to the good. Most of what seemed to me to be wrong with EngLit departments had to do with fuzzy, crappy and poorly-thought-out interdisciplinarity.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:41 AM
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re: 540

It's like that all the way down. A lot of 'analytic' philosophers don't really think that what they do is really in the exact tradition of that historical school as ordinarily understood, and may, in fact, seem themselves as quite opposed to much of what that school is ordinarily understood to have stood for. Also, 'analytic' can be used a pejorative too, to connote a particular 'micro' approach to problems, some sort of vulgar scientism, a particular kind of quasi-autistic focus on the minutiae of language, a resistance to system-building, lack of political engagement and awareness, and so on.

There are a lot of people doing 'stuff' that messily gets grouped together in lots of different ways, and the fuzzily defined groups are disputed by everyone involved, pretty much. Except that lots of people have a nagging sense that what 'those people' are doing is different from what 'we' do.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:43 AM
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I think "theory" was originally shortened from "literary theory" when the practitioners realized that they weren't really tied to literature anymore.

More precisely, there was a change in literary theory which variously gets called the post-structuralist or post-modern turn, at which point they began developing elaborate theories of the meaning of literature, borrowing heavily form continental philosophy of language. At the same time a number of other emerging political disciplines, including feminist studies and postcolonial studies, began to develop theories based on the same philosophy of language. Eventually these theories merged into a free-floating glob of Theory, which was detached from literature, women's liberation, the colonial experience, or any of its other roots.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:43 AM
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Theory.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:50 AM
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Or rather, it's common for people to understand that they're doing theory, but not common for them to consider themselves all part of a single style or mentality or school of thought named Theory.

I don't follow -- if 'theory' is something you can do (that is, it's a word with a more specific denotation than the general English language sense of the word, that people use to describe what they do), doesn't that mean that it is, in some sense, a single (or definable group of) style or methodology or something?

Eh. I'm probably being annoying. But that's what I find so maddeningly fascinating about these arguments -- every question I can think of to ask about what's going on, the answer seems to be "Mu."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:51 AM
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And I can't manage to ask questions without disingenously playing dumb -- like, I could have said, somewhat more doubtfully, something like 243. Everything in 243 is familiar on some level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:54 AM
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Except for the 'continental philosophy of language' bit. Maybe if I knew more about that, the rest would make more sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:55 AM
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like, I could have said, somewhat more doubtfully, something like 243. Everything in 243 is familiar on some level.

Well, you came pretty close in 201.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:57 AM
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I meant 543.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 10:58 AM
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Yeah, then your 201 wasn't even close.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:01 AM
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545: As a literary theorist there are common factors, but they're more cultural than anything else, involving a shared (but highly, highly variable and idiosyncratic) sense of familiarity with certain sets of thinkers, and usually some sort of tenuous connection to literature. That's about it. There's no guarantee that you will have a common theoretical language with the guy or girl in the office down the hall.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:03 AM
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So, if I understand correctly, while you could pick out people who are 'doing theory' by asking them 'do you do theory?', or by noting what thinkers they're influenced by, there aren't common intellectual foundations for their work that can be reasonably addressed en masse, rather than by talking about each individual. Makes sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:19 AM
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Are there people who would describe themselves as a "theorist" to people not in their community? Like, if someone who does particle physics experiments asks me what I do, I tell them I'm a theorist. If any random person asks me what I do, I tell them I'm a physicist, or maybe a theoretical particle physicist, if they want a more precise answer. Do the people we're talking about just say "I'm a theorist"? Surely not, right? What's the person-on-the-street version? "I'm a literary theorist"? "I'm a cultural theorist"? "I'm an English professor"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:22 AM
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553: What's the person-on-the-street version?

With respect to political (as opposed to literary) theory, it'd go:

"Oh, you're in political science? What era, or century, or region of the globe, do you concentrate in?"

"Oh, no, sorry, I'm actually in political theory."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:26 AM
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What's the person-on-the-street version? "I'm a literary theorist"? "I'm a cultural theorist"? "I'm an English professor"?

Or..."I have a PHD in English, and I'll be your server tonight."



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:27 AM
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What's the person-on-the-street version? "I'm a literary theorist"? "I'm a cultural theorist"? "I'm an English professor"?

I imagine it's often some variant of "I'm a waiter"/"I work in a bookstore"/"I'm currently looking for work".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:27 AM
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Someone please delete the TOS comment in 555.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:28 AM
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553: I have the vague impression that it's slightly more specific than that -- that it would be possible for someone to be an English professor doing things that could be reasonably described as literary theory, who would nonetheless respond to a question like "Do you do theory?" with "Nope, that's not my kind of thing. Bill in the next office does, though."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:29 AM
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555: That was me
557: Good try, Brock!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:30 AM
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I don't quite understand how to reconcile 551 and 558. What ties these people together is a tenuous cultural connection, but one they don't necessarily share with other people doing theoretical things in the same department? That sounds pretty damned tenuous.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:38 AM
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re: 547

I think it's the 'continental philosophy (of language)' bit that is the hook that these things hang on in my own personal working distinction: people in disparate disciplines whose work owes something to the various continental philosophers from Heidegger onwards, and, in particular, to some of the stuff that gets grouped together as 'post-structuralism'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-structuralism

Of course, that's very crude but I think it ties into DS's notion of people with familarity with a particular set of thinkers.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:40 AM
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557: Of all the people to be pwned by...


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:45 AM
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One possibility is that 558 is wrong. But what I'm thinking of is someone who has and works on what he thinks of as an analytical structure for thinking about literature, so they're in some sense a 'literary theorist', but who isn't (significantly or primarily) influenced by the work of the 'certain sets of thinkers' DS referred to in 551. So they'd be able to say: "While my field of specialization is literary theory, I don't 'do theory' in the sense you're talking about. Bill across the hall does, though."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:52 AM
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561: Jeez. I'd have to make sense of Heidegger to figure this stuff out? That's clearly not going to happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:53 AM
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re: 564

Yeah, I'm with you on Heidegger, but not everyone mentioned in that wiki article is totally impenetrable.

Barthes, for example:

http://www.ubu.com/aspen/aspen5and6/threeEssays.html#barthes


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:57 AM
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Theorists = People who like French people!

I browse, and everywhere I turn there is a frog.
Georges & Henri Lefebvre.
Le Goff. Marc Bloch. Pirenne(Ok,Ok Belgian).

They lapped the Ango-American thinkers two generations ago, and then educated the next gen to the point that Americans can't ever catch up. They make us look like patzers. It's pathetic.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:01 PM
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I'm finding the continuation of the CT thread highly enjoyable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:04 PM
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re: 567

Does it exhibit the worst features of the CT thread? Or avoid them? [genuinely curious]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:08 PM
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555 is pretty funny.

I don't think there are many people who would describe themselves as theorists "on the street." Critics, mainly. If you're a really big name, you're "our leading theorist of such-and-such." Or you're a prof. In the academic context that would mostly cover it, I think.

Everyone's expected to know a bit of theory, but there are some who specialize in theory and others who specialize in particular areas and periods of literature. (This doesn't really tell you that much about how broad or deep someone's understanding of theory is, though; one of the best theoretical minds at my Department in my grad school days was a specialist in Romantic literature. Another studied feminist SF.) Or there are specialties in certain kinds of literature that go hand-in-hand with specialties in certain kinds of theory, so that you have "queer theory" and "postcolonial theory."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:11 PM
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Paris was the intellectual capital of the world in fricking 1300. 800? We have not come to grips yet with what France is. This stuff is cumulative. Not a flash like Athens or Vienna, this is continuous centrality and dominance for a thousand years. If Athens had dominated for a millenium?

More recent history included a hundred years of near-continuous revolution, with a brief period of European conquest.

Maybe past its peak, not all fields, whatever qualifiers. Still.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:16 PM
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561 seems like the most concise version.

I'd say this -- Theory refers to intellectual practices derived from or inspired by "the hermeneutics of suspicion", the Freud-Nietzsche-Marx convulsion in thought that began in the 19th century and effloresced dramatically in the twentieth, with tendrils in literature, linguistics, anthropology and forming the basis of cultural studies. Those thinkers share a radical decentering of the world as it was understood previously, and much of Theory concerns itself with a radical interpretation of superficial structures in culture, institutions, language and thought.

To a much lesser degree, it comes up in history; philosophy departments tend to try to quarantine the stuff.

There's a strong intellectual history argument that Darwin belongs with that trinity, but as far as disciplinary/departmental conditions go it's less strong.

Qualification: I did a lot of this in college, which was more than ten years ago, and very little since.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:16 PM
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To a much lesser degree, it comes up in history; philosophy departments tend to try to quarantine the stuff.

For what it's worth, in my undergraduate degree we were all required to take one course that focused on this material, but yeah, it was slightly sectioned off and there wasn't much sense that this material was in conversation with the other material we were working on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:20 PM
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A convulsion that effloresced and had tendrils? Is theory also about overwrought prose and mixed metaphors?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:26 PM
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568: Does it exhibit the worst features of the CT thread? Or avoid them?

Well, I was referring chiefly to the JH-DS exchanges toward the end; depends on whether you enjoy that kind of thing. Generally - exhibits the worst features. Which is not to say that it can't be enjoyable!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:27 PM
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A convulsion that effloresced and had tendrils?

That's really the best kind.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:30 PM
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572: but yeah, it was slightly sectioned off

Hence my drift over to that other department, where they actually did political philosophy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:30 PM
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Is theory also about overwrought prose and mixed metaphors?

Je ne regrette rien.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:33 PM
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re: 574

FWIW, I don't think there's much of a debate going on here at all. It looks more like different people trying to answer LB.

re: 576

I'm curious what you mean by this. What sort of stuff was the other department reading/teaching that wasn't being covered in the philosophy department? This is a genuine question again. I haven't done any political theory/political philosophy since undergrad, so I'm pretty clueless as to what the differences might be between the two departments.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:35 PM
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||

Serious good luck, like winning a little scratch-off ticket. Channel hopping, I come across the beginning of Ringo Lam's City on Fire 1987. OMG. Chow Yun-Fat. OMFG. Serendipity has to rule, sometimes you don't know enough to know where to look.

Makes up for overlooking and missing >i>Queen Margot last week. Almost.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:38 PM
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580

In literary theory, the beginning points were the Russian formalists, the New Critics and Northrop Frye, all of whom were very influential in setting up literary criticism as a discipline. They're talked about -- most people will recognized Wimsatt and Beardsley's term "intentional fallacy" -- but aren't really a living tradition. (That's a real loss in Frye's case; his thought in particular could and should be interesting and relevant today. But Frye was one of those singular figures who inspired many admirers while presenting a daunting road to would-be followers.)

As for the post-structuralists, yes they're in there -- variously defined -- and so are Marx and Freud (both as waning presences by the time the Eighties rolled around), and more popular derivations of them like Jameson (who acquired a following of his own). The structuralists, too, like Barthes and Kristeva. You can expect to run into Wittgenstein semi-regularly. Lacanians, too, though they seem to function as their own separate sub-tribe. And any number of other thinkers along with them (and the range is huge, truly huge, and constantly shifting).


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:41 PM
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578: And really, I don't think the stuff I'm curious about is answerable in the form of blog comments -- it seems to come down to a thick understanding of the culture of the sort of academic departments that 'do theory', as well as a substantive understanding of their work. Which, there's not much chance I'm going to acquire this way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:43 PM
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So theory is the literature of power in decline, both willed and not?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:45 PM
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I'm working - sort of - so quickly:

578.1: Here? I meant over there, on CT.

578.2: It wasn't possible to read, say, Foucault or Habermas in my department, and you'd only see Nietzsche or Heidegger once every 3 or 4 years. In the phil department political philosophy was Locke, Kant, Rawls. If I wanted to engage Rawls vs. Habermas, I was out of luck. If I wanted to talk about something you might call a post-Nietschean reworking of liberalism, nope. Nobody would talk about Rorty in my department. Small department, for one thing, but also seriously not into this 'theory' thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:47 PM
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So what department did you move to? Did political science do the sort of political philosophy you were interested in?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:51 PM
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What could philosophy do with hermeneutics of suspicion anyway? Seems to me that line of thinking generally involves a magical Ishmael Effect of the kind philosophers are right to reject.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:54 PM
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re: 583.2

OK, no problem. Thanks. I see what you mean. In my undergraduate institution it'd have been Lock, Kant, Rawls and Marx, but the problem would have been the same.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 12:57 PM
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584: I didn't move. I just took a lot of seminars in the political science department, and I've just recalled, actually, that I got phil. dept. credit for them as suitable fulfillments of whatever requirement. The political sci. dept. was better suited to me -- for political theory/philosophy -- than the phil department. Obviously I didn't see that coming when I joined the department (my interests morphed, for one thing). I still belonged in a philosophy department, as far as I'm concerned, though, not in a political science one.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:03 PM
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580:I.A. Richards?

I like wrongshore at 571. I obviously know nothing, except that it dosn't matter that I know nothing.

The academics, as if they were doing hard science, list a bewildering and intimidating construction of influences and themes. I, being anti-intellectual, don't believe that Herder or Empson get superseded, surpassed, replaced. This ain't physics.

"the hermeneutics of suspicion" and "radical interpretation of superficial structures in culture, institutions, language and thought" is something an illiterate peasant can do, and something Carlyle's glorious mob did. Or Roundhats or Russians.

It's about coppin an attitude.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:06 PM
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If I wanted to engage Rawls vs. Habermas, I was out of luck.

That's too bad, because Rawls vs. Habermas is really a great conversation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:09 PM
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589: I know! (She says, being by now totally out of the loop of the state of discussion these days.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:17 PM
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||

Lung fu fong wan fucking rocked, and is heartily recommended. Umm, for John Yoo fans.
Different movies with different intents, but Tim Roth still a poor replacement for Chow Yun-Fat. A sweetness and innocence is required.

Although I want to watch Reservoir Dogs again. A hard-boiled arrogant cop who is shocked into crying for mama because he just doesn't realize how very wrong it can all go for him is another take.

Still, Chow Yun-Fat.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:22 PM
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At my institution (Emory) I've known philosophy students who were working on Foucault or Habermas, but not on someone like Bourdieu.

Some historians are outright hostile to philosophy/theory, but others are very interested in it. Where we remain fundamentally inscrutable to both other humanities and social science types is that a) we're pretty much always going to be doing some version of the theoretical toolkit (this particularly drives philosophers nuts: "You invoke both B and C here, but if you read them in totality, their metaphysics are fundamentally incompatible." "Um, ok... but I'm talking about what they say about this particular thing. Can you explain to me how that's incompatible?"), b) we see p/t as either an interpretive tool or as a reflective adjunct to the thing it is we're actually studying. In other words, hopefully a historian engages with theory and we'd like to think that our engagements add to the collective utility of theory, but we cold never just "do theory" without, you know, taking it apart and making a historical subject out of it.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:24 PM
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"Ishmael Effect" is a delightful crankery that I had not heard before.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:37 PM
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That's too bad, because Rawls vs. Habermas is really a great conversation fight.

Which one's the face, and which the heel?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:37 PM
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Not sure if togolosh is making a meaningful joke or a silly one, but I remember it as much more of a conversation -- search for common ground -- than, say, Searle vs. Derrida, which is much more a call to take sides.

But I'd love to be more substantially refreshed by one of you professionals.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:41 PM
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Somebody made me read Habermas once. I don't remember what has ideas were, but Habermas (or his English translator) is for prose what Natural Light is for beer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:42 PM
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Habermas has the unfortunate handicap of coming from the Frankfurt School tradition but trying to be understood, so he comes off a little less dense but with none of the tempestuous funlessness. Bit of a pudding.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:45 PM
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595: Silly.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:47 PM
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598: Thank you. Now please go back and tag all of your other comments, and then everyone else's.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 1:55 PM
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Frankfurt School tradition . . . tempestuous funlessness

I used to fairly frequently see a car with an "I ♥ Adorno" bumpersticker, and it always made me chuckle imagining the visceral cringe such an object probably would have produced in Adorno, or what the text of Adorno's "On Bumperstickers" would read like.

I also had a strong desire to sneak up on said car and affix a bumpersticker from this group right next to the aforementioned Adorno one.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:15 PM
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590: At this point all I'm really in touch with is the short section on the ethics textbook that I teach from, which gives a freshman level overview of Habermas and Rawls, emphasizing their similarities.

The textbook author uses them to draw a general conclusion about what he terms the "dialogic principle" of ethical knowledge, which states "Do under others as you can all mutually agree to be done upon."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:24 PM
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600: I'd like to produce a series of comics based on Adorno texts. I'm thinking he'd go over well in the three or four panel newspaper comic form.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:29 PM
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599: 598 to the whole goddamn Internets!!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:33 PM
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519

(These arguments drive me mad, because they seem like exactly the sort of thing I'd want to be opinionated about, but I don't actually know anything at all about Theory. Or philosophy, come to think. Not that this is interesting to anyone else.)

Why let that stop you? I put both in the astrology category of things I don't have to know anything more about than that they are nonsense.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 2:56 PM
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Philosophy, start to finish, is nonsense? Bold.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:00 PM
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I wish we had some kind of bat-signal for that "AnalyticPhilosopher" guy, in order to sic him as needed on comments like 604.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:00 PM
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(oops, 606 was me.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:01 PM
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The Adventures of Adorno Man! could be fun.

I'm not sure what his superpowers would be though.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:11 PM
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The Adorno Monument is quite something.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:16 PM
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606: There probably is some such bat-signal available, but I have a feeling AnalyticPhilosopher can't be bothered to answer it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:17 PM
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I'm not sure what his superpowers would be though.

Disapproval; jowl-waggling.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:19 PM
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A sudden enthusiasm for Adorno once overcame two classmates of mine, who found artistic expression their only outlet.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:33 PM
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605

Philosophy, start to finish, is nonsense? Bold.

I haven't seen much evidence of practical value.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:37 PM
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608: He'd unleash the Power of the F-Scale.

610: Really? Even if we used the Open Thinking Signal instead of the Pseudo-Action Signal? Shit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:44 PM
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613: But many philosophers have high IQs!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 3:57 PM
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Philosophy is, if nothing else though it is much else, an art or form of artistic expression, and is self-justifying. It's beautiful, not merely or completely on the basis of literary values, i.e. the elegance or precision or poetics of the expression of philosophical thoughts and processes, but in and of itself on its own unique terms.

The architecture of "free will" or the history of "mu" are wonders the like of Chartres and the Great Wall.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:07 PM
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I should do better. Philosophy is language, or was there at the creation of language, and is there at the leaning of lanuage.

When the paleo-woman thought:"This thing is like another thing, only smaller" as a concept so that "like" became a universal tool, she was doing philosophy. I don't think my dogs do this, at least to the degree that conceptualizing becomes a pleasure.

I get really pissed when professional philosophers try to claim proprietorship of these essential human tools and activities.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:28 PM
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I go with Rorty's formulation, that philosophy is a particular literary tradition that for various historical reasons has been and continues to be semi-isolated from other world literary traditions. Rorty-haters are free to write off my opinion on the matter.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:34 PM
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"Practical value"? Mathematics is the opposite of nonsense by definition, and most of it has no practical value, also by definition.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:36 PM
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Damn fucking right I can criticize a Clapton guitar solo, having never put a finger on a string.

Clapton doesn't own Music. Clapton serves Music.

Self-Banned


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:40 PM
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618: Can't we just write you off independently of our views on Rorty?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:46 PM
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615

But many philosophers have high IQs

All the better to hide the lack of content behind jargon.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:47 PM
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618:Bah. It is not separated, isolated, or even limited to a literary tradition. "Every happy family is alike..." We take so much philosophy for granted, because it is ubiquitous.

I sometimes wonder if philosophers never had children, read Piaget, or listened to other human beings.

We all do exactly what is called philosophy every minute of the day. We do it badly, haltingly, amateurishly.The pros chose to help the rest of us.

The kid with the pot and spoon is making music. Fucking deal.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:48 PM
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Can't we just write you off independently of our views on Rorty?

I suspect that's been done, ATM.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:48 PM
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619

"Practical value"? Mathematics is the opposite of nonsense by definition, and most of it has no practical value, also by definition.

Mathematics has lots of practical value.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:49 PM
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Third rate trolling at best. Mebbe a 4 out of 10. Must try harder.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:54 PM
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Must try harder.

Heh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 4:54 PM
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624: I'll admit I have only the vaguest idea of who Rorty is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:03 PM
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Yeah, wow, ned. No mathematics: no hard science, no engineering, little medicine, very slow technological advancement.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:15 PM
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bob cracks me up. So does Shearer.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:16 PM
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Rorty gave me a new word today, as I was casually tring to see if the conversation with Habermas was readily available. It was in an essay about Derrida on Marx.

"Antilogocentrism".

I think it's pretty. I may play with it a little.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:19 PM
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Mathematics is the opposite of nonsense by definition

Just don't say that to your friendly neighborhood category theorist.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:21 PM
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Hmm, Wiki

Derrida believed that to overcome logocentric thinking, we should think of ourselves as a "rapport to the Other." That is, the "now" manifested as meaning through ourselves is always interconnected with various meanings throughout time.

The connection with 623 above is left to the reader.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:29 PM
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626: Third rate trolling at best. Mebbe a 4 out of 10.

Whose? Shearer's? I give it a 2.

614: 610: Really? Even if we used the Open Thinking Signal instead of the Pseudo-Action Signal? Shit.

I think we're looking at the ole "I am ignoring you, motherfuckers, you cannot be serious" stance. I mean, did you read that thread back when? There will be no second date.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:39 PM
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I read a lot of Theory (literary, psychoanalytic, linguistic), but ended up in a department that privileged historical scholarship. My former subdiscipline (Romanticism) had basically two camps: Hegelians and Historians. The Hegelians, while very sharp, spent all of their time circling around the same ideas, and I really couldn't help thinking that their prose didn't need to be quite so awful. Thus, I wandered into the historical camp, but didn't have the training or tenacity to stick with it, unfortunately.

Anyway. Bob, I recommend that you check out Emmanuel Levinas. He's the touchstone for a lot of Derrida's ethics of the Other. He's not jargony---just a bit...obscure? poetic? It's a bit hard for me to describe how vividly his way of thinking about human relations has touched me. Ryszard Kapuscinski wrote a very approachable series of lectures on how Levinas's ethics informed his foreign reporting, which I just recently read and enjoyed.

In re the ostensible subject of this thread: my sisters and I all have pendants in the shape of the Yukon, an outline which means precisely nothing to anyone. It looks vaguely like a trapezoid.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:53 PM
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Theory is short for "Critical Theory", isn't it?

Some less daunting facts about Adorno: his colleagues found him annoying because (off the page) he enjoyed being goofy, and on his desk he always kept a toy stuffed animal (a giraffe I think). Plus he took his mom's surname: his dad was a Mr Wiesengrund.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 5:55 PM
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Several giraffes and a monkey!


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:01 PM
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Re 635, Pau Gausol is a big Kapuscinski fan. On his blog, he talks about reading him during the Lakers/Nuggets series.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:01 PM
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I have a sort of irrational grudge against Adorno because his letters to Benjamin had an exasperated tone.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:02 PM
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Kapuscinski is great. Bob should read him too. The book on the Iranian Revolution is unlike any journalism I've ever read: it's phenomenological, in that it portrays mostly how it felt to live under the Shah's regime towards the end. It reads almost like Camus.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:05 PM
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Yeah, he and Max H treated Benjamin a bit shabbily -- like he was this really clever overenthusiastic kid who would be something if he only disciplined himself intellectually (though I do sort of half imagine WB coming charging into their sober discussion of Kant shouting "OMG Ted I just saw this awesome movie, all the postboys loved it, it had the Tiller Girls and everything!")

My favourite Adorno line is the epigrah to his Wagner book (which is great): "Horses are the survivors of the age of heroes"


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:09 PM
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Giving a couple hours to Levinas tonight. Then I'll see. I'm always already beginning to study...


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 6:51 PM
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I hope you enjoy it, Bob!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 7:03 PM
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641 is funny.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-09 11:51 PM
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I have a sort of irrational grudge against Adorno because his letters to Benjamin had an exasperated tone.

I initially read this as suggesting that there was an unpublished correspondence between Adorno and nosflow, which JM had seen.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 2:16 AM
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645: That would explain the exasperated tone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 5:41 AM
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606: the analytic philosopher is a she.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 6:52 AM
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Aren't they all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 7:54 AM
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But what I'm thinking of is someone who has and works on what he thinks of as an analytical structure for thinking about literature, so they're in some sense a 'literary theorist', but who isn't (significantly or primarily) influenced by the work of the 'certain sets of thinkers' DS referred to in 551.

It's pretty hard to be a literary scholar these days without situating yourself within theory somewhere. But LB gets it right, that this doesn't necessarily mean that you 'do' theory. It's just a necessary element of being fully aware of the way you approach your subject (books, cultural phenomena, whatever it is you study). A lot of people have thought about the ways one can approach making meaning out of sign systems, and to go along your merry way doing that very thing without reference to them is pretty naïve.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 9:01 AM
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531: "I've decided to refrain from pointing it out on the CT thread, but I'll note that Holbo usually resorts to "we'll have to agree to disagree and we probably agree anyway without knowing it" when he can't substantiate a claim or series of claims he's making about how Theory and the people associated with it supposedly act."

I get that a lot. I'm a big sweetie-pie that way. (It's one of the best kept open secrets in all these philosophy-Theory kerfuffles of internet legend and lore.) If I can't substantiate a claim, but I believe it, I usually don't try to bluster through and pretend otherwise. If I include that little 'probably we agree' tag, that might be just knee-jerk agreeableness. (But, honestly, I don't often include it.) A lot of people find this 'we'll have to agree to disagree' move disagreeable. What am I hiding? Am I a jerk? Am I passive-aggressive? maybe a bit from column A, a bit from column B? If I believe something, but see that I cannot present evidence that would be compelling, at least not in a comment thread, why don't I pretend otherwise? What kind of a lunatic 'agrees to disagree' in the middle of a fight about philosophy and Theory? I must admit there have been times, in the heat of comment thread battle, when even I myself have been sorely tempted to change my sweetie-pie ways.

I would like to defend my wife's honor, re: the Plato book. I did a sort of English-to-English translation, to teach myself a lot of Greek, while thinking about these texts and what they contain and how to teach them to undergraduates. This took a lot of work but was largely philologically pointless, however educational for me. Then I handed off to her a very stylistically smooth, very colloquial translation. She, of course, worked from the Greek. But it's easier to do a full English translation from the Greek if you actually have an English translation in hand that you can use or modify or totally replace, as necessary. Although she's the philological brains of the operation, the results look a lot like my original results, which were seldom just plain wrong. But these results are in certain ways not to Belle's taste. She, being a classicist, is a purist, and prefers translations that are closer to the original, hence clunkier in English. I felt that including this note in the preface would bring any blame for looseness of translation, for stylistic purposes, on me, where it belongs. Since my original exercise dictated the style. Whereas she gets the philological credit, as is her due for spending all those years totally learning ancient Greek.

Aside from that, it is, as always, a hoot to eavesdrop on an unfogged thread in which one's character is earnestly debated.


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 9:09 AM
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A lot of people find this 'we'll have to agree to disagree' move disagreeable.

Could be worse. OTOH there are other moves that would be more agreeable, like admitting that you can't substantiate a premise when you can't do so.

(Incidentally, I see the Derrida debate on the CT thread has moved into talk of victims being told to stay still for Jacque's barrages, and how he's really just trying to come off as more rational than the Rationalists. Care to pull the other one about how philosophers don't do personal affront when their premises are challenged?)

Anyway, I wasn't debating your character. Just your ethos.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 11:08 AM
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It's pretty hard to be a literary scholar these days without situating yourself within theory somewhere.

10 years ago this was not true for the Classicists at Harvard!* I acknowledge that Classicists are different from their modern language counterparts.

*In 1994 one of their more brilliant faculty members who was a bit of an odd man out rebuked the profession for this a bit. I think he'd done enough "non-theoretical" stuff that they ignored the theory part when they offered him a job.

We are increasingly aware of the assumptions and problems that surround the notion of the pure fact. We know that even the denial of methodology implies a methodology. Theory is indispensable for helping us to compare different ways of studying literature, to get perspective on our own approaches, and so to understand our presuppositions, aims, and point of view in approaching works of art. Those who regard theorists as Harpies befouling the fair banquet spread before us on the pages of ancient writers might be invited, if I may mix allusions, to look at the sack of assumptions on their own backs.

---------CPS TAPA Presidential Address 1994


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 4:51 PM
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651: "Could be worse. OTOH there are other moves that would be more agreeable, like admitting that you can't substantiate a premise when you can't do so."

But agreeing to disagree IS a way of admitting that one cannot, to the present satisfaction of one's interlocutor, substantiate a claim one has made. What is your alternative? I should say I believe things I in fact think are wrong, just because I cannot presently convince people that the things I really think are true? It is not the case that a condition of a view's being reasonable and defensible that it can is compellingly and completely presentable, in a comment box, to any and all who question it, however hostilely. Intellectual life just doesn't go that way, and it's important not to act otherwise. Sometimes things can be a bit more difficult. Agreeing to disagree is then, 1) a way to agree to disagree (that's the first thing you miss); 2) it is a way of respecting the difficulty of certain questions, a way of acknowledging that opposing sides are pretty entrenched. I don't say you miss this second bit as well, but you seem pretty impatient with it. I say that's unhealthy.

"Incidentally, I see the Derrida debate on the CT thread has moved into talk of victims being told to stay still for Jacque's barrages, and how he's really just trying to come off as more rational than the Rationalists. Care to pull the other one about how philosophers don't do personal affront when their premises are challenged?"

Mine is actually a fairly standard critique of Derrida. Namely, his deconstructions themselves presuppose dichotomies and oppositions that one can, easily enough, sidestep, and Derrida himself says nothing convincing to the contrary. In the CT thread some folks, one who was quite hostile to my general approach, suggested I read Sam Wheeler on Derrida and Wittgenstein, and - when I went to do so - it turns out he says the same about Derrida at least. Namely, the weak spot for Derridean deconstruction is that he needs you to stand in a very precise spot, and it doesn't look like a good spot, and there's no reason for you to stand there, really. But besides Wheeler, many people have said the same, one way or the other, over the years. (Gerald Graff, John Searle, Richard Rorty. It may be that they are all just knee-jerking out of personal affront, but I sort of doubt it. And, even if that were so, the argument itself needs to be addressed.)

The classic case of this 'stand here, please' problem is "Signature, Event, Context" and Searle's response, and "Limited Inc". At the beginning of SEC Derrida says you have to accept a particular, highly Platonic conception of communication and concepts. Searle, sensibly, declines, pointing out that no one accepts it because there are going to be obvious problems. Derrida stamps his foot and says philosophers have to accept it. Searle says: fine, then YOU accept it. Derrida says: you insult me, sir. I'm not going to stand there. Thing is going to deconstruct any second. You can read it another way if you like. But that's how I read it. And others have, too.

(Pardon for leaving such un-unfoggish comments. But this thread seems pretty done anyway. As you were. Don't mind little old me.)


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-13-09 8:18 PM
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653: But agreeing to disagree IS a way of admitting that one cannot, to the present satisfaction of one's interlocutor, substantiate a claim one has made.

And how long do you go on using this mechanism to keep holding to claims you can't substantiate? At what point does the fact you can't substantiate them become a problem for holding to these claims? If you cannot substantiate them, why are you putting them forward at all? Or perhaps you think there's another context in which you have substantiated them (which would be fair, there are limits to what you can do in a comments thread), in which case, why not just refer people to that?

"Agreeing to disagree" is an agreeable enough maneuver insofar as it doesn't begin to look like a means of wriggling out of the work of substantiating a claim. In the thread in question, you're to be found making rather sweeping claims about a subset of "outsiders" to philosophy of which it's not exactly to unfair to ask for some illustrative examples before accepting them, especially if they conflict with actual examples of "fraught confrontation" between philosophy and other disciplines that one can call to mind. Particularly as regards conflicts between philosophers and literary critics, which for your remarks would seem the most obvious and applicable kind of conflict.

I'm not asking you to produce an academic monograph in a blog comments thread. But I'd prefer to see something more substantial out of you then "well, darn, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree" practically the moment these questions -- which should not by any means be unexpected -- come up. Coming from you, I'm inclined to regard it as more than a bit of a cop-out, particularly after the amount of time that you've been chewing over questions like this.

Mine is actually a fairly standard critique of Derrida.

Moreover, the snark that sneaks in from the edges is also fairly standard. Derrida has "victims" (your term on the CT thread) not interlocutors. He is trying to pull a fast one (in this case trying to be more "rational" than the Rationalists). It's quite commonplace.

As for Searle's substantive complaints about Derrida, I rather like Ian Maclean's summary of their dispute here, and while I think there are interesting critiques to made of Derrida I don't find the "fairly standard critique" to be among them.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 3:57 PM
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653: Pardon for leaving such un-unfoggish comments.

For what it's worth, unfogged is not hostile to such comments by any means. I'm glad to have read yours here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 5:38 PM
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Opinions differ enough about Austin that I wish people writing about him in contentious contexts wouldn't assume that he is sufficiently well understood that they can move somewhat quickly through his ideas. He is sufficiently widely understood, with respect to an understanding, that one can do that, but.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 5:55 PM
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656: Austin. (Antennae go up.)

It kills me that that I've never sufficiently reviewed the Derrida/Searle debate. This is really a problem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 7:02 PM
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654: "while I think there are interesting critiques to made of Derrida I don't find the "fairly standard critique" to be among them."

So you want to agree to disagree, in other words. And your way of putting that is: Holbo is such a jerk to suggest that we agree to disagree. Come off it, DS. That's just silly. You are projecting your desire not to debate onto me. Own your reluctance, man.

"And how long do you go on using this mechanism to keep holding to claims you can't substantiate? At what point does the fact you can't substantiate them become a problem for holding to these claims? If you cannot substantiate them, why are you putting them forward at all?"

Sweet snark on a stick, DS! I've got that whole "Framing Theory's Empire" book, linked in the very post in question. It's a free download. I've written tons of stuff. Papers n' everything. The "Framing" book has a paper by me about this very feature of Derrida's philosophy that you 'don't find' to be compelling. Why not critique it, then? All that's keeping you from doing so is that you probably have better things to do. But that's not MY fault (and it's not even a bad thing, so don't act like it's a bad thing that's my fault). I'm planning on reposting some old stuff I'm reworking. If you want to critique it, critique it. If you want to roll your eyes and move along, move along. Don't just grumble about how I never put anything out that can be substantively engaged with. That's nonsense and you perfectly well know it.

"Moreover, the snark that sneaks in from the edges ..."

DS, look around you. See the little 'preview' and 'post' buttons and so forth? This. Is. A. Blog. Are you seriously suggesting that Holbo - and only Holbo, because I'm sure you aren't dreaming of generalizing this - is under some obscure obligation not just to blog unsnarkily, but to make extra hermetically sure that no snark 'sneaks in from the edges'? What are you thinking?


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 7:56 PM
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658.last: I think DS was referring to the snark that sneaks in around the edges of the 'fairly standard' critique of Derrida, not to bloggedy snark.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 9:07 PM
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Well, DS did say "Moreover, the snark that sneaks in from the edges is also fairly standard." The 'also', I took to be a specific complaint about my version of the standard critique. That is, there is the standard critique and the snarky (bloggy) version of the standard critique (which may also be snarky, but not necessarily so.) In general, I fail to see the force of the objection to a mild degree of rhetorical force in any debate about Derrida. It's not as though Derrida himself is well described as an author who abjures the use of rhetoric in philosophical contexts.

Look, all I'm saying is this. DS knows perfectly well that mine is a serious position and deserving of being seriously addressed, if it is addressed at all. (As he has now himself acknowledged. Mine is a 'standard' sort of objection, just one he would prefer not to address.) Knowing this about DS, and appreciating that he would probably prefer not to bother, I extend a not-unfriendly (in context) 'let's agree to disagree' hand. And suddenly there's this elaborate feigning of 'pull the other one' - when, again, DS knows perfectly well there's a serious argument attached, not bells - and a simultaneous faux-indignance at Holbo, as if I were the one who is in cowardly retreat from discussion. I call: bullshit.


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 9:36 PM
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660: The 'also', I took to be a specific complaint about my version of the standard critique.

Yes, okay, I see, and you're right.

Nothing to say about the rest. DS can speak for himself, obviously. I assume the reason this has incensed you so much is that you feel you've been accused of intellectual unseriousness; for what it's worth, I don't think anyone thinks that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 9:56 PM
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There's nothing "faux" about my discontentment with the Holbonics on display here, I assure you.

And I'm always happy to get into a long debate about Derrida, but -- unless you're actually, seriously contending that the Derrida-Searle debate is an example of the "ethos" dynamic you're alleging, which for the sake of your credibility I really hope you're not -- I took the Derrida stuff to be a digression from the "ethos" stuff, and I'm not keen to be diverted from the original subject we were talking about. I would actually like some substantiation of the "ethos" stuff, please, is what I'm saying.

(As for my remarks about "snark," I had hoped it should be obvious that I don't expect philosophers to abandon snark or be above the petty muck of emotion and polemic. Just for the love of Confucius and Socrates, don't try to feed me bullshit narratives about how above-it-all and non-personalized the philosophical disciplinary standard is supposed to be while you're undertaking the polemics. If you have substantive objects to some forms of thought or theory, you don't need the muddy the waters with that kind of self-aggrandizing myth-making.)

Yes, John, I know that you have written papers and everything. I even know that you have edited Framing Theory's Empire. What people do when they've done things like that, and those things (they feel) have substantiated a point they're making, is provide a reference to the place in those writings where those people should look in order to learn something. (Like, a specific reference, not a reference to the entire 250-odd page book, right?) It's not possible that that is an unfamiliar practice to you. I'm disappointed that you apparently weren't prepared to do it; I'm even more disappointed that you apparently can't be arsed to do it now after you've been asked multiple times to do it.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 9:58 PM
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can't be arsed … you've been asked

Heh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:05 PM
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the analytic philosopher is a she.

ha. No he isn't. Nor will he be summoned to combat the likes of Shearer.


Posted by: Commissioner Gordon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:10 PM
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Oh, in further reference to the Derrida stuff: you know, John, I did provide a link to a lengthy summary of the debate which I said I agreed with. That's something rather different from declaring an unwillingness to debate, I think you'd have to agree.

And no, just to be clear, I'm not accusing you of intellectual unseriousness. I'm saying your premise is wrong in this case -- or at least seems wrong to me -- and assailing you for what seems to me to be an anemic response to that contention. And again, I'm not asking that you engage in a ten-thousand-word textual battle with me on the Internets, God knows we all only have so much time for blog combat; I'm just saying I'd take your point about the "ethos" stuff more seriously if you could provide something more to back it up.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:10 PM
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3rd paragraph in 662: "substantive objects" s/b "substantive objections"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:14 PM
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664: Yeah, I wondered about that too.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:19 PM
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Slack, sorry I didn't mean that you were feigning discontent. I merely meant that you were feigning justifiable discontent. I have no doubt whatsoever that your feelings are real and my objections are not to your feelings. You can be discontented at anything you like.

It's true that the thread at CT drifted a bit over its 100+ comment course. But as a regular at Unfogged, perhaps you are familiar with the heraclitean phenomenon of comment drift (let's not tediously pretend that the norms governing these things are different than they actually are, shall we?) The ethos point is connected to the Derrida point because, so I claim, Derridean deconstruction is a kind of ethos, in the relevant sense. However - sweetie pie that I am, and remain - I recognize that demonstrating this semi-identity would be a complex matter. I certainly would never dream of asking you to take it from me on faith. If you wish to argue against the ethos claim you might - as I suggest in the post - begin by reading Amanda Anderson on ethos. As I have said, the normative conclusions that I draw are different than hers, but I am drawing on a descriptive conclusion she arrives at concerning how things have gone, ethos- and theory-wise in English departments. If you want to argue that she is totally deluded, and nothing of the sort has happened, which would excellently undermine my claims, the place to start would be her book. You may object: I don't have time to read Anderson's book. Holbo is discontenting me right now and I want to do something about it. Well, then I suggest the best way to deal with the phenomenon may be 'agreeing to disagree', which can alleviate discontentment (although I cannot promise a complete clear-up of symptoms.) If you want to cut straight to the arguing-against-holbo chase you could critique one of my papers in "Framing". Maybe the one about Derrida. Or the introduction. Take your pick. I do not presume to dictate the path that your disagreement with me should take.

But seriously, man, this kind of stuff? "don't try to feed me bullshit narratives about how above-it-all and non-personalized the philosophical disciplinary standard." Check that kind of stuff at the door. There's nothing like that in my post. Or rather, there's this: "And feel free to point out that, obviously, philosophy, in an academic sense, IS an entanglement of ethos and argument."

I should have added, feel free, so long as you don't pretend that I don't see it perfectly well myself. I'm not naive, y'know.

The bottom line is this, Slack: projection ain't just a booth in the movie theater. You don't want to argue with me, not because you don't think you could, but because it would be kind of a job. And that's fine (and that's exactly why I proposed that we agree to disagree). But don't, then, accuse me of bullshit avoidance of argument. It's not such a big thing but I am calling bullshit on it. Which is only fair.


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:28 PM
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665: "I'm not accusing you of intellectual unseriousness."

Those must have been some serious bells that jingled if you pulled the other one! My mistake.

Slack, let's just clear the decks. Declare a do-over. If in future you want to argue against me. Fine. If not: also fine. I am sure you are a smart fellow who disagrees with me profoundly. And that's fine.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 10:39 PM
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There's nothing like that in my post.

Actually, the part of your post where you're trying to claim a difference-in-kind between argumentation in philosophy departments and elsewhere, wherein philosophy departments are in general to be taken as less prone to personalizing disagreements over premises? That whole post and entire premise is sort of "like that," although of course I'm exaggerating a bit snarkily. (See, I looked up and saw the "preview" and "post" buttons and realized this was a blog.)

projection ain't just a booth in the movie theater.

It is, however, a term you should be careful about using, since if you use it too lightly it sort of looks like you're trying to overcome disagreement by saying "I know you are, but what am I?" Like here, for instance.

You don't want to argue with me, not because you don't think you could, but because it would be kind of a job.

No, I want something to argue with. Like, it's all very well to pointed in the direction of your entire corpus of writings or to be told "read Amanda Anderson," whom you've already said doesn't say what you're saying -- and I've obviously no means of evaluating your adaptation of what she's saying until I've found time to hunt down, purchase and read through her entire book, since you apparently are disinterested in getting any more specific than that -- well then, it might at least be more convincing to me to be pointed to some examples of this "ethos" stuff playing out in actual debates. You really can think of no more specific references than you've provided for elucidating or substantiating this stuff, even in a preliminary sense? Because what you've provided is pretty vague.

I have to say that if Derrida vs. Searle is supposed to be an example of the "ethos" dynamic, and in particular your version of it, well, that doesn't sound very promising to me, inasmuch as I have trouble observing in it the dynamics that you outline in your post. But yes, I will give Anderson a try at some point.

In the meantime, I of course can't force you to do any substantiating you don't want to do. If you're happy with what you've said and that's that... well, that's that. But all of this has been an extremely weak performance from you IMO.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 11:01 PM
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668: If you want to cut straight to the arguing-against-holbo chase you could critique one of my papers in "Framing". Maybe the one about Derrida. Or the introduction. Take your pick.

Sorry, in continuing to complain about the lack of references I kind of passed over this. I guess I must have misremembered your post about Derrida because the "ethos" stuff seemed like a new-ish elaboration on your older themes and not directly relevant. But it could be I was wrong, and I will certainly have a look at that.

(I've downloaded Framing -- and I owe you a non-snarky congratulations for pulling that book together and making it freely available, BTW. Clear the decks, do-over! Okay by me.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-14-09 11:09 PM
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Holbonics

Ten analytic philosophers walked into a bar and a hockey game broke out.

max
['Deconstruction of the Fables/Fables of the Deconstruction.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-15-09 12:34 AM
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DS, having never written anything really about 'ethos' myself, besides that post, I cannot point you to any substantial body of prior holbonic scribbling on the subject. So the best I can say is: read Amanda Anderson and see if you agree with her, specifically, about ethos and argument, in a descriptive sense, in the English department. Her prescriptions about what is to be done are different from mine - but actually not all that different. But she and I are, modulo certain differences in choices of vocabulary, in agreement about what has happened. I differ on one big point: I think that it's nothing really new. That is, in fact, criticism in literary studies has always had the character that she treats as a somewhat New Thing. But my disagreement with her on that score is not so presently relevant (although it is highly consequential if we start to push the question in certain directions.) What is most important is that, in fact, academic criticism does have this character. It's not really a subject that fits in a comment box, however.

As to Theory. Sure, yes, read my stuff in "Framing" and if it's wrong, go ahead and whack it. That's what it's for.

As to my post, your description of it seems to me slightly but very significantly off. You write: "the part of your post where you're trying to claim a difference-in-kind between argumentation in philosophy departments and elsewhere, wherein philosophy departments are in general to be taken as less prone to personalizing disagreements over premises?"

There is a sense in which it just is true, in my opinion, that (typical academic) philosophers have a conception of philosophical problems such that someone saying 'but isn't your main premise just false?' is no affront to their personal dignity. Whereas other humanities folks take this sort of gambit to be a calculated personal insult. An attempt to say: 'but aren't you a stupid idiot?' It's a conversation-stopper, whereas philosophers take it to be a conversation-starter.

But this level of personal detachment, since it is largely a matter of table manners is comparatively shallow. Non-philosophers have their own styles of asking tough questions. They just don't like the way philosophers set about it. It seems all wrong and passive-aggressive to them.

You can easily affront an Anglo-American academic philosopher by asking a question which, as it were, mocks her whole ethos. if you say 'but isn't analytic philosophy just a sort of cowardly evasion of the sorts of problems that continental philosophers are more authentically courageous in facing up to?' it is quite likely that you will manage to give personal offense. Even though you were just asking a question! (So philosophers can be personally offended. So that's settled.) My point is that philosophers can be taken to be mocking someone else's ethos when they really aren't intending to. Similarly non-philosophers can insult philosophers by presupposing the wrongness of something the philosophers feel very strongly isn't wrong, in asking their questions. And thereby insulting them. To the outsider it's obvious that the thing they are presupposing to be wrong is wrong, so they don't even realize they are doing this. (There are more subtle ways to insult philosophers than the way sketched above. But they can get you to the same place as my crude example would get you, in effect.) The reason philosophers don't usually do a lot of ethos-bucking is that they tend to stick to their own tribe and, within the tribe, there is generally more homogeneity about 'ethos' (this word is now straining under a lot of weight, but what am I to do: it's a comment box) than in many other humanities departments. This may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether the relatively (but of course not perfectly) homogeneous philosophy department ethos is a good thing or a bad thing. Which is, of course, a separate question.

In short, you think my post is a big pat on the back for philosophers and a dire insult to everyone else, but it just says how philosophers see things, which is in a generally philosophy-favorable way. Other approaches don't look as good to the philosophers as their own. In a sense, what the post says is sort of obvious, I think. Then again (as subsequent discussion has shown) it is possible to miss this point.


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-15-09 3:11 AM
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I also like the fact that if you translate the title of this post into Greek, it turns out that my comments are the only comments in the whole thread that are truly on-topic.


Posted by: jholbo | Link to this comment | 06-15-09 3:14 AM
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Thanks for 673. As it happens I ran across a link from the Valve to some online excerpts of Anderson's work, so it looks like I can get started there sooner than I thought.

I think that saying that philosophers can get along in re: disagreement over premises as long as they're within certain boundaries sounds more right to me. I confess I don't really see how that would make it different from, say, a History department, where this is also standard (e.g. you can question the historicity of just about anything but you'd better not use that "cult stud" stuff to do it or you're threatening the integrity of History -- a lack of sensitivity over that boundary and too much interest in Foucault was how I wound up in an English Department).

As for EngLit, well, I gather Anderson is talking about an identity politics trajectory that's now after my time as an active academic. I was perhaps too dismissive about the notion of a distinct EngLit intellectual culture in my earlier posts on the CT thread, because it's certainly true that given the mishmash of philosophical and theoretical positions within any department, you're more liable to run into the lack of a common underlying "ethos." Even given that, it doesn't seem true to me that disagreements over premises are routinely personalized inasmuch as everybody expects and is accustomed to that mishmash. It's also, it occurs to me, eased by certain common practices; for example, it's a commonplace that a thinker's writing is not a monolithic whole and you can riff on elements of various thinkers without having to square away the metaphysics of their bodies of work -- so you'll never (or rarely) find anyone making Nussbaum's complaint about Butler using too many thinkers (though people will laugh at you if your papers turn into empty exercises in name-dropping).

Huh. I guess I may be arguing myself into the position that there's something like Theory after all. Or at least, maybe, t(T)heory, not necessarily a common vocabulary and methodology in any thoroughgoing sense but rather a common sense of what vocabularies and methodologies can fairly include if you want them to.

Anyway, I'll have a look at those online excerpts of Anderson for starters.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-15-09 7:37 AM
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