My grandmother used to have an honest-to-god rant about how my cousin had never formally come out of the closet to her, and so this friend had a gay grandchild and that friend did too, and she wasn't allowed the liberal cred to be in the gay grandkid club because she was hung up on the Formality of the Closet. (My cousin is young enough that there wasn't a clear closet for him to open the door of.) She wanted my cousin to sit her down, hold hands together, and cherish the moment, and then she could tell him all about her activism for The Gays, yes while using the formal article.
I recalled that story just now, because we were the only white people at a birthday party this morning, and there is no club of people who wants to congratulate me on my liberal street cred. SO LIBERAL HEEBIE OMG. (I feel ridiculous even writing this paragraph but the Grandma story is funny.)
Clew writes: A series of family reunions are taking me up the East Coast May 23rd-Jun 1, schedule still under debate, stops in at least the four cities above. Anyone up for a meetup?
There's no way Fresh Salt can live up to my imaginings, in this troubled world, but I'm sure y'all will surpass them.
E. Messily sends in Petition to Restore Jeremiah Josias Luther George True to His Humanities 110 Conference
I have not been believed by your faculty, or I have been dismissed. I have witnessed blatant sexism against men. I have been made to feel unsafe.
What's Jeremiah going on about?
On Saturday, March 14, I was contacted by my Humanities 110 Professor, Pancho Savery. He banned me from my mandatory Hum 110 class on the grounds that I made students in the conference extremely uncomfortable when I questioned the largely purported 1-in-5 rape statistic. I stated that I did not believe that the rape culture exists. He wrote me that morning, saying:
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I was waiting until I had a conversation with Michael Faletra. The conference spent the entire class hour yesterday discussing the current situation, and several things became clear. There are several survivors of sexual assault in our conference, and you have made them extremely uncomfortable with what they see as not only your undermining incidents of rape, but of also placing too much emphasis on men being unfairly charged with rape. ...your presence makes them uncomfortable enough that they would rather not be there if you are there, and they have said that things you have said in our conference have made them so upset that they have difficulty concentrating in other classes. I, as conference leader, have to do what is best for the well-being of the entire class, and I am therefore banning you from conference for the remainder of the semester.
Jeremiah has a lot to say about that. From the comments:
"omg stop raping me with ur pwrful words master Jeremiah."
You might as well take that long shower because your dinner took 32 hundred gallons of water to produce. You might as well go back to bed, asshole, in fact this post took 3000 gallons of water to produce. Reading it took another gallon.
To be sincere, yes manufacturing uses crazy amounts of water, and we're all complicit, and nope there goes my sincerity - I mean, maybe we could have a conversation with manufacturers instead of writing guilt-pieces? Or write a piece about why we need water legislation addressing manufacturers?
YES I FEEL GUILTY.
md 20/400 writes: So, I am in LA through Wednesday 3/18 and in the SF area (Palo Alto) from Thursday 3/19 through Tuesday 3/24. I'd like to meet up with any like-minded reprobates in either metropolis. I am visiting family so weekends are likely out. I am able to get most places in the two areas.
Potentially informative update: "For SF, the consensus date looks like Monday. The area Uptown Oakland. Maybe Lost & Found or similar."
Lost & Found sounds good to me, neb, the person who is writing this update!
I apologize for dipping into the well of youtube inanity, but this bit, where a pretty young woman asks random guys if they want to have sex with her, has some great moments. We have no idea how they edited things, so we don't know her true success rate (try to guess before you watch), but let's assume it's accurate for the purposes of baseless pontification.
Presidentially submitted: it occurs to me that this research might be interesting for the blog, being as it discusses whether people who are older are per se stupider.
Heebie's take: I have this bug where I switch a word for its opposite, especially when giving directions. Sometimes I have a nagging feeling, but often I don't. I now avoid giving directions whenever possible (much easier in the age of smart phones), but it came up when a number of dumb-phoned relatives came to town over Christmas break. And in fact, I sent two of them to go pick up dinner, using the word "south" when I meant "north" and they called from the far side of town. Of the times I have to give directions, it happens probably most of the time. It never happens if I draw a map, though.
(This happened here with the head voice/chest voice crooner conversation - I only realized later on FB that I used the opposite word for the entire conversation. Aargh!)
Anyway, from the link, it is nice that some other intelligence things peak in your 30s-70s!
From the author of Taken by the Tetris Blocks, Sex Boat, Mother Fucking Wizards: an erotic novella about sexual wizards, comes Conquered by Clippy. (Via Josh.)
I believe that somehow we have not yet had brought to our collective attention—here, as this collectivity, I mean—the works A Gronking to Remember and I Don't Care If My Best Friend's Mom Is a Sasquatch, She's Hot And I'm Taking a Shower With Her … Because It's the New Millenium.
So, here we all are then, I guess.
Two more markers of the end times, but it's hard not to laugh.
--They had to have a meeting and schedule contractors for this.
A Catholic cathedral in San Francisco installed a watering system in an attempt to soak homeless people who try to loiter and sleep near its doorways
--A member of the PSU frat that posted photos of unconscious naked women in a true classic of someone not very bright giving 110% to self-justification. I can't even excerpt; it's a goldmine of bombastic idiocy.
Poems should be a little bit funny and a little bit rhymey.
There you go.
You know how some people go to work and start thinking about what's best for the company and turn into total dickwads? ("None of us is as dumb as all of us.") A lot of contemporary poetry sounds kind of like that; like people put on their poetry hats and write to some mysterious and pervasive poetry template. Dude, do you even want to read this stuff? Why, are you an insufferable prick? (Ok, often the answer for poets will be yes.)
So, because insufferable pricks don't realize they're insufferable pricks, and because "write what you want to read" will lead to self-indulgence, I propose my manifesto as an antidote. Future generations can tell future poets to stop making stupid rhymes because that shit isn't funny.
Now she'll explain the French, British, and Americans, in 700 words! I'm all for national stereotypes, but this is beyond, or beneath, facile. I'm not going to look it up, but I'll assume that the only reason this person's words are on my screen in the NY Times is that she went to Yale.
Peep peeps: wtf, starbucks? has anyone encountered this?
oh, yes, I forgot we're all too cool to go to Starbucks.
Heebie jabbers: That is the clunkiest campaign. Good grief.
This (white) anti-racist educator talks about how she addresses white fragility head on. (I'd been saving it to post, but I'll lump these together.) White fragility:
she came up with a term for it: "white fragility," which she defined in a 2011 journal article as "a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation."
On the one hand, yes I've talked about this a ton, about how poorly some of the Heebie U students do during discussions of racism. It's a problem. On the other hand, I don't entirely trust this woman to have an ear for the situations she creates:
In my workshops, one of the things I like to ask white people is, "What are the rules for how people of color should give us feedback about our racism? What are the rules, where did you get them, and whom do they serve?" Usually those questions alone make the point.
That makes me think that you do a lot of set-you-up gotchas, and bait people, and kind of act like an ass.
But this part is true:
I think we get tired of certain terms. What I do used to be called "diversity training," then "cultural competency" and now, "anti-racism." These terms are really useful for periods of time, but then they get coopted, and people build all this baggage around them, and you have to come up with new terms or else people won't engage.
Starbucks: doing their part to exhaust the very, very limited shelf-life of phrases with which we talk about racism.
Speaking of crappy journalism, when your own to-be-sure bit contains the entire refutation of your article's lede, maybe take twenty minutes and rewrite the piece. As every single commenter points out, it's not the quantity of rain, but the constancy of gray drizzle that drives people insane. (Yes, I know the summers are beautiful.)
Promising young football player retires to avoid turning his brain to mush. I think it's a significant move, but the real problem is the parents who won't let their kids play. Does football just become blacker and poorer?
Where are there so many assholes? Are other countries like this? Has it always been like this here? Are there this many assholes in Davis?
For over an hour I've been reading the unabashedly racist tweets from @netanyahu's campaign. It's fascinating to see the panic.— Lisa Goldman (@lisang) March 17, 2015
Netanyahu: "Arabs are heading to the polls in droves. The rule of the Right is in danger." Gloves off, masks off as well. #IsraelElections— Dimi Reider (@dimireider) March 17, 2015
Just heard Herzog on BBC: Calls for "separation" (segregation) of Palestinians, and says no daylight with Netanyahu on Iran.— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) March 17, 2015
It's just a clickbait piece. After writing this post out, I'm wondering why I felt the need to be all grouchy about some dumb clickbait, and it's possible that this is all aimed at my colleague who shared the piece and whom I have to be polite to. I clicked through 8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently, because I often tell my math students to approach their homework like they approach practicing a sport or a musical interest or something where they have a clearer sense of what mastery looks like.
Seventeen piano and piano pedagogy majors agreed to learn a 3-measure passage from Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1. ...The students were given two minutes to warm up, and then provided with the 3-measure excerpt, a metronome, and a pencil. Participants were allowed to practice as long as they wanted, and were free to leave whenever they felt they were finished. Practice time varied quite a bit, ranging from 8 1/2 minutes to just under 57 minutes. To ensure that the next day's test would be fair, they were specifically told that they may NOT practice this passage, even from memory, in the next 24 hours. 24 hours later... When participants returned the following day for their test, they were given 2 minutes to warm up, and then asked to perform the complete 3-measure passage in its entirety, 15 times without stopping (but with pauses between attempts, of course). Each of the pianists' performances were then evaluated on two levels. Getting the right notes with the right rhythm was the primary criteria, but the researchers also ranked each of the pianists' performances from best to worst, based on tone, character, and expressiveness.
So then they looked back at what the top performers did differently from the rest. I sure do want to yell at the journalist who wrote the piece, though, about the difference between causation and correlation.
What they ought to do is follow up with a study where they watch the pianists learn two passages, a difficult one and an easy one, because maybe everyone naturally does all the right things when practicing an easy passage.
(This isn't to invalidate the idea that there are more and less effective ways to practice, of course.)
We went to a wedding over the weekend which was very... unremarkable? mainstream? I had never met either the bride nor groom before. The setting was lovely, the ceremony religious, and the details very standard.
What absolutely stood out were the bridesmaid and groomsmen speeches. This is on the heels of a year in which we have attended five weddings and I've been complaining that people have been giving lackluster speeches. These speeches, in contrast, were spot on: they took on the task of thinking through and sharing sweet, funny, assorted anecdotes that fleshed out the bride or groom, and then ended with a declaration of love and good wishes. Exactly right.
Dairy Queen writes: Especially liked the world book day and the one with the white stretch limo & the midget from the band. So much more enticing than those non-musical midget!
Prefer an actor who is not too thin! It's a great role for a feminist!
These are great.
This weekend, London, special guest David the Unfogged Commenter.
Further details to be arranged in the thread.6.30pm Sunday, 3/15, at the Star of Kings in King's Cross.
Update: per Alex the pub is closed.