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Friday WTFuckery

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.09.19

The cruelty of the ICE raids in Mississippi, on the first day of school, is just so fucked up and enraging. No words are sufficient.


 

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Guest Post - Monroe Unpopularity Test

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.08.19

Nick S. writes: In Friday's XKCD Randall Monroe suggests a movie-related test which is much less important than the Bechdel test, but which could make a good unfogged thread.

Name a movie which (a) you genuinely like, (b) was released after 2000, and (c) is rated below 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I'm not sure if the rating in question is the audience rating or the "tomatometer" so I'll kick off the conversation by mentioning two.

I'd pick Price Check, a 2012 low budget Parker Posey movie about the ethical tensions of how one relates to work, and how much to identify with one's job. It feels like a stage play lightly adapted for the screen. It has 30% audience rating but I thought it was very well done.

I've also previously recommended Suck as exactly what one would expect (and want) from a low-budget, indie, Canadian, Rock-and-Roll, Vampire, road trip, comedy. It's pacing isn't always consistent, and not all of the jokes are funny, but what would you expect from that description? It has a 53% audience rating and 50% tomatometer.

Heebie's take: this is a hard one for me, because I'm very far removed from movie watching in general. I did watch movies from 2000-2009, but I'm having trouble retrieving titles. The one that jumps out is Rat Race - I loved that movie, but I think of it as an unfairly unpopular movie. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 43% Tomatometer/63% audience, so maybe it counts.


 

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Trophies for all!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.07.19

I saw this as a shared meme, and it is impossible to figure out where it originates from, but maybe here?

out of all the aspects of millennial-bashing, i think the one that most confuses me is the "millennials all got trophies as a kid, so now they're all self-centered narcissists" theory
like-- kids are pretty smart, y'all. they can see that every kid on the team gets a trophy and is told they did a good job; they can also see that not every kid on the team deserves a trophy, and not everyone did do a good job
the logical conclusion to draw from this is not "i'm great and i deserve praise"-- it's "no matter how mediocre i am, people will still praise me to make me feel better, so i can't trust any compliments or accolades i receive"
this is not a recipe for overconfidence and narcissism. it is a recipe for constant self-guessing, low self-esteem, and a distrust of one's own abilities and skills.
where did this whole "ugh millennials think their so-so work is super great" thing even come from it is a goddamn mystery

and this seems to resonate with a lot of millenials, but I also totally understand it. Some of the reactions:

this is not a recipe for overconfidence and narcissism. it is a recipe for constant self-guessing, low self-esteem, and a distrust of one's own abilities and skills.
Which is pretty much what mental health practitioners observe happening.
It's also what I observed happening as a singing teacher: the older kids literally would not believe a positive word I said until I had proved I would tell them they screwed up/had done badly/etc. I did so in as useful a way as possible ("So this passage. We really need to work on this passage. A lot. This passage is not good yet."), but with almost every adolescent I taught I had to prove I would give them straight-up criticism before they would parse my praise as anything other than meaningless "the grownups always do this" noise.

I personally think it's totally fine for all kids to get trophies, and I agree that it does not result in narcissism so much as cynicism about the importance of trophies. But yes, if you're fast and loose with praise, everyone assumes you have low standards, and if adults are categorically fast and loose with praise as a general standard, kids are going to be suspicious, accordingly. If you offer nuanced or individualized praise, people take it more seriously.

As for how to actually build self-esteem in a child: hoo boy. There are many ways to wreck it, and then removing those traumatizing obstacles will help re-build self-esteem, and some kids just naturally have tons of positive self-regard, but I don't exactly know how to build it.


 

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Two thoughts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.06.19

1. I really wish there was a systematic mechanism for individuals to inform doctors, months or years later, that their diagnoses were wrong. Right now, there's no way for a mildly arrogant doctor to ever learn that they've been under-diagnosing or mis-diagnosing individuals, who then spent months or years until they got a proper diagnosis from a different doctor (possibly with serious or fatal consequences).

2. I have a belief that the economy will go down in flames in December 2020, right after we elect President Democrat. The business community will all of a sudden suck their testicles up into their abdomen with fear, because they spent the Trump years feeling secure that the guy in charge really was one of them, and now they've got someone who ranges somewhere from President Biden to President Warren in unfriendliness.

I'm not saying it's a foregone conclusion that we will elect the Democrat nominee. Just that the possibility that we re-elect Trump is too awful and I push it from my mind. Handing the new president-elect a flaming shit sandwich that undermines policy implementation for the next two years is the right level of pessimism for me.


 

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Individual Efforts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.05.19

Sent in by a reader who wishes to stay anonymous, this is a story of an odd duck who is committed to living an outlier life in terms of leaving a low-carbon footprint:


Russell makes it sound simple. "It's not that weird. I ride a bike everywhere and eat a vegan diet and I don't fly," he tells me.

He does still ride in cars, although recently he's limited himself to three trips per month. He grows some vegetables but laments that he could be growing more. (A reminder: he lives in Calgary, which for now, at least, has snow on the ground more than half the year.) He doesn't shop often, and when he does, he buys second-hand.
He brings his own containers to takeout restaurants, even if it annoys the staff. He admits it feels odd, bumbling in with his Tupperware that doesn't fit the restaurant's proportions. But he tells himself that getting over that mild embarrassment is just part of his life now. "You really do have to stop caring what people think," he says--though it's easier in theory than practice.
Yes, at face value, what Russell's doing doesn't sound that odd, nor truly embarrassing. But that doesn't mean he hasn't gotten himself into situations that are, by many plane-travelling omnivores' standards, weird. His self-imposed rules got more daunting when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. He was in North Bay, still riding his bike--to and from chemotherapy appointments along a "mostly flat" road.

The part that I found frustrating about the article is this:

The individual steps, no matter how drastic, seem impossibly small when compared to the toll taken by massive corporations. Two leading climate research institutes report that 70 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions created since 1988 can be traced back to no more than one hundred fossil fuel companies.
This gave rise to a new, cynical debate: whether individual actions matter at all. And if so, why, exactly? A growing body of research is asking the same question.

The article never comes back to that question, the weight of individual actions against the inaction of fossil fuel companies. It just dives really deeply into the psychology of what prompts an individual to adopt minor greenwashing changes or more meaningful systematic changes.

I personally can't get past that question. If I were to massively overhaul my life - either change careers or uproot my family to lessen my commute, most notably - I would need one hell of a stronger indication that there is an actual collective action solution occurring and that it involves major corporate polluters.

Until that point, I'm just going to reduce my beef consumption and bring reusable bags, and frankly do the smaller virtue signalling things, and call it a day. (And fight like hell to get Republicans out of office.)


 

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It's Good

Posted by Ogged
on 08.04.19

I was shooting baskets in my driveway when a delivery driver--a short, round, white guy--stopped, got out, said "Can I get a look?" and, after I tossed him the ball, swished a twenty-footer and ran back to his car with his finger in the air, saying "Nothing but net!"


 

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