Linky Friday #38


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

70 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Reality Bites is flawed, but its an order of magnitude better than Singles. Though the quintessential Gen X film was Slacker.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Where does Mallrats fall on this spectrum?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Mallrats is Ben Affleck’s best work, but Clerks is the one that falls on the spectrum. (just behind Slacker, if only because it came later after the Gen X identity was solidified)Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The other problem is that Kevin Smith always worked in New Jersey, and not in the Gen X Cities of the Imagination, Seattle and Austin.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I love Mallrats. Clerks is good but Mallrats nails the “foul-mouthed John Hughes” thing so much better (because the acting & direction mostly at least rises to the level of “competent”).Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The better question is where does Pump up the Volume fall on this spectrum? To me, the ‘quintessential Gen X movie’ needs to have been produced between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the death of Kurt Cobain. (which also excludes Heathers).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Wait, there are people that like Mallrats un-ironically?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Most of the people I went to high school with. I remember, all too well, getting caught in the middle of discussions about whether Clerks or Mallrats was the better movie. The times when I recall such conversations are the times when I recall why I got the hell out of a small town.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I never got the Mallrats hate. I think people who loved Smith for his “indie”-ness saw it as a sellout from Clerks (adding Shannon Doherty, using color stock, making an attempt at a more mainstream-looking “Hollywood” comedy) and people who were used to more mainstream Hollywood filmmaking couldn’t get past the indie feel of it (or, to be less kind, the unprofessionalism of Smith & co.)

        So it fell in the cracks, neither fish nor fowl. But I thought it was hilarious.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Well, it did give us Jason Lee.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        I never found Kevin Smith’s movies to be particularly good. However, his podcast before he made Zack & Miri… was excellent and witty. After that movie bombed he became a pothead and a lot less interesting.

        If you want to hear a whining C at full-blast, listen to his audio book. He has every excuse in the book for why his career tanked.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I admit that 12 year old me thought that my 20s would have me being like the Matt Dillon character in Singles.

      Officially I am one of the last years of Gen X. Unofficially I exist in a purgatory between Gen X and Gen Y. I consider people born between 1965-1972 to be prime Gen X. Will is definitely Gen X but not prime Gen X.

      In short, it is people born around 1979-1981 like me who probably put Singles and Reality Bites into the Gen X cannon because we watched it as impressionable adolescents and thought this is what adult life is going to be like.

      I also have a grand unifying theory that there is not that much of a difference between the Grunge set and Hipsters in terms of lifestyles and such. After all, the 90s are still alive in Portland might be the most true line from a TV theme song.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I actually like Singles a lot better than Reality Bites. The problem with Reality Bites was that Ben Stiller’s character was not presented sympathetically enough. He should have gotten the girl.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        You ask me, Ben Stiller’s character was the adult in the room. That we were supposed to feel more sympathy towards Hawke, and less towards him, tells us quite a bit about the movie and what it thinks of the audience.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I agree. Ben Stiller’s character represented all the compromises that you need to make in order to be an adult. If Wyona Ryder’s character ended up with him, it would have been seen as giving at least some of her artistic “integritiy” in order to make it. Ethan Hawke’s character allowed for more childish purity.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Until ND pointed it out above and I looked it up, I thought Matt Dillon and Supertrain were in R-B, not Singles. I have not seen either movie since the late 90’s, but am now re-evaluating my opinion of their comparative merits. (I still believe though, that, ipso facto, Cameron Crowe cannot make a ‘quintessential’ Gen X movie, even with the quintessential Gen X actor, Ethan Hawke)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Ben Stiller’s character represented all the compromises that you need to make in order to be an adult.

        Beautifully said, Lee.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Thank you Will. Unfortunately, said it first. I’m just in agreement with their opinion.Report

  2. Avatar Thoreau says:

    The Gelmen link goes to the Mormon writers blog.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.Report

  4. Avatar Will H. says:

    A lot of bearings for generators are nitrogen-cooled these days.
    I have to ask myself what helium can do that nitrogen can’t.
    Nitrogen is a lot less expensive.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Helium remains almost completely inert, both chemically and with respect to nuclear processes, even at very high temperature and pressure. This greatly simplifies a number of reactor design considerations. While nitrogen is “nearly” chemically inert at standard temperatures and pressures, that goes out the window under typical gas-cooled reactor conditions. Nitrogen will also absorb neutrons and emit other things, which can be problematic. It’s just poorly suited for use as a nuclear reactor coolant.Report

  5. Avatar NewDealer says:

    P2: There is something odd and paradoxical here. Paul Krugman is the star columnist for the NY Times. His pet insult is against the Very Serious People stance that is needed to to keep lawyers, doctors, and other professionals in the Democratic Party stance happy yet many of those professionals love Paul Krugman for his liberalism.

    In short, I’m not buying this. I do think that the upsurge for Bill De Blasio especially among “white liberals” shows that even many upper-middle class people feel like they are being left out of the wealth building race.

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Sure, many professionals do love that aspect of the Democratic Party. However, are those the votes they are at risk of losing? Well, they should be good in New York either way. But New York is a very poor testing ground for UMC values. The situation of UMC voters in NYC is unlike the vast majority of the country.Report

  6. Avatar kenB says:

    Re W2, just to be pedantic, it’s not really that they’re difficult to translate, it’s that they’re difficult to work into a translation (because there’s no single word or phrase that captures them). “Untranslatable” (their word, not yours) suggests that there’s no way even to capture the meaning in our language.

    BTW, the Russian one is based on the word for “why” — basically like calling someone a “why-er”.Report

  7. Avatar George Turner says:

    I’ll toss in a link about the new discovery of a canyon about as long as the Grand Canyon and about half as deep. It’s in northern Greenland.Report

  8. Avatar ScarletNumber says:


    Vikram Bath is being intellectually dishonest. The “victim” in question was not forcibly raped.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      It’s a quote from the article itself. (When I do that, I add quotation marks around the item – though in this case I guess it looks like I’m quoting Vik.)

      That said, it was legally rape whether it was physically forced or not. She was young enough, and the age different great enough, that I can’t really argue that what happened shouldn’t be quite illegal.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        Fine, then the paper was being intellectually dishonest.

        I have no problem with him being found guilty. He broke the law so he should go to jail. The paper is being intellectually dishonest because they know full well that no one was forced. If what he did was so bad, just say it without misleading the readers.

        Bravo to the judge for recognizing the totality of the circumstances.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        … but it was, legally speaking, rape. She couldn’t legally give her consent.

        Even if it was something that I didn’t think should be legally rape, say a 20 year old sleeping with a sixteen year old, it wouldn’t be dishonest to call it that. Because, legally, the sixteen year old can’t give her consent (in most states).Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        Le sigh…

        Dishonest and intellectually dishonest are not synonyms. For example, if someone arguing against raising the minimum wage states, “The minimum wage is at its highest level ever” he is being intellectually dishonest because he knows that he is not using constant dollars.

        Likewise in the link, the writers purposely used the phraseology they did in order to make the crime sound worse than it really was.

        Here is the wikipedia article on intellectual honesty. Once you comprehend it, feel free to come back to the debate.


      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Yep. I forgot to put the word “intellectually” in front of dishonest. My bad. But the point still stands. I don’t think it’s at all clear that they used the phrasing to make it sound worse than it was. I think they used the phrasing because that’s what we call it when a 54 year old has sex with a 14 year old: rape. Or statutory rape. Or rape. It’s not just called that for effect.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @scarletnumber Is there a principled reason for this denial of rape? It seems pretty unsavory to me.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I think where SN is coming from is that the word “rape” implies physical force against consent. In this case, consent appears to have been granted to the extent that it could have been, but the law says that it couldn’t have been.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @will-truman That is truly an anachronistic understanding of rape to put it as nicely as I can. FYI for the Neanderthals in the audience, under the age of consent or anywhere near inebriated will get you the deserved moniker of rapist.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        That’s true in the statutory sense, which is why I think the article is okay. In the moral or descriptive sense, it gets iffy at the margins. The exact same act is legally rape in one state, but not in another, and neither state is clearly in the wrong. Which implies gray pretty strongly to me.

        The question, in this case, is whether a fourteen year old can consent at all with a fifty-four year old. I am inclined to say no. But even then, I consider it categorically different than if she were held down as he physically forced himself on her.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        Hmm, to find a State that’s going to allow fourteen as an age of consent you’re going to have to go abroad or get married some place in the South. Just because some nations allow for wife beating or honor killings doesn’t actually make it a grey area. The notion that your going to separate violent rape from the more traditional garden variety, is a rabbit hole I can’t follow you down.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:


        If you cannot see the difference between a 15 year old girl willingly being with a 20 year old guy and the same girl being sexually assaulted against her will by a stranger, you are being obtuse.

        Both are illegal. Both are wrong. They are night and day.

        I dismiss your claim of “unsavory” as ad hominem.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        There’s no getting around this being a pretty egregious example. But still quite different than a case where she was held down. We disapprove of anybody being held down against their will for sex. That’s forced sex, every time. Definitionally so. The same applies to a woman who is so drunk that she cannot consent. The same applies to an eighteen month old*. But a fourteen year old? We don’t deny that a fourteen year old can consent to sex. The state of Montana believes that she can, if he’s not eighteen or older. So we’re dealing with a situation that is somewhat different than being held down, or immobile. This, to me, is a rather important distinction. Even though I don’t precisely object to calling both “rape”… one is different than the other. That she was apparently a consenting participant, to the extent that she could consent, is indeed pertinent**.

        It’s worth noting that the defendant here got thirty days in jail. Which is actually thirty days more than a whole lot of people in his situation – male and female – actually get. The reason he did go to jail, and the reason so many people are upset, is that the girl later killed herself. It’s uncertain whether the two are related. The words that the judge is in trouble for saying are basically expressing his view that they mostly are not, and that she was a consenting participant to the extent that she could be. Both of which are, or should be, mitigating factors if true.

        * – I found out that someone I went to middle school was just arrested for having sex with his 18-month old granddaughter.

        ** – In between the two would be the Louisiana prison guard case mentioned last week. In that case… it’s much easier to disregard the notion of her being able to consent. Which is what… a third area? One in which a student-teacher relationship might also apply. Another indication of the complexity of categorization here.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        SN, Goldberg was referring to a case where the victim was not only 13, but drugged to the point of unconsciousness and (by her testimony) voicing her objections. That’s not a matter of age preventing the ability to consent.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

        >the word “rape” implies physical force against consent

        I disagree. I think most readers would understand it to mean “sex without consent”. And the LATimes quote includes the judge’s justification that the victim was “as much in control of the situation” as the man. I as a reader understood then that this was not likely a case in which a stranger beat up his virgin victim.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        You can dismiss whatever you like. One could try to develop a range of charges like murder so that one could say “Well, I’m not a first degree rapist. I mean we were on a date and she led me on.” Rapist you will remain. 15 and 20 doesn’t get you into Romeo and Juliet territory but then again this is about a 14 year old who ends up committing suicide and someone way outside of an excusable range. Intellectual honesty?

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Vik, that’s a reasonable view. I do know that when I hear the word “rapist” I am not thinking of a nineteen year old who has sex with his fifteen year old girlfriend. Though I agree in the specific case here, where I could tell in the quoted portion precisely what occurred and is alleged to have occurred.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        You are correct about Goldberg. I forgot she said it in the context of the Roman Polanski case.

        But she was correct that there is a difference between statutory rape and “rape rape”. In Polanski’s case, however, he committed “rape rape”.

        Then again, Hollywood tends to have a blind eye when it comes to Roman Polanski. Hell when he won his Oscar, he got a STANDING OVATION. Even Jack Nicholson stood up and applauded. I am shocked SHOCKED that they disabled comments on the clip…

        Also, Mike Tyson seems to have been forgiven.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        @will-truman PLEASE tell me that the guy who was arrested for raping his granddaughter is in one of those old class pics you posted.

        Obviously if this happened it is terrible and he should be locked away for a very long time. I don’t know what happened, but I can only hope it was a servere misunderstanding. It frightens me that someone could actually do that sort of thing.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        SN, once the yearbook is unearthed, I will check and see if he is there or if he is one of the ones that changed schools in the 8th grade. They caught him because the guy videotaped the damn thing.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:


        Wow. That is amazing to me. Some people don’t deserve to live.

        As an aside, don’t you find it odd that someone you went to school with could be a grandparent?

        Once of my classmates’ children just graduated from our high school this past June. THAT made me feel old. I also lost a classmate on September 11, but not in THAT way, it was just a coincidence.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Seems to me that statutory rape should always be explicitly identified as such. It’s simply not the same thing as forcible rape.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      I don’t see anything in the quote that says it was forcible. It says the man was convicted of rape.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumber says:

        Yes, hence it was intellectually dishonest. I never said it was incorrect.

        When Sarah Palin whined that David Letterman was making jokes about her daughter getting raped, she was being as dumb as a fox. She knew that by using that word, she would get her base to foam at the mouth and force Letterman into an “apology”.

        Of course, if someone thinks there is no difference between someone being forced against her will and someone saying “yes” when they were too young to legally do so, feel free to say so. To me, these are night and day. They are both illegal and both wrong, but there is a vast difference of degree.

        Whoopi Goldberg was mocked for using the term “rape rape” but her point was valid.Report

  9. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    C1: Explain to me why this is filed under “Capitalism”, please. There are a number of small modular reactor designs kicking around on paper and/or simulations, each claiming higher efficiencies through higher operating temperatures, much higher burn-up rates, lower prices through standardization, passive safety, etc, etc. Most of them, including this one, seem to have reached the point where the company says, “Now, if the federal government will just provide us with several hundred million dollars, we’ll build a prototype and see if it actually works.” Or some other government — IIRC, Bill Gates has been talking to the Chinese government about a billion dollars to build a version of the traveling-wave reactor he has invested (a much more modest) amount in. Isn’t capitalism supposed to be about private rather than taxpayer funding?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Because it involves capital? Because this may become a more capitalist enterprise sometime in the future?

      Honestly, because categorization is tough and it’s an inexact science. Business would have excluded C4 (mostly), Economics would have excluded the spirit of most of them. So I chose Capitalism.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      I think that’s a very fair question.

      I am guessing that Will classified it under capitalism because the technology it would have an impact on the economy. (I realize this definition has flaws. It would also mean Obamacare should also fall under the same label.)Report

  10. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    W3: Almost 20 years ago now, I worked on a project involving an early prototype of video-over-IP streamed into a window in a browser (yes, I’m an old geek). Technical management wanted a nice package bundled up and available in our demo lab so it could be shown to visiting senior management and outsiders. One of my coworkers had been a child actor (his claim to fame: “I made Marcia Brady cry”) before going into computer interface research. He helped me record a batch of audio-video clips where I explained how the technology worked, the demands it put on the network, why it was important, what to look for when others wanted to sell us more sophisticated versions of the tech, etc. I came out of that experience with an enormously greater respect for the actor’s craft. Just trying to sound interested in the subject when you’re on the fifth take of a 30-second spiel because you keep stumbling over the same damned word is an awful lot of work.Report

  11. Avatar ScarletNumber says:


    I saw Brent Grablachoff play in college.Report