Morning Ed: Society {2016.02.03.W}


Will Truman

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

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99 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Yah, what teenagers think of my lack of recycling really doesn’t interest me. If they are so fired up about it, come over and sort through my garbage for me.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I’m all in favor of making you pay more if you want to send stuff to the landfill rather than recycling it. (of course, I also like singlestream recycling, where the sorting happens after you’re done putting it into a single bag). If you’re sending leadcoated stuff, I’m all in favor of you paying $500 per piece.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Actually, my state’s law does not require me to recycle. I do, however, take electronics to the dump, but only because the garbage guys don’t take it. I’m not sorting my paper, plastic and cans only to have it thrown back into the dump.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Yeah, that’d be stupid. We recycle here (now that someone bought the factory again, it was previously overrun by rats, which was not fun), and oftentimes make a profit while doing it (cheaper than the landfill, nearly always).Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Kids these days, am I right?

      …Crap. I may be old enough to say that unironically.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I long for the day I can sit on my future porch and tell kids that the Frisbee that landed on my yard is “now mine” or to “get off my lawn” while I shake my cane in their general direction. Sadly, most kids will be playing virtual reality by the time I’m that old, so I won’t have the pleasure.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          A very wise man once said:

          I want to be young and wild.
          Then I want to be middle-aged and rich.
          Then I want to be old and annoy people by pretending I’m deaf.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      My granddaughter is two and a few months. Last time I was visiting and we finished a can of ginger ale, I asked her where we should put the can (my daughter has a tendency to move it around). The granddaughter knew exactly where aluminum cans went for recycling, and let me know when I started to put the can in the wrong container.

      Me, we have a nice recycling center here in town that I drive close to on errands a couple of times each week that takes single-stream stuff for no charge. Reasonable rates for other harder-to-recycle stuff.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        So you’re saying that, in addition to having to sort the crap, AND take it somewhere, they CHARGE you money take some things?

        Screw that. Maybe if they were adding value, like sorting all your recyclables, I could see a fee. Otherwise, nope.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          They’re charging you for things that are illegal to dump, generally. CRT monitors, and other things that are really annoying.

          We have free trash and recycling here, because the city got sick of people tossing stuff down our hillsides (we have a lot!).Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            Our county has a whole “electronic’s dump area”-which is really a shipping container that they replace periodically. Same for other large appliances like fridges, etc. but there is no charge if you’re a county resident.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Obviously I’ve been less than clear.

          I have to sort stuff into landfill vs “single stream” recyclable — small glass, aluminum, steel, corrugated cardboard, election flyers, that sort of stuff. Every service in the area requires at least that. I could pay someone to pick up the separated single stream things. Instead, I take a few minutes every 7-10 days and drop them off, no fee, where cheerful young people with mild developmental disabilities jump to take my stuff. As a convenience, the same center will take most things that are harder to recycle, often with a modest fee — lead-acid batteries, electronics, latex paint, big chunks of styrofoam, etc. Over the years they’ve branched out — for example, they take used books and (IIRC) sell them into a used-book supply chain for so much per pound. The wife and I are slowly whittling down a lifetime’s worth of accumulation, so once a month or so I’ve got some of the odd stuff.

          The landfill stuff is picked up by a small local company once a week. They’re prompt, inexpensive, and compared to the big guys, never ever spill stuff on the street.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I don’t disagree with Suderman’s worries, but in the art of the written word, genre fiction has done the ‘franchise’ thing for decades. Not just trade paperbacks with Star Trek/Star Wars logos slapped on the cover (though that’s when everything took off), but Herbert, Tolkien and Asimov all made derivative works based on their own, earlier works.

    (and Star Wars, X Files, Clintons – like the next link says, recycling is what the kids want these days)Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Time after Time: One thing that I find interesting about a lot of pop music and music videos is that there is a lot of train imagery even decades after trains became irrelevant as a mode of transportation for most Americans. The music video for Time after Time involves the image of leaving home or whatever on a train. By the 1980s, long distance train travel was basically dead even though it was possible and commuter trains existed in only a few cities. The Journey song that people like to sing in karaoke, I forgot the name, has a lot of train imagery. For some reason the idea of leaving home or somewhere else for a new start by getting on train carries a lot more emotional resonance than getting in a car when it comes to pop music.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Lauper and the video director were kids in the 50s, when train travel was still a thing, and grew up in Astoria, Queens, where train travel is still a thing.

      (Lee, the name of the song you are thinkingReport

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        For Lauper, train imagery makes a certain amount of sense but a lot of artists use train imagery even without direct experience. By the 1950s and 1960s train travel was becoming rarer even before the Interstates were built.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Oh no! Kohole was hit by a train before he could answer Lee’s questionReport

    • Avatar Mo says:

      Also, the number of 80s music videos (e.g. Journey, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon) filmed in industrial zones and ports is staggering.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Let’s see… visually interesting, deserted in the day time, and within a reasonable distance of someplace where you can rent the necessary equipment.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        We still had a big enough industrial economy at the time for this to make sense. The 1980s was when manufacturing decline became a thing .Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          HOW many times do I need to say this? Our manufacturing output hasn’t been declining!! (Citing bonddad as my source, because I can’t be bothered to look up a link). Workforce participation in manufacturing has been declining, but that’s a different thing.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          I have.. to agree with Kimmie here, we manufacture as much if not more than we did in the 80’s… we just do it with far far fewer people.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Let me re-phrase this. There were enough Americans employed in the industrial sector during the 1980s to make industrial areas recognizable motifs in American popular culture. The numbers of Americans employed in the industrial sector was declining rapidly but they still existed in large enough numbers to be part of the popular imagination at the time.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      Not always. Tori’s (famous) song about getting raped features a pickup truck pretty heavily…Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      WSJ article is pay-walledReport

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      Are trains really as irrelevant as all that? I mean, Most of my long-distance trips when I was the age of the character in that music video were taken by bus or train. And that may not put me in the majority, but it doesn’t exactly make me a freaky exception, either.

      When you’re young, you might not have a car. And if you do have one, it might be borrowed from a parent, and it might be the sort of car you wouldn’t trust to take you on a three-hundred-mile trip.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    We talked about the rise of the franchise movie a lot on this site. Usually when my brother or Rufus brings it up. I think it is basically a result of three issues, the rising importance of a global market for movies at expense of the domestic market, CGI making spectacle cheaper and easier to do than ever before, and the decline in the idea of cultural vegetables. The American movie business has always been more about making money than culture for the most part. Since the global market is more important than ever to Hollywood than they are going to focus on what makes the most money in multiple markets. These are going to be action movies with lots of spectacle because you don’t need to be steeped in American culture to get them. Increasingly sophisticated CGI makes spectacle a lot

    Hollywood made more dramatic or comedic fair that relied less on spectacle in the past because spectacle was more expensive and their was a cultural idea that movie makers deed need to make some serious movies and audiences needed to take their cultural vegetables to for a variety of reasons. The Help would have a big event movie during the mid-20th century but it hardly made a dent when it was released.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      When two thirds of the people at the Toronto film festival walk out of a film, does it count as vegetables or overcooked brussel sprouts?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Well also with different global markets what constitutes what would be considered the “vegetables” are very different too.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        That’s part of the problem. Cultural vegetables are culturally specific. What would be a good middle-brow movie in the United States or the United Kingdom would be meaningless in Sri Lanka and Costa Rica and vice versa. Other film industries can still produce a lot of middle brow and high brow culture because they developed as a form of protection against Hollywood and American movies as much as anything else. Since the United States obviously never had a need to protect itself from it’s own culture American movie makers have less insulation against global markets.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Are we now saying that certain movies are “junk food” and other movies are “vegetables”? Ugh… seriously?Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Yes! And so we should!
            The Wire and Arrested Development are complicated, intertwined, demanding shows.

            Hunter X Hunter, on the other hand? It’s pure and simple fluff! Great show for the genre, great show in general, but it’s fluffy popcorn and not a bit more!

            Which is GREAT when you’re in the mood for it!!Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              But that analogy isn’t simply about enjoyment or depth or complexity. It is about the impact on the consumer. Junk food is yummy but unhealthy… it carries harm. Vegetables are generally seen as yucky but necessary (I think vegetables are delicious but that isn’t how we tend to analogize them)… they provide nutrients and vitamins we need to survive.

              I’d be hard pressed to argue that movies — or any art form — function in the same way.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Popcorn’s actually quite good for you. Unless the flick you’re watching is too schmaltzy, that may lead to diabetes. (yes, I know, I’m mixing metaphors!)

                Having to think hard about something is actually good for your brain, so, the lightweight shows are, if not actively detrimental, at least “not helpful”Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Not anymore, not with globalization.
          Amelie runs across any language you put it in.

          Not to say there aren’t movies with so much wordplay that doesn’t translate, because there are. (Simpsons, I’m told, is funny in Japanese, though, so it’s not all wordplay by any means).

          But most good “middlebrow” movies translate fine and dandy. Groundhog’s Day, for example…Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    Peter Suderman writes:

    Successful franchises, meanwhile, risk overstaying their welcome and running out of fresh ideas. Over time, it becomes harder and harder to mine the same property and delight audiences in the same way.

    I suppose that might be true, but it also makes me roll my eyes. The audience will tell you when they aren’t delighted any more. Did that happen with Harry Potter? How long have people been reading Spiderman comics? Just how many episodes of the anime One Piece are there? And how many books? (We are up to at least 430 episodes and 12 movies, by the way).

    I think what the author is bemoaning is the lack of films that they, personally, like. I don’t fault them for that, I just wish they’d not try to reform the culture at the expense of things that I like.

    Branding matters. Once people know what a MCU movie is like, they can easily guess whether they are going to like it or not.

    The bad part of this is that the art house movie theater is dead. There aren’t any of those places where you can go to see a movie that you’ve barely heard about, but is likely to be pretty interesting. The proprietors of such places had a brand, so you didn’t need to know the film. Nothing has come along to replace that. Perhaps that might happen though, in a more internet-friendly form.

    One further point:

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens suggests the danger here — the movie has many strengths but is also determinedly derivative, as if its creators were terrified of doing anything fans hadn’t seen before.

    He didn’t understand the film. There is some very, very serious risk-taking in this film. First of all, it had a woman at the center of the film – the phrase “The Force Awakens” describes her. Second, it had a villain who was deeply insecure – the opposite of Darth Vader. Third, it killed off one of the most beloved fictional characters of our time. (I don’t care, I’m spoiling it. You had your shot to go see it!), Fourth, it brought forth the idea, which I really like, of “the call of the light side” – that in parallel to temptation is a pull within humanity to do good, to be good, to love. This is echoed by Finn’s journey.

    Now, it’s true that they also larded the film with callbacks and references to the original trilogy. It’s loaded with them. But that’s to reassure fans that it was a Star Wars movie, and that the filmmakers understood what viewers expected and wanted from a Star Wars movie. I have a friend that was quite bothered by all the callbacks and references the first time through, but said that the second time through it didn’t bother him at all.

    Now yeah, I mourn the death of the art house. I look forward to something taking its place. I don’t know what that will be, but I think it will happen. Though probably all the old guys who think that doing something for video would be a step down in prestige are going to have to retire first.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      This is a good point. Artsy people like me are a small core of the movie going experience. When CGI was bad and when cultural sophistication was good*, there were plenty of movies made for us. For some reason though, the STEM revolution is also bringing about a cultural revolution of “Fuck this art and adult stuff”** Movies for artsy folk get made but they can be harder to find and are usually released in the slower months.

      *This seems to happen every few decades. I am mainly thinking that in the 1950s and 60s, it was cool to watch European movies by Truffaut, Goddard, Bergman, etc. Plenty of people still like these movies but now there is an anti-cultural revolt that accuses people of lying pretension when they say “I like Truffaut movies”

      **I am an arts and humanities guy in a STEM world. This is a lonely placeReport

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Let me know when you get around to seeing The Tribe, will ya?
        (The one in all sign language).

        There will continue to be movies made for you, and not always the movies you think.
        I’d expect you to appreciate Skyfall, for instance, even if you don’t grok all the strategy.

        Or watch Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex? Surely that’s literary enough for ya?

        There’s more films made for the artsy people every single year. They’re cheap to make, and that’s gold if you aren’t in Bollywoood, Nollywood or Hollywood.

        Hell, German movies are basically “get rich quick” schemes (gotta love taxbreaks!)…Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        We’ve had this discussion.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Pretty much this.

      Further, there’s nothing inherently less creative about creating a fictional universe as a vehicle for making money/providing enjoyment. Suderman himself has run outa fresh ideas and become a grumpy old man.Report

    • Avatar j r says:


      I think that you are mischaracterizing or misunderstanding Suderman. He definitely gets Star Wars. Somewhere on the internet there is a picture of him standing on line for Episode I dressed as a sith lord. And his criticism of TFA is so obvious at this point that it’s banal. JJ Abrams made a movie that very obviously exists in the shadow of what came before it, both in terms of capturing the magic of the first three and avoiding the pratfalls of the prequels. I liked it, but let’s not pretend it’s something more than it is.

      He isn’t lamenting the death of the art house. Rather he is someone who really likes pop culture and popcorn flicks and just wishes that they were more original.Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    Someone should put together a model of the likelihood that a science story is bullshit as a function of the number of articles and posts written about it within 48 hours of the finding(s) upon which it is based being made public.

    The trend seems to be a ton of regurgitated press releases over the first 48 to 72 hours, followed by a much smaller number of much more skeptical, or even highly critical articles/posts over a few days.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      That’s because “science” journalists are lazy and eager to promote click bait that either confirms their priors, or represents a finding that their readers will find outrageous.

      Actually digging into it and sussing out the truth from the press release takes time, time in which others are putting up click bait & getting hits and making bank.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Unlike most of the rest of the journalists, who let other people write the fucking articles entirely.
        Actually, I think if most of the scientists had a scrap of writing talent, they could get published under someone else’s byline.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        That’s because “science” journalists are lazy and eager to promote click bait that either confirms their priors, or represents a finding that their readers will find outrageous.

        Well, certainly not all journalists. But the world is a complex place, and science is too, and people generally want to hear stories that make the world appear simple.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          “Well, certainly not all journalists”

          .0001% = not all.

          “people generally want to hear stories that make the world appear simple”

          People are stupid.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            If everyone were as smart as you the world would be not just a better place, it’d be the bestest! 🙂Report

            • Avatar Damon says:

              No one ever sees their own stupidity. But that said, you and I have been around to see a lot of stupid exhibited by people..and probably have one or two tales of our own to claim. 🙂 Hell I see stupid on the drive home almost every day.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          yaknow, I am very, very tempted to simply start a log of “this wasn’t written by the byline”, because that’s way worse than laziness.
          (Sadly, I know someone in PR, so I’d be able to cite who the article was really written by, a good deal of the time.).Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Right. Science journalism has always had its share of awful writers, but in today’s age of a million outlets chasing clicks, the pressure to publish quickly and click-worthily has made it difficult to be good science writer.Report

    • Avatar Rmass says:

      Only if they engage in coitus. Sooo yeah good take.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      The CDC also advises against swimming south of the Mason Dixon, staying at hotels without checking for bedbugs, and staying at Disneyworld if you have dog allergies (not related to Disneyworld letting dogs stay there).

      It’s always a bad day when the CDC calls in outside contractors.

      And the EPA is advising against drinking the water in the whole rust belt, unless you know there’s been intensive lead remediation going on.Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    So the generals now want females to register for the draft but the politicians who demanded that the military open all jobs to females oppose drafting women? It makes no sense, so it’s what I would expect from this administration.

    • Avatar Zac says:

      Just read the article and I don’t see anything in there about politicians or the administration opposing women registering for the draft; do you have a separate link for that?Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Let me clarify this. Politicians forced the military to accept women into combat roles that the military was not entirely comfortable with. The military replies by saying, “OK, if we have to let women into these roles, then women should be registered for the draft.”. Said politicians then balk at that and say that forcing women to register for the draft is something that should be put out for discussion/debate.

        The thrust is that the politicians are fine with women in combat roles, but they want them to have full choice to enter combat roles, whereas men have a more limited choice for combat roles. The draft is the vehicle by which this reality is expressed (even though the likelihood of the draft being re-activated is currently slim).Report

        • Avatar Zac says:

          I’m not unclear on what was being said; I read the article and there was nothing in there about said politicians balking. I’m not saying that’s not the case, just that that couldn’t be inferred from the linked article. Hence why I asked for a link to politicians making statements to that effect.

          FWIW, by the way, I fully support women having to register for the draft. I think the fact that they’re exempted is silly and unreasonable.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            From the linked article:

            Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Army Acting Secretary Patrick Murphy, also testifying at the hearing. would not go as far but did say they believed the issue should be put to a national debate.

            That’s balking.

            ETA: The various Secretary’s of Military branches are the civilian heads of those services, are political appointees, and as such are politicians.Report

            • Avatar Zac says:

              Ah, I interpreted that rather differently; I don’t see that as balking, so much as just wanting to put it up for debate. Also, I don’t think of DoD staff as politicians, but rather as bureaucrats. A politician, to my mind, is an elected rather than appointed official. YMMV, of course.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Political appointees are politicians. They may run the pentagon bureaucracy, but they aren’t hired and don’t wear a uniform or fall under the UCMJ. I mean, Mabus is a politician through & through (even says so on his Wiki page).

                As for the balking, had Mabus, et. al. put the question of women in combat roles up for political debate, and allowed that debate to happen and come to a decision, I’d agree with you. But they didn’t. They made an executive decision about it. I’m ambivalent regarding the rightness of that decision, but it was within their power to make. So making a decisive call about women in combat roles, and then wanting to put the question of the draft up for debate, is balking.Report

              • Avatar Zac says:

                Alright, I think that’s a fair point.Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Santorum quits race.

    Whoa. I hope he pocketed enough money to make it to the start of the 2020 campaign.Report

  9. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Those damn Japanese, trying to take away jobs from hard working people.

    As I’ve said before, I suspect the future of agriculture will, at some point soon, move under the roof.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal says:

      Suspect a lot of things to happen in agriculture over the next 15 years. On the odd chance it doesn’t work out, you might want to teach kids how to garden.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, about half of the growth in electricity demand — this in a state adding 100,000 people per year — is from inside grow operations. Fooling hemp plants into thinking it’s the right time of year to flower takes a lot of light. The people working on the Colorado plan for meeting the EPA’s Clean Power target for Colorado are at least somewhat concerned.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Pot farmers haven’t heard of Pink Lights? I imagine the LEDs use a hell of a lot less juice.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Also cost a lot more. That’s a problem for a business with no legal access to commercial capital markets. Or real banking services. And probably involving someone in the LED supply chain in illegal interstate commerce. Some of the big growers are looking to move their operations down to the San Luis valley, where they think they can operate green houses and only have to augment natural sunlight.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        In wonder if over time there will be a shift to growing pot outdoors, since the secrecy of an indoor grow op isn’t needed anymore – but it’s what the current growers probably mostly are familiar with.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          I’m trying to imagine what would happen if I brewed 25 gallons of beer and left the bottles outside as the yeast worked its magic…Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko says:

            Even an amber bottle kept out in sunlight would probably admit enough ultraviolet light to induce autolysis so at best you’re looking at a whole lot of trub and likely an incomplete fermentation. The real risk, of course, is bacterial contamination.

            Ferment and finish in a dark, dry, temperature-controlled environment. But you knew that already.Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              I took Jaybird’s comment to be more about the risk of shrinkage by local pests.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              An unlocked shed, then. With a sign that said “BEER FERMENTATION SHED” on all four sides.

              Though, at that point, it’s pretty much a windowless panel van that says “FREE CANDY” on the side.

              I’m not going in there. Why would he put that sign where I could see it from the sidewalk? I’m just going to keep walking. The sound of bottles clinking is how he gets people to throw in a hole and tell them to put lotion on their skin.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                “Though, at that point, it’s pretty much a windowless panel van that says “FREE CANDY” on the side.”

                … someone has that van, in New Jersey. I’ve seen pictures.Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          I don’t think so. In my understanding, if you really want the best yields, an indoor grow where you can precisely control all the variables (light, water, carbon dioxide/nitrogen – even fans for pollination) is your best bet. It’s an easy plant just to grow (it is called “weed” for a reason) but to get high quality smokable bud (and a lot of it) takes quite a bit more work.Report

          • Avatar Zac says:

            I imagine wanting to avoid the use of pesticides is also a factor.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              I am told that pesticide use is a must for inside grow operations. Once established, some of the mites and molds are very difficult to get rid of. In the article Oscar originally pointed to, note that the worker is in coveralls, hair net, hat, face mask, and rubber gloves. Those are not to protect the worker.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                In general, or just for Marijuana?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                An acquaintance told me once that if you were going to do an “indoor grow” on a commercial scale of anything that was to be ingested, you got well and truly paranoid about pest control, contamination, and sterilization. The worker in the article you linked to isn’t dressed like that to protect them; they’re dressed like that to protect the lettuce.

                Hey, @burt-likko , how much time do you spend on sterilization before you grow yeast?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Not everything. Chocolate comes out fairly sterile if you grow it in temperate latitudes (unlike the slime molds and other crap that infect it constantly in the tropics).
                Chocolate is a horrible crop that we sterilize nine ways to sunday before eating.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Makes sense. Insects & disease have natural counters in the open (beneficial bacteria, fungi, and critters that eat or otherwise work against pests & disease from taking hold). Those counters would not be present in a controlled environment, so a pest or disease could wipe out a crop if not caught early. Of course, environmental controls and precautions (the masks, etc.) can reduce the need for pesticide, etc. to only when needed, instead of just applied as a matter of course.Report