Morning Ed: Society {2016.04.07.Th}

Attention Saul! Attention Saul! Christian Lorentzen defends pretentiousness.

Hey, cool! We don’t have to keep capitalizing internet.

Maggie Doherty argues that a stronger safety net can result in better art.

Join the Wizard’s Chill Quest. If he’s a wizard, though, why does he need a Kickstarter?

I’d at least like to think that I am indeed an adult, just of the Episcopalian variety.

Stephen Masty looks at literary time travel.

If you like Nick Cave and/or Dr Seuss, you absolutely must listen to and read this. Not. Optional.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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53 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Society {2016.04.07.Th}

  1. All the changing rooms I have been to in Singapore (even in the army) have had cubicles for the showers. Its only here in the UK that I have encountered open showers. When I went to Macquarrie university in Sydney, the showers there were also cubicled.

    Regarding body shame as a bad thing that needs to be cured is a particular value judgment. But I suppose taking these disputable value judgments as plainly factual is par for the course for slate nowadays.

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  2. In regards to pretension, I’m not sure how the person who wrote this:

    I’m likely to walk away when I detect a hint of preening moral self-regard.

    Can also write this a few inches later:

    Is it the dreariness and ambient hostility of small towns and suburbs that push kids like Fox (and me) toward universities and cities, or the idea of these places we’ve formed from records and novels and art books that exerts a magnetic pull?

    OK, I’m lying. I know exactly how.

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  3. And where to start with that Doherty piece.

    Nearly half a century later, we find ourselves at a different sort of crisis point. Radical literary experimentation continues, but it has become the privilege of a few.

    Is she seriously making the argument that more people had access to arts education and the realistic chance of making a living as an artist from the Great Depression up to 1965? I had to read much further to get to the real complaint.

    Even when Egan and her peers offer critiques of global capitalism, they rarely suggest that this new economic order should be dismantled entirely. They stage political conflicts, but they often avoid taking sides. They don’t communicate the clear political commitments found in Olsen’s unconventional essays, or Ginsberg’s incantatory poetry, or Reed’s freewheeling fiction. Instead, these writers oscillate between political engagement and a retreat to the private sphere.

    The real problem is that us and our art have been insignificantly radicalized. She is correct, but she’s far too in the weeds to see the real reasons why.

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    • Including music, probably so – because recorded music has replaced an awful lot of the performing gigs, not because of the decline of the Nude Eel.

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  4. Pretension: Dear god. ” Pushing 40 in Brooklyn, I feel, if anything, insufficiently pretentious.” Clearly he’s not trying enough, but it’s hard to beleive that when he says ” I thought the intellectual apparatus that had grown up around the appreciation of food and drink, conflating chefs and vintners with artists and writers, was a sham — ultimately a way for people like him to pat themselves on the back for the way they spend their money and to compensate for the soulless and morally dubious way they made it. He told me I was “the enemy of good things.” We revealed ourselves to each other. Which one of us was the asshole?” You sir, are the ass! If only because of your rudeness to your host.

    Internet: Yawn.

    Art: It doesn’t matter where the money comes from. Let the rich be patrons. I see no reason why I have to pay for it.

    Locker Room: Typical Slate crap. If no one cares that everyone else is naked, why should they care if they aren’t?

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    • If no one cares that everyone else is naked, why should they care if they aren’t?

      This seems like one of those cases when you worry a lot about what a bunch of people who aren’t thinking about you are thinking about you.

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    • Locker Room: Typical Slate crap. If no one cares that everyone else is naked, why should they care if they aren’t?

      Bingo.

      If the American people generally want shower dividers in their gym…give them damn shower dividers in their gym. What is this, ‘piss off the customers’ day?

      What, are cheap plastic dividers too *expensive* all the sudden? We can afford them in literally every single multi-person restroom between toilets, but they’re too expensive to put in our showers?

      In fact, I’m having trouble figuring, by his logic, why we need them between toilets. Or why we need clothing *at all*.

      Heh, that reminds me. Back in my dorm days, we had not only had dividers between our showers, but they were so tall you couldn’t see other people.

      One weekend, I go in, and start a shower (I was one of the few people who took showers in the evenings, because I couldn’t wake up in the morning early enough. Still do, in fact.), and the shower farthest away from mine was already occupied. I start to take my shower, and I realize I can hear whispered conversation, and one of them is female. Yup, a couple was trying some funny-business in the shower, and I walked in and took a shower in another stall during it. (Pretty sure I knew what couple it was, also.)

      The entire time I was in the shower, I felt like saying ‘I know you guys are are there, you don’t have to hide, you can talk. I don’t actually care that you’re there, as long as you limit yourself to just shower-y things until I leave,at which point you can resume whatever you were doing.’. But I couldn’t figure out if that would be embarrassing for them, and they were gone when I got out.

      I always think of this when people talk about transgender people in restrooms. Guys, I, as a cis-male, have taken a shower in a room with a strange woman, one I am not even sure of the identity of (Actually, even if was the couple I think it was, I have no memory of her name.), and I didn’t care, and I suspect she only cared because she was breaking the rules, and also doesn’t know who *I* am. Why did no one care? Because we were in *stalls* and couldn’t see each other. Amazing, I know.

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      • Exactly.

        Like, if my only choice is to go into a communal area with my junk visible — well fuckit, then I’ll do it, just like any other woman can. But like, do you think I want to do that? Like what the fuck?

        I’m sure somewhere on this planet there is some weirdo super-exhibitionist trans woman who would do that — and I believe she has the right to, just like any other woman.

        But I promise you, any woman reading this, it will never happen to you.

        Just give everyone who wants it a private stall. Give us a shared communal space, just like any other woman — I ain’t accepting a tranny-ghetto, nor should I. (And how fucking awful does someone have to be to even imagine I would?) But still, give me a private stall, and give anyone else who wants it a private stall. Make that normal, cuz I ain’t the only woman who doesn’t want to parade around.

        And for the women who do want to parade around, in the common area?

        Well, go girl! Be awesome, be gorgeous, be amazing. Feel free.

        I’ll notice (since I’m pretty gay and I notice women, just like any other dyke). But I ain’t gonna gawk at you, the same as any other dyke with an ounce of dignity. If you’re pretty, I might smile at you — cuz of course — but then I’ll go about my business and let you go about yours.

        This is such a non-issue.

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  5. From the time travel piece:

    Anderson (1926-2001), with only Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clark as long-lasting peers, published through science fiction’s “Golden Age” of early Heinlein and Asimov, into the 21st Century.

    Someone considers himself qualified to discuss the history of science fiction, despite never having heard of Jack Williamson. Or Robert Silverberg, though Silverberg’s first story was eight years after Anderson’s, so one could argue that, I suppose. Oh, and Jack Vance. And probably a couple of others I am overlooking at the moment.

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    • Yeah. I tend to look at those sorts of post, when non-ideological as “oh, how sweet, someone considers him(orher)self an expert!” When ideological, regardless of direction, they get the side-eye. If you want to persuade me, bucko, you will have to TRY HARDER.

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  6. Pretentiousness: I know that there are plenty of hipster/artist types that can be insufferable and off putting. Yet the charge of pretension is always leveled at others. Interestingly I find a lot of comic book movies have their own pretensions towards seriousness. I consider American dislike of pretension as a form of anti-Intellectualism.

    Safety net: Agreed but it won’t happen because Americans value commercial success uber allies.

    Stern: I can’t post it now but there is a classic Oatmeal cartoon about young guys v. Old guys in the locker room. Young guys are modest. Old guys let it all hang out.

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    • Yes, because it’s Pretense, first. Pretending to like something is just deceitful and often really transparent. No better if you’re pretending to like classical music than if you’re pretending to be friends with girls…

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      • I think a lot of guys can be friends with girls. For a lot of them, and I include myself in this, I like them enough to hang out and do stuff AND I’d also be cool with sleeping with them, or not. But I’m not a “friend” as a entry vehicle with the end game of sleeping with them. Those types of guys are just sad.

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    • Saul,
      Now having read the article: there’s a real difference between pretense in culture — where we have some latitude for “this isn’t really me” — and trying to convince people “this is REALLY me”. It’s the latter that is objectionable.

      Thought spaces around the “I’m trying this hat on” are kinda fun, actually. You’ve probably never been to a party where everyone is acting constantly, playing off each other and improvising. Honestly, it sounds like fun to me.

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      • I wonder to what extent this is a generational thing, rather than an age thing. The fact that it’s been trending downwards over the last 25 years suggests that it’s generational to some extent, but is that the whole story, or does age play a part, too?

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        • My theory is that it’s linked to the general erosion (at all age groups) of a belief in privacy. I might not care if I’m naked in the locker room, but I see someone else’s desire to be so as a desire to protect their privacy, and so I respect it as I want them to respect my own, differing, desires for privacy.

          Given that we don’t, you know, HAVE privacy any more, and that people regularly write shaming articles or pass anti-privacy laws cloaked in speeches about righteousness, and that in my freaking iSchool policy class, people were happy to shame me for arguing that the government might have screwed up in a case where someone was imprisoned without charges for months because his privacy was invaded by gov’t and then the invaders got stuff WRONG – and more so, because I argued that a case like the one we were considering indicated we need to *scale back* on surveillance rather than improve it – it hardly seems surprising that people are getting shamed for wanting privacy in the locker room.

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          • Doesn’t Samuel Pepys talk about his serving girl sleeping at the foot of his bed, and also about having kids?

            My ignorance about most people’s home life over the last 1000 years is vast. But my purely ad hoc guess is that our year 2000 notions of privacy are just a tiny blip in time, and that for the most part families have lived right on top of each other. Nudity, sex and other bodily functions were just part of life.

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        • I think it is generational as well.

          Offhand, I would link it to smaller families, and the disappearance of extended families living under one roof with smaller nuclear families.

          I mean, how many people here slept in the same bed, or even the same room as childhood siblings, or took baths with them?

          Only a couple generations ago, this sort of forced intimacy was common.

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          • In the mid 19th century, 3 generation households and were common enough in this country, though far from universal. I think if you rummaged through census returns, you wouldn’t find all that many stem families, much less extended families with collateral relatives jumbled together.

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    • I consider American dislike of pretension as a form of anti-Intellectualism.

      It is worth noting that claims of anti-intellecualism are most often deployed in defense of things that require middling intellect, like the arts and politics. And that is not meant as an insult to the arts. It’s just that you rarely see the guys and gals whose job it is to launch rockets or write code or do an angioplasty complaining about anti-intellectualism. It is usually the person defending their interest in some obscure film genre and lamenting that not everyone cares about it as much as he does. If claims of anti-intellectualism do come in regards to the hard sciences, it’s usually about the culture and the politics that surround it and not the

      If I had to guess why this is the case, I’d say because the former category of things require high levels of intellectual application and their success is a matter of objective outcome. Either the rocket launches and flies on the intended trajectory or it doesn’t. You can’t blame other people’s anti-intellectual attitudes if your code doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. On the other hand, success in any particular artistic or political endeavor is generally a function of convincing other people that what you’ve done has merit.

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      • I love this comment, but want to add one thing.

        Appreciation for the arts may not require a great intellect, but it is furthered by a great deal of exposure to, and study of, the art in question. It helps to not only appreciate the work in a historical context (was the technique, medium, or theme revolutionary or subversive at the time, etc), but also to spot subtext, tropes, references, etc that a casual consumer would miss.

        This does take some measure of dedication to the topic, and we do tend to grant gravitas to people who demonstrate such dedication.

        The pretension comes not from the knowledge held by the aficionado, but by their contempt for fellow travelers who study a different topic, e.g. a mechanic with an expansive knowledge of metallurgy / machinery, or a farmer with expansive knowledge of agriculture.

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        • Appreciation for the arts may not require a great intellect, but it is furthered by a great deal of exposure to, and study of, the art in question.

          Hence the entire difference between low-brow and high-brow art. Low brow art is art anyone can understand, whereas high brow art requires study time of art that only the upper class will have, or exposure when young.

          Being ‘pretentious’ is when you *pretend* to have that long experience. The person throwing that accusation can think such a thing is high-status, and you do not actually have it.

          Or, confusingly, it can mean they think such a thing does not really exist, so obviously you don’t have it. (Who actually *likes* abstract art, right? Or ballet. Clearly, no one, so everyone who says they do is just being pretentious)

          The insult basically can cut either way.

          (For the record, I think this like does ‘exist’, and is basically…geekery Someone who spends a good portion of their free time learning about the ballet and watching it is basically the same as someone who spends their free time reading the Star Wars expanding universe and collecting action figures from it, or someone who writes Harry Potter fanfic. (Please note I don’t mean ‘geek’ in a *bad* way. People can geek out on anything they want.) They have deeply immersed themselves in something, and know it very well, and find enjoyment from things that most people would just bored or even baffled by.)

          Which is why article a bit confusing…I can’t quite figure out which way the writer thinks. I mean, he clearly associates pretentiousness with fakery, but then he talks about people who…like to throw 1940s-themed fancy-dress parties. But it seems they *actually* liked doing that, so how were they pretentious?

          I think the writer has sorta internalized that such a thing does not really exist, that no one really likes that stuff…and hence the people who do are pretentious? Including him? Seems a weird mistake to make about yourself.

          Or is he just saying that people *call* such people pretentious, and people should ignore that?

          Uh, yes. Young people should ignore other people insulting them for what they like. And instead do what they want to do with their life!

          Work on that some more, and you’ll finish that high school commencements speech in no time! Jeez, what a waste of electrons.

          And why that only applies to young people being called ‘pretentious’ is beyond me. How about we encourage people to like whatever they like, and be accepting of other people liking other things, and not judging people for liking different things?

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          • Pretentious does seem to be one of those words that’s used fluidly, mostly as sort of deliberately ill-defined insult.

            “Your tastes are pretentious” does sound a lot better than “Your tastes are wrong” or “You like things I don’t like, you’re weird and should shut up so that I don’t have to keep running into things I don’t like”.

            But the hidden slur is always, as you note, that the “pretentious” person doesn’t really like it. Or doesn’t like it for the reasons he/she says. Or doesn’t like it for the right reasons (which are, generally, the reasons of the person calling someone else pretentious).

            In short, their tastes are wrong and they should change them. Or at least acknowledge the superiority of my tastes, which are true and pure.

            I think it’s more a personality type — it’s not ballet lovers or beer lovers or NASCAR fans — it’s just a certain type of person just takes it as a personal insult if you’re not as big a fan as he is. That it’s simply not a big deal to you.

            I always got the feeling that what drives is the unspoken, unexamined belief that the only reason everyone doesn’t love it as much as you is because they look down on it. Kind of a mix of narcissism (if I love it and am into it, it’s objectively great and everyone should!) and insecurity.

            They just don’t grok that, you know, tastes differ.

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            • I’ve been on situations where a person’s tastes and aesthetic presentation seemed quite performative, with a real sense they were “playing at” being “good taste guy.” It does seem phony, on other words, “try hard.”

              I have no idea if their tastes are genuine. I can’t read minds. But it does seem to fit what people mean when they say “pretentious.”

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              • And that’s what makes it so good as an insult…most people, at some time or another, feign interest in something they don’t really care about. I mean, that’s just general politeness.

                But there’s a next step, where people almost seem to construct their entire image around what other people think they *should* like and dislike. I’m not sure the cirrect word there is ‘pretentious’, but they are full of *pretense*, so maybe it should be. <Holden Caulfield>PHONIES!I</Holden Caulfield>

                I mean, this really is a type of person.

                And most people don’t really respect that type of person.

                And thus it works as an insult,

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            • I think it’s more a personality type — it’s not ballet lovers or beer lovers or NASCAR fans — it’s just a certain type of person just takes it as a personal insult if you’re not as big a fan as he is. That it’s simply not a big deal to you.

              Yup.

              And you can get the same thing from *above*, too…when the insulted people actually *are* fans, and the person doing the insulting is trying to cut them down for *other* reasons. Let’s call it the top-down accusations of pretentious (You’re a fake, only I like that stuff, you only like dumb common stuff.), as opposed to the bottom-up accusations (You’re a fake, no one really likes that stuff, you really like this other stuff, the same stuff I like.) you’re talking about.

              And I think we all know the phrase I’m thinking about: fake fangirls

              It’s exactly the same sort of accusation you’d see leveled at a person in off-the-rack clothing at a ballet. For almost exactly the same reason, in fact: Prejudice against certain types of people.

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  7. I’m comfortable going nude in locker rooms but I see little value in (further?) shaming those who aren’t. I can think of any number of reasons someone might not want to be nude in a semi-public setting that I’d consider relatively “normal”.

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  8. I don’t consider someone to be acting pretentious unless/until they assert some sort of superiority with regards to their preferences. Do you like fine art, the ballet, opera, and orchestral music? Bully for you! Do you think that makes you better than me for preferring the Natural History museum, a ball game, and hip hop? Now I’m going to get annoyed.

    With that in mind, it seems possible that any and everyone — and any and every hobby — can result in pretentiousness. It might take different forms, though. The art snob thinks those who don’t want to spend their afternoon with Burri are uncultured, uneducated, or unevolved. The Nascar junkie thinks those who don’t want to spend their afternoon watching a race are un-American or snobby. Both are being pretentious in a manner. And yet… there is a different “feel” to them, no?

    I think the difference has to do with accessibility. Not of the hobby itself. But in the perception of its fans. From my vantage point, the art snob seems to think that the Nascar junkie can’t understand Burri; he is and will remain on the outside looking in at those elite enough to appreciate his work. On the other hand, I don’t think the Nascar junkie believes the art snob can’t understand race cars, but instead that he chooses not to likely because he believes himself to be above it.

    There is, obviously, much projection going on in all directions and way more judgement than is warranted. I don’t think one form of pretension is better or worse than the other, but they are different and result in different responses.

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    • In the anime world, subbed vs dubbed is (or was) a pretty clear division, with people who consume the former really looking down on those who prefer the latter. That the former tends to include people that know some Japanese, they can be pretty insufferable. In these battles, it went quite beyond “I prefer this” to “I have taste and commitment for the nuances and faithfulness to the source material, so I prefer this, while they are level one.”

      Which is the difference, in a nutshell.

      That being said, I’m certainly not going to deny that I have pretensions here and there. And I don’t think they are always a bad thing, to whatever extent they steer society towards more worthwhile pursuits.

      What determines worthwhile? Sigh… good question!

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      • I wouldn’t mind dubbing nearly so much if the voice actors had any talent (this has improved in recent years, mind — though the constant reuse of actors leads to the “Splash Attack” issue, where you still recognize someone from a different piece, and its jarring and hard to preserve immersion. Which is a problem when it’s the main character of nearly everything).

        (Also, some shows actually need the pdf of “what the jokes mean” …others really don’t)

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    • I am a terrible snob who thinks the Nascar junkie is missing out on Burri and the Burri fan is missing out on Nascar. Or at least so my theory of appreciation seems to get interpreted by most of those who appreciate less stuff than I do;).

      Mind you I myself miss out on both Burri and Nascar – but I could figure out what to appreciate about ’em if I was in the mood to, and develop a strong liking for ’em over time, probably. And if not, or if I can’t be bothered to push pass my initial resistance or disinterest, I see it as a lack in myself, not in the thing. I don’t particularly care that I lack a connection to all kinds of things other people like. Nor do I particularly care that other people lack whatever connections. I just generally figure that if something is splendid to a large group of people, there must be something splendid about it. I may have ethical objections, even OVERWHELMING ethical objections to the point where it feels upsetting to even recognize that there are or have historically been enthusiasts, and to feel grateful I DON’T have the liking-piece for whatever it is (cf public executions, or less dramatically, hunting purely for the sake of trophies), but still, there’s something there from a “people like this thing” standpoint.

      If I ignore or reject whatever that thing is, rather than trying to understand it, it feels to me like I’m willfully putting on blinders. This is usually nonconsequential – I couldn’t move through the world without blinders (or being independently wealthy so I could run around enjoying everything). However, it seems crucial to do my best to get those blinders off if I am strongly objecting to whatever it is on moral grounds. How can I effectively work against dog fighting – not just criminalize it, but try to suppress it – if I can’t understand, or approximate understanding, why it makes the dog fighters so happy. Telling myself it’s pure greed, or evil, isn’t going to help me figure out what the lure is of something that’s been around for 100s of years.

      Phew! This got on a huge tangent. Sorry not sorry ;).

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      • I tried Burri and didn’t get it. At all. I think primarily because his art was part of a broader conversation that I was unaware of. This might make me less well informed on art than a Burri fan (which can probably be measured at least somewhat objectively) but I don’t think would somehow indicate I have poor(er) taste in art.

        I’ve sort of tried Nascar and was similarly non-enthused. Again, there might be an issue of failing to understand. I’ve read articles on what drivers experience during the course of a race and this helped me to better appreciate their work… but it didn’t make me enjoy the sport any more. I have not attended a race though and this might be a far more appealing experience.

        All that said, I am glad that we live in a world where Burri exists and where Nascar exists and where Burri fans can see Burri and Nascar fans can see Nascar. And if Burri’s efforts or Nascar’s existence make positive contributions to the world (my world!), then I’m even happier for their existence and that both have sufficient fans to continue and evolve their existence.

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      • By the way, , I was thinking of our conversation yesterday about secret shoppers and you said something about being non-judgmental and I thought about all the ways I’ve become less judgmental as a result of interacting with folks here at OT.

        For instance, I used to shake my head at parents who pushed older children around in strollers. “THOSE KIDS SHOULD BE WALKING! DAMN INDULGENT PARENTS!” Then Elizabeth helped me understand that some parents will push physically disabled children around in strollers because they are more maneuverable and draw less attention than wheelchairs. I remember a moment where I saw a parent hoisting a child out of a car seat who I wisely deemed too old to get such assistance and felt the judgement juices running. As I looped around the car, I could see that the child had disabilities that necessitated such assistance that my wisdom was rather foolish. I have worked this particular nit out.

        Many others as well.

        I sometimes find myself thinking, “Well, Jesus, if I can’t judge the parents who push older kids around in strollers because they might be disabled and if I can’t judge overweight people because who knows what factors beyond their control are contributing to their weight and if I can’t judge seemingly able-bodied people who take up seats on the subway while I happily give mine up because maybe they suffer from motion sickness or anxiety and sitting is the only way to manage it… WHO WILL BE LEFT TO JUDGE?”

        And then I wonder why I have such a need to judge. And then I get all judgey on myself. And feel better? I think?

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    • I think the difference has to do with accessibility. Not of the hobby itself. But in the perception of its fans. From my vantage point, the art snob seems to think that the Nascar junkie can’t understand Burri; he is and will remain on the outside looking in at those elite enough to appreciate his work. On the other hand, I don’t think the Nascar junkie believes the art snob can’t understand race cars, but instead that he chooses not to likely because he believes himself to be above it.

      The perception of the accessibility of the thing is what defines low-brow vs. high-brow entertainment. Both in the literal ‘How easy is it to access’ sense, and in the ‘How much homework does it take to understand’ sense.

      The entire classification of high-brow exists basically *for* the purpose of ‘looking down’ on people who cannot afford the cost (both actual and time) of accessing high-brow stuff, and thus claims of superiority *between the two* will be forever tainted by that.

      It’s the go-to framing everyone uses when talking about high-brow stuff. It is, in fact, why I keep ranting about people *using* those classifications and reinforcing the frame. All that frame does is divide people.

      But that’s only true in high- vs. low-brow stuff. You get some science fictions fans arguing Star Trek vs. Star Wars, you’re probably not going to get a lot of ‘You Star Wars people think you’re better than us!’ and ‘You Trek dumbasses can’t understand Star Wars!’ (Star Wars, presumably, being on the high-brow side? I dunno.) I mean, yes, that might show up in there, but you’ll more likely get people arguing over plot, or premise, or commercial success, or societal impact, or whatever.

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  9. … people do understand the reason why guys showers generally are open, right?

    It troubles me when people criticize before they bother to even understand their opponents viewpoints. (You see this a lot with the “why won’t they let trannies use the bathrooms of their choice?” crowd.)

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    • “… people do understand the reason why guys showers generally are open, right?”

      Because, when you’re 80, one of the few pleasures you have left in life is scaring young guys in the locker room with the sight of your scrotum.

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    • … people do understand the reason why guys showers generally are open, right?

      Uh, no, Kim, we do not understand whatever the hell you think you’re hinting at.

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      • Guys like to masturbate in the shower. Allowing teenage horndogs to do so is a sure way to have the showers take much longer than otherwise.

        [rule 34, folks, if you don’t believe me]

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        • No, that’s not why ‘guys showers are generally open’, because that premise is wrong to start with: There are very few places with *open* male showers and *closed* female showers. The places with open showers tend to have them for *both* genders…assuming they have showers for both genders.

          There’s perhaps a small percentage of places that started with no dividers, but added them for just women…because just the women complained, and the men didn’t. (Not because the men didn’t *want* dividers, but probably because the men didn’t want to be seen as weak. Real Men(TM) take showers in front of other men!)

          Meanwhile, this is a really, really dumb objection, because guys do not ‘like’ to masturbate in the shower. For one thing, there’s no way to look at any porn, for another, showers are slippery and dangerous, for a third, they require you to stand up the entire time.

          Guys just will do it there if that’s the only place they *can*, aka, the only place they have privacy. There is basically no guy who lives alone who masturbates in the shower. (I’m sure there are people who got in the habit of that when younger and continue it, but in general, no.)

          Before you bring up college dorms…no. College dorms actually *do* have enclosed showers for men at this point…hell, they had them when I went to college 15 years ago.

          Meanwhile, the idea that ‘teenage horndogs’ would be comfortable jerking off in the shower is….weird. Oh, look, guys, you can now jerk off with other naked men five feet away…you have *privacy*. (Of course, men have had this sort of privacy in bathroom stalls forever, and, yet, not a common place to masturbate.)

          That seems a lot better than just taking a long shower *at home*.

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  10. Ah. Nudity in locker rooms. Hmmm. I wonder if there is an angel on this question that the author did not think of? I wonder if he is an ignorant jackass who hasn’t bothered to explore all the ramifications of his smugly adopted half-assed notions?

    There are probably all kinds of fascinating cultural and ethnographic factors behind this shift, which I hope others will explore. But to my mind, this problem can be resolved quite quickly—with a gentle reminder that if you are not comfortable being naked around other people, you are not a real adult.

    Like seriously, how does this dipshit have a writing career?

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